Now It’s Personal

Frankly, I couldn’t care less about the NFL or any other sports organization. In my view, many athletes are way overpaid for playing a game. When it gets down to it that is all athletes do is play games. Moreover, I don’t care about the personal views of any of the players. I have more to be concerned about than the political ranting of the privileged few who purport to care about the less fortunate all while doing nothing more than spewing hatred and disdain for the country which enabled them to be amongst the privileged. Well, I have had enough.

What I find really troubling is many of those pretending to speak for the “oppressed” are the oppressors. Riots are promoted just because some say things with which the “protestors” disagree. Knees are taken to bring attention to “social injustice” yet no one has clearly articulated what that injustice is. All this is going on while those who choose to take a knee in prayer to the God of all are punished for praying. This is not what I fought for. This is not why I took an oath. This is not why I continue to hold to more than one oath.

Yes, it is true. I took an oath a number of years ago. In part, I vowed that I would defend this land against all enemies. Yes, all enemies foreign and domestic. In taking the oath I promised that I would defend the Constitution which includes the Bill of Rights and all the Amendments. The 1st Amendment is included. If any has ought with the Government there are ways to redress the issues. It is those rights for which I donned the uniform. It is not so that the elite can wield power over the less influential. Instead, my service in the Marine Corps was to provide equal protection for all. This includes those who choose to pray to the God of all.

I have had enough. I am patriotic. I am also a Christian. Yet the lie is that in order for one to be a Christian he must lay aside his patriotism. I take issue with that very notion. I honor those who came before me allowing me to pen these very words without concern of governmental oppression. I worship and bow to God and Him alone. Further, this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian values. To my knowledge, it is the only country in the world with such founding. Now, I know some of our founders were Deists and some served not God at all. And, that is the point. The freedoms underscored by the Constitution means we are free to worship and free not to worship. The choice is ours.

I am more incensed at the fact of attacks on Christianity at large. Christians are called “judgmental” because they choose to point out and live according to the Word of God. All worldviews are accepted. All can practice as they see fit. All accept Christians. Well, I have had enough. It’s personal now. You see, I took another oath which is far more important than the oath of my military service. I took an oath to serve God for the rest of my life. I vowed that I would live out Christianity in private and in public. I will not relent. I will not kowtow. I meant every word I said then and I still mean every word.

If you think there are grave injustices in this country there are forums by which they can be addressed. Arguing to redress such injustices do not include the destruction of property and infringing on the rights and freedoms of others. The same is true of the Church. If you do not like the teachings of the Church you have no right to infringe upon the free worship of those in the Church. Further, no one is making anyone stay in this country. You don’t have to be part of the Church. The choice is yours.

Yes, it’s personal now. I have had more than I am willing to take of those attacking the country for which I put my life on the line. If you want to protest, get all the facts and learn the truth behind the issue. If you have an issue with Christianity, learn more about Christ and determine why He died for you. Many died for the freedom of many. One died for the freedom of all. Either way, you don’t have to participate in either.

One more point. Among the oaths I have taken I have taken the oath of an ordained member of the clergy. I vowed to preach the Gospel in and out of season. My job is to point men to the foot of the cross and let them choose or choose not to come to the point of salvation. Contrary to what some say, not all roads lead to eternal salvation. There is but one way to the Father and that is through Christ Jesus. There is no other way. Not all are the same and unless your stand is for Jesus in particular then you stand not on the Word of God. It is time we all stood. Either we stand with the law-abiding or we stand with the lawless. Now it’s personal and with that, I will stand with the Word of God.

 

 

If Black Lives Really Matter

The continuing mantra of “Black lives matter” has been raised to a deafening decibel. It seems that no matter where one goes or what happens there are those that come out of the woodwork to declare the importance of Black lives. The deafening sound has been once again raised as a young Black male died while in police custody last week in Baltimore. Many of the facts of the case have yet been made public; yet masses of people have taken to the streets of Baltimore declaring the absolute importance of Black lives.

It is doubtful that the Baltimore police set out to target Mr. Gray because of his skin tone. The fact is that Mr. Gray, the reason for this latest uprising, was in an area of West Baltimore where drug sales and usage are prevalent. He was a know drug dealer and may have been caught in the act of selling drugs. Admittedly, this is speculation; still, if Black lives matter perhaps this young Black man should not been on the notorious corner selling drugs as had been his practice. Perhaps he should not have run when the police approached him. If Black lives matter perhaps those Blacks that choose to use drugs would think more highly of themselves and not do things that are harmful to their bodies. Additionally, if Black lives truly matter perhaps respecting law enforcement officials would bring many matters to just ends rather than having a person die because of wrong choices.

If Black lives really matter then perhaps Blacks should not put themselves in harm’s way. Perhaps, just perhaps, Blacks would stop killing each other. The outcry of police targeting and killing young Blacks is not supported by actual facts and numbers. Even so, the killings are not just on the streets as a result of gang and other violence. Blacks often kill their unborn for reasons that seem unreasonable. If Black lives really matter perhaps these killings would cease to be because even unborn Black lives should matter if Black lives really matter.

Now, this article is not one of political correctness and cannot be if Black lives matter. Perhaps those Blacks who are having babies out of wedlock would consider the negative ramifications of raising children on welfare. Of course, if these Black children are being raised on welfare there is a very good chance the fathers are not in the picture. If Black lives really matter perhaps having babies simply to collect an unearned checks would become a practice of the past. If Black lives really matter then fathers would be allowed not only in their children’s lives but also back in the homes of those Blacks lives that matter. If Black lives matter perhaps those things that tear at the family would be addressed so that the family unit is once again made whole.

It is true that Black lives matter which is why those Blacks that have chosen to live contrary to the law might make better decisions. Living riotous lives does little to promote healthy living. This is why if Black lives really matter Blacks that lie to collect social security or other “benefits” would cease the lies and pursue healthy occupations. There is no guarantee of ease. There is no one that should expect employment merely because of pigmentation. As such, Blacks might do well to better themselves. Perhaps trade school or other training might be in order. College is not a bad option for those who enjoy academia. If Black lives really matter then perhaps Blacks should do everything possible for self-improvement as well as aiding others to pull themselves up from the muck and mire which serves only to destroy them.

Generational curses of Black families are often perpetuated because many Blacks have turned their backs on the One that is the epitome of reconciliation. Blacks need to reconcile with God and seek to live in accordance to the way that Jesus taught. If Black lives truly matter Blacks would turn to the giver of life rather than seek to take lives. Jesus is surely the answer for those Blacks who would take to the streets repeating false narratives that seek only to tear apart the greatest nation on Earth. If Black lives really and truly matter the Blacks would stop whatever they are doing, repent and begin living a life pleasing to the Most High God. Yes, Black lives really matter and those Blacks need to raise their hands to a Holy God in complete surrender to His Majesty.

If It’s In You

This past Sunday as I was making ready for church I found a Jimmy Swaggart program. So I decided to watch and listen as it had been a while since I have had opportunity to view the evangelist. After the program there was another that was more of a music ministry also associated with Swaggart. Normally I do not listen to musical ministries because most of them fall far short of ministry and give no glory to God. Well, this particular program was a bit different.

As I was continuing in preparing for the day I let the program stay on. While I was upstairs I could hear what was going on even while could not see who was on the television. The people seemed to keep singing the old hymn Just a Closer Walk With Thee however this was not the normal singing of the classic musical prayer. There seemed to be an unusual anointing associated not so much with the words but rather with those that were singing it. As such I stopped what I was doing to see what was going on. I still don’t know who the songsters were. Nevertheless who they were is truly irrelevant. The people were praying with all their being to the almighty God in song.

As I listened and joined in the prayer I did all I could to maintain a sophisticated decorum even though I was in the house by myself. However the songsters refused to let up on the singing. There was just an anointing in the room where they were that would not let them leave the song alone. The more they prayed in song the more stirred up I became. The sophisticated decorum had to take a back seat to the moving of the Spirit. The anointing was such that I began to pray in the Spirit even while the continuing refrain stirred up that which rests in me. I could not help but give God His due because my absolute desire is to walk closer and closer with God.

I was quickly reminded of the old prophet Jeremiah. At one point it seemed that he was so discouraged that he would refrain from preaching the Word of God. However despite the circumstances and what Jeremiah might have been feeling there was no way he could keep the word of God to himself. There was no way that the Spirit could be contained in his body. In fact Jeremiah declared that the Word of God was much like fire shut up in his bones. And when there is fire in one’s bones it stands to reason that the possibility of one sitting still and not responding to God becomes moot at best.

It is for this reason that I have some trepidation toward those professing Christianity yet there is no life to support the very words spewing from their mouths. Such things are a reminder of the woman in Acts chapter 16 wherein she was saying all the right words yet her heart was far from what she was saying. The thing inside her was one of witchcraft yet the thing inside Paul and his company was the Holy Spirit. And because Paul relied on that godliness inside him he was able to defeat the evil thing outside him. You see, unless it is inside you it cannot come out of you.

At the risk of sounding vulgar it is certain that all eat and drink at some time or another. The body will use what it needs for energy and dispel what is sees as waste. The fact of the matter is that nothing can be dispelled from the body unless it was first put in the body. What goes in the body must and by necessity come out in one form or the other.

Now, the above analogy is not intended to be disparaging to the Holy Spirit. It is simply to show that if a thing is in you it must come out. As such, if you are a Christian and the only thing that comes out of you is mess that is offensive to the Godhead then there is a very good chance that you are not a Christian. Christianity means talking and walking after the manner prescribed by God. This is why I was not able to contain my worship and prayer Sunday. The Holy Spirit rests inside me and as such my life, my actions and all that I seek to do must by extension be a result of what is in me.

Hence, the life of a Christian is not one of a dignified position of false holiness rather it is a lifestyle that causes the God of all to be magnified. Paul said it best in Philippians 1:20 with the words:
“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.”

So then, if it’s in you it must come out of you!

If God Were a Peripheral God

If anyone knows anything about philosophy it is certain that Frederick Nietzsche’s idea of a “dead god” is either infamous or famous depending on one’s world view. Nietzsche’s dead god did not mean that our God was without life rather it was Nietzsche’s way of presenting the idea that God was not involved in His creation. It is much like the idea of Deism wherein it is believed that God created man and then pulled away from mankind with little to no involvement. This, by extension, would make God a peripheral God, an idea which must be challenged.
The fact of the matter is that God was involved with His creation from the time of the creation. The narrative in Genesis clearly shows that Adam and Eve enjoyed a relationship with God. Relationships are far from peripheral in that there needs to interaction between the parties involved in the relationship. With that God spent time with man until sin caused a breach in the relationship. In spite of the breach God continued to reach out to man to repair a broken relationship. God longed for the communion He once enjoyed with man so that from the time sin entered the camp God put in place a plan to restore that relationship. Peripheral thinking would lend one to believe that a peripheral God would not care about a broken relationship. Thus, if God were a peripheral God there would be no concern for what was lost.
There are many other scriptural examples of God working to restore broken relationships between himself and man. Take for instance the period of time when the Israelites were in bondage to the whims of the Egyptians. The people of God were not allowed to worship Him and desired to be in a place where they could worship without hindrance. God heard the desires of His people and worked diligently to bring His people out from the land of bondage into a state of freedom. With this in mind God chose Moses and gave him specific instructions as to what to do in order to deliver God’s people. It is not certain that a peripheral God would take the time and care to bring His people from a state of bondage into a state of freedom where worship of Him is not only allowed but also encouraged.
The multiple encounters of God in the Old Testament with His people clearly show that our God is not dead. That is to say that God is not separated from those that love Him rather multiple evidences show that God speaks to and works with not only those that love Him but also God reaches out to those who have not chosen to love Him. There is no more evidence of that then the text found in John 3:16-17 which reads:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
The fact of God sending His Son into a sinful world does not speak of One who is peripheral. In fact the converse is true. For instance, if God were a peripheral God there would be no concern for the sinful state of man. There would be no desire to restore the broken relationship. A peripheral God would not put the life of His Son into the hands of those that chose to forsake Him on every hand. Instead God with all His love looked down through the annals of time and saw a wretched people in need of deliverance. If God were a peripheral God salvation would be non-existent and all mankind would be dammed by reason of the first Adam.

Moreover if God were merely peripheral Jesus would not have sacrificed himself on the cross with the result of paving the way for man to accept Him, the one and only source of redemption. If God were a peripheral God the spilled blood of Jesus would be void thereby making His atoning work of none effect. If God were as suggested by Nietzsche the promise made by Jesus to never leave us nor forsake us would be a lie. Further His fulfilled promise to send the Holy Ghost to live in believers would be null. If God were a peripheral God then my life is not worth living. Yet because God is intimately involved in the lives of those that love Him I am awed that God is not a peripheral God.

Lost Causes

Some of you may have had the opportunity to see the movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington starring James (Jimmy) Stewart. In the movie, Stewart’s character is a bright-eyed, bushy-tailed honest man full of honest ideals. His world is nearly crushed when he finds out that honesty was a rare trait. His desire to help young boys was seen as a lost cause but that the help of an initially reluctant quintessential aid propelled “Senator Smith” to take a stand on the Senate floor bringing attention to the worthless lost cause despite all those that sought to destroy this upright man of integrity. In the end, victory was had because in the mind of the young senator the only causes worth fight for were the lost causes.

Today we have like problems in Washington. There is so much evil that one can barely keep up with the scandals. Lies on top of lies are being told while the freedom of a people is slowly but surely being placed in jeopardy. Christianity is now the enemy of those that disdain freedom while The Constitution is treated as though the articles written therein are nothing more than suggestions rather than the law of the land. Freedom, as it seems, is a lost cause. The United States government is becoming larger and larger and the people are enjoying much less freedom. Yes, it seems that the freedom of a people is nothing more than a lost cause.

However, this is a lost cause that is not being ignored. It is a cause worth fighting for because freedom means that individuals can worship God as they see fit, speak their hearts, live where they choose and the list goes on. Yet the very idea of freedom is troublesome to some as indicated in the Affordable Care Act which is somewhat of a paradox because it is far from affordable and has little to do with health care. It has more to do with collecting data on the United States citizens and stripping freedoms from them. Even so, there are some that are standing and fighting this lost cause. Some seek to defund it while others seek to eradicate the law by other means. Either way to many fighting the mammoth intrusion on the lives of a people is a lost cause. This is the reason it is worth fighting.

And there are other attacks on the freedom of this great nation. The government is collecting data in phone records. Emails are subject to scrutiny even if the authors are breaking no laws. Property rights are being impinged upon and attacks on free speech seem to be the order of the day. It is all a lost cause because the apathetic bow down to the powers to be simply because they will do what they want no matter what the people say. Well, there are some that will not give in to the freedom takers of this nation. One such person is Mark Levin. He constantly rails against the anti-constitutionalist and makes legal fights through his law firm against those that dare come against freedom. Moreover, Mr. Levin urges people to fight lost causes with him. One such way is through his most recent book The Liberty Amendments. [1] It would seem that Mr. Levin fights because freedom is a lost cause worth fighting for.

Just as there are attacks on the constitutional freedom of a people the attacks are just as great on those that name the Name of Christ. Christians are being attacked on every hand. To stand for the Word of God now means that Christians are insensitive bigots. However, before the dawn of Christianity, the Word looked down through the annals of time and saw countless lost causes. He saw people inundated by sin and that they stood no chance of enjoying communion with the Father. Even more, those that knew not the Father would be damned and forever separated from God. He saw lost causes that could not be ignored. With that, the Word became incarnate (John 1) and allowed Himself to live as a mere man. Christ knew that if He did not reach out to man then man would never know the freedom salvation brings. For these lost causes not only did Christ dwell in an earthen vessel but became the ultimate sacrifice for all so that reconciliation could be made with the Father.

There remain many lost causes on earth today. The disciples of Jesus were instructed to go into all the world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15). That command is no less significant today. The lost causes are still worth fighting for. In fact, because they are lost causes they are the only ones worth fighting for. With that, it would be wise to use the tenacity of Senator Smith while honoring the Word of Christ to fight for the lost causes.

Saints and Sinners Are Not the Same

     It has been said in churches time and time again. Songsters have repeated the refrain as though there were a tremendous truth behind the words that sound so good but have absolutely no truth behind them. The words suggest that saints and sinners are the same are not only insulting but also demean the entire reason for salvation. Even more, if saints and sinners were the same then there would have been no reason for Christ to die on the cross because His death would have made no impact on the lost.

     Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter by first understanding what a sinner is. You see a sinner is one who practices sin as a lifestyle. A sinner totally disregards the Word of God and displeases God by his very actions. This is to say that a sinner is the antithesis of godliness. Sinners seek self pleasure rather than pleasing God. The sin nature is made clear in II Timothy 3:1-5 with the words, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

     Saints do not fall under this category. Saints love God and live according to His standard. The term “saint” is linked to the Greek hagios presenting the idea of holiness. Holiness is the intentional separation from those things that pull from God. As such saints are not merely good people that do good things rather they are people that seek after God’s very heart with the idea of pleasing Him. They abstain from sin and have lifestyles worthy of righteousness. Saints pray for those that despitefully use them (Matthew 5:44) and keep themselves “unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).

     No, saints and sinners are not the same. Any suggestion to the contrary is merely an excuse for those that love to live in sin. The fact of the matter is that once a person turns his life over to Christ he is no longer the same. He has forsaken a life of sin in exchange for a life of holiness. Moreover Paul makes abundantly clear that saints and sinners are distinct and different in every level. Consider the words of Romans 6:1-3, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”

     Paul goes on to show the likeness of sin and death in that sin separates man from God while death, or separation, from sin is indeed freedom. As such it safe to say that sin binds while holiness frees. Sinners, therefore, are bound by their own lusts while saints are free to celebrate because of the Pauline advise not to let sin “reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” ( Romans 6:12). Saints take this very idea to heart and seek to separate themselves from sin. Sin is the enemy of saints who work diligently not to be part of what pulls from godliness. Sinners have no regard for holiness but seek only to please themselves. Saints and sinners truly have nothing in common.

     Saints enjoy salvation provided by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. This salvation is the deliverance of the faithful from the power and influence of sin. Herein is the difference between saints and sinners. Saints walk in the authority of salvation which leads to holiness while sinners walk contrary to anything that comes close to godliness. No, saints and sinners are not the same and any suggestion otherwise pulls from the very idea of salvation.

 

 

No Time for God

     Considering the fact that Genesis 1:1 begins the creation narrative all too often the fact of the term “beginning” is elusive to many. It should be noted that this term is not indicative of the start of time at large rather it is noting the beginning of recorded time. Said a bit differently time did not begin with Genesis 1:1 but that time, like God, is eternal. Moreover God does not operate within the confines of time simply because time is His idea. Now, this may sound like a bunch of senseless rhetoric but it is significant that God, the One not influenced by time stepped inside of time in order to redeem mankind.

     Fast forwarding to John 1:1 the same term “beginning” is found and its implications are the same as those found in Genesis. This time two members of the Godhead are specifically identified as “Word” and “God.” Creationism is addressed in little further in the Johannine text but then John moves on to discuss the reason Christ, the Word, came. John 3:16 clearly shows that the incarnate Christ came that eternal life would be made available to mankind. That is the Second Person of the Godhead laid down some of His attributes, stepped outside of eternity in order to bring sinful man back in right relationship with the Godhead.

     But His work went way further than simply becoming incarnate. He took time to mature as a human inside the womb of a woman and humbled Himself to the extent that He obeyed His earthly parents. He took time to grow in His earthly body and took time to learn how to live as a mere man. The God of time took the time to walk with man as man walked with Him. In this walking Immanuel took time to learn how to use His hands as a carpenter among other things that men do. Even more this Christ took time to minister to all that had need of healing whether it was physical, emotional or spiritual. Even at this Christ was not done.

     After His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane Christ stood in time to be falsely accused of crimes He could not have committed.  After conviction the innocent Christ remained in time to be beaten, mocked, whipped, have his beard pulled out and so much more. Yet this Christ, this Immanuel, refused to pull from the limits of man as He was paraded down the Via Dolorosa en route to Golgotha. He took time to hang on that old tree with hands and feet nailed firmly in place. At the right time the crucified Saviour took time to give up the ghost and found himself confronting our enemy. He left the confrontation victorious in that Christ took from Satan the keys, or the authority, of death, hell and the grave. Even after this Immanuel took time to rise from the dead and walk on earth for forty days and minister to others.

     And He is still not done. Christ now sits on the right hand of the Father making intercession for us all. He is taking time to present us spotless to the father countering the accusations of the enemy. Yet many have no time for God. There are things far too important than to take time out for the Saviour of mankind. You see there is no way some will go to church on Sunday and the car is dirty. It will take at least three hours to properly clean the car so there is really no time for God. But after the cleaning of the car the all important ballgame will be on. This game must be watched so God will just have to wait. The game is far too important and so God will simply have to understand.

     Wait a minute! Perhaps the issue could be resolved by reading just a few versus of Scripture before getting started with the day. No, no, there is no time for that. Breakfast has to be made and eaten, the kids have to get off to school, the job is waiting and to others those talk shows and soap operas have to be taken in. No, there is truly time for God in this busy world. Besides dinner has to be cooked and that party has to be prepared for. Who has time for God with all this going on? Besides those college studies are extremely important so God will just have to wait. There is simply no time for God.

     What if God had no time for us? What if He stopped taking time to love man even in his sinful state? What would happen of God stopped time and allowed man to be swallowed in the abyss of his sin? What if God did not take time to care? Undoubtedly those who have no time for God now would suddenly find time for Him. Unfortunately that may well be too late because time is winding up and Christ will take time to step off His throne to receive the Church unto Himself. At this point time will not matter to those who chose not to take time for Him.

     If there is anyone who has no time for God you might be well advised to take time to consider your ways before time runs out. Yes, there is a reason to make time for God.

A Fundamental Requirement

     Many people today choose not to attend church services for a multiplicity of reasons. Such reasons include everybody in church are hypocrites, I can worship God at home and going to church is pointless and unnecessary. Well, it is not certain that these excuses are even worth mentioning. Still it seems that those that espouse these fallacious words simply have no desire to obey God’s Word. Let me explain.

 

     The Scripture clearly teaches that all liars will have their place in the lake that burns with fire yet many so called Christians plan lies with the intent of asking God to forgive them before and/or after the lies are told. Even so Paul poses the question, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” Others choose to promote homosexuality as though God has created perverted beings forgetting that God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for the very reason. And we cannot forget the matter of talebearers. Talebearers cause strife yet many choose to light the fire of rumors causing much distress in the lives of others.

 

     These few fundamental truths are often ignored yet they are paramount in Christian living. One other fundamental truth is that Christians are required to regularly meet with each other. Hebrews 10:22-25, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

     Much can be expounded upon in these few versus but the foci rest on not forsaking and assembling. It is evident that some in the new Church failed to come together on a regular basis and this failure had a deleterious impact on the Church at large. As such the exhortation was, and continues to be, continual regular meetings resulting in the growth of the individuals thereby growing the Church at large. And while there is no issue with watching television evangelists there is no reason for able bodied Christians to miss church except for work requirements. And that can sometimes be made an excuse.

     The message here is simple. There is a fundamental requirement of God for His people to meet regularly. It is not a suggestion rather a mandate. God has put in place a certain order for His people to follow and if this fundamental requirement is ignored then the choice is to ignore the very premise of God’s Word.

 

The Danger of the Fringes

     Have you ever noticed that at camp fires the best place to be is close to the fire? This is because the closer you are to the fire the warmer you become. In fact if you are so close to the fire that you are able to stoke it not only do you become warm but you will actually become hot by reason of the fire. And if you are not careful you can be burned by the flames. With this good reason dictates that the further you are from the fire the cooler you become. In fact you can be so far from the fire that you become cold. Yet you can be close enough to the fire to see the flames yet far enough away that it has no immediate impact on you. This is living on the fringes. You can see and appreciate the fire but the desire to be close to it is evasive.

     Such is the case with many in and around the church. Some are the first to get to church because they have been taught to come to church from their youth. Yet there is no commitment to the things of God and no desire to serve Him. These are on the fringes because they see the hand of God working in the lives of others with great appreciation but there is no time for them to dedicate their lives to the things of God. You see there are some things that are more important such as the Sunday football games. So, these that are the first to get to church are also the first to leave because the dinner might burn and the kickoff cannot be missed. The fact is that these are the people that have been around the church so much that they have all the moves down and know all the right words. The problem is that they are lukewarm having a form of godliness while denying the power thereof (II Timothy 3:5).

     And then there are others on the fringe. Consider for a moment some that work in the church. Some drive the church van. Others are deacons or ushers while even more sing on the choir or run the sound booth. While they perform many great works that is all that some of these do. Yes, they dress well and have the mannerisms of Christendom down perfectly. But the problem is that there is no love for God. Some of the workers not only lack salvation but the pretense is some evident that it literally reeks from their beings. That is they drink, smoke and even indulge in illicit drugs. Even more they live lifestyles that are far from godly expecting that their works will be sufficient to get them into the Kingdom. These fringe livers have fooled themselves because they are aware of the consequences of hypocrisy but that they rely on their works for salvific purposes (Ephesians 2:8-9).

     Even while these are obvious people living on the fringes there are many others. For instance there are those that think it OK to interpret the Word of God based upon their own ideologies. Then those that think OK to lie without consequences. Others live contrary lives under the guises that God knows their hearts. Well, they are right because God does know their hearts. He knows that with their mouths they worship Him but their worship is for show only (Ezekiel 33:31; Matthew 15:8). These fringe loving people do not realize their destinies if they do not turn from their contrary ways.

     So then, the danger of living on the fringes is that this life is not pleasing to God. He would rather that you be hot or cold. Those that are lukewarm will be regurgitated from His mouth (Revelation 3:16). You see living on the fringes is an affront to Christianity. Even more it is smacking God in the face. It is to say the sacrificial death Jesus is not good enough and that it is not necessary for redemption. Living on the fringes is a nullification of the Word of God not out of ignorance but out of choice and free will. To know the love of God and ignore it is to say that God’s love is not worth having. Living on the fringes is saying the fire is good for those that can feel it but not good enough for the rest.

     When God says that He will spew the lukewarm out of His mouth He means that He wants nothing to do with them.  It is much like a person sick to the stomach and that thing which has irritated the organ is forced out through his mouth. The waste that is rejected by the body is not to return because it has proven vile and no good for the body. Such are those that walk on the fringes of holiness. They will be rejected by Jesus (Matthew 7:22-23) thereby being rejected by the entire Godhead.

     It is my prayer that those on the fringes get close to the fire. Don’t let hypocrisy ruin your chances of eternal life with God. The only other choice is eternal damnation. This is a choice that is unacceptable so in this New Year please get close to the fire. No, get so close that the fire burns you because eternal life was made for you.