The Jitterbug Jesus Crowd

Thursday, November 10, 2011

“But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:7,8 KJV).

You need not visit local nightclubs for free dance lessons. Simply attend a church whose “worship” service embraces contemporary “Christian” music. There, you witness churchgoers boogieing to the rhythms of the flesh. One Christian brother aptly termed them the “jitterbug Jesus” crowd. In religious ecstasy, they raise their hands, convulse, jump pews, laugh uncontrollably, and utter gibberish (modern-day “tongues”). Behold the charismatic movement.

Twenty years ago, a Christian friend of mine left his local church for doctrinal reasons (my parents also left that church around that time). Recently, he informed me that he revisited it some weeks ago. The brother was amazed at how the church had changed… for the worse!

To his horror, unlike his previous visits, drum beating was commonplace during “worship.” Rather than traditional hymns, the churchgoers sang unfamiliar, modern songs that made their bodies really move. Furthermore, they had abandoned the King James Bible for an overhead display of the depraved NIV! In disgust, he left that church for the second time, perhaps to never return (fortunately).

Apostasy and heresy have infiltrated many so-called “Bible-believing, fundamental, evangelical” churches. The very churches that were once the best of the worst have now spiritually declined to fulfill ranks just above the cults. Frightening indeed!

Who goes to church for Bible study? Precious few! Most just go for entertainment. After one hour of jumping and shouting, the preacher tells many jokes, quotes a verse or two, and everyone hurries home. Beloved, today’s Scripture declares, “bodily [fleshly] exercise profiteth little!” Spiritual highs are temporary. Contrariwise, “godliness,” or sound Bible teaching (1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 6:3-6), is extremely profitable, both in this life and that which is to come.

Few churches teach and preach the King James Bible rightly divided, whose men and women unashamedly oppose the charismatic movement. We stand with them and thank God they stand with us!

Kosher Food Laws

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:” (Colossians 2:16 KJV).

Some professing “Christian” groups prohibit their members from consuming pork products. Is this necessary? While God clearly forbade the nation Israel from eating pork in time past (Leviticus 11:7,8; Deuteronomy 14:8), we are not under legalistic demands (the Mosaic Law) in this the Dispensation of Grace. “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14b). God does not want us to be in the bondage of Mosaic Law-keeping (Galatians 4:9-11; Galatians 5:1).

Today, God uses His grace, not the Mosaic Law, to educate us and guide our lifestyles and behavior: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;” (Titus 2:11,12).

The Apostle Peter, according to Acts 10:9-16, was a kosher-food Jew. When he finally ate non-kosher foods with the Apostle Paul’s Gentile believers, the Jews were upset with Peter (Galatians 2:11,12). These Jews had no idea that God had opened a new dispensation, our dispensation, and the laws that God gave Israel in the Dispensation of Law did not apply to anyone in our Dispensation of Grace. Hence, today’s Scripture declares that we are not bound to observe Israel’s kosher food laws and religious days (including the Sabbath day!).

In 1 Timothy 4:1-5, we read God’s further instructions to us regarding kosher food laws: “…some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrine of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy… and commanding to abstain from meats [foods], which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

Provided that you give thanks to God for the bacon, catfish, and shrimp, God says you can eat them! 🙂

The Worthless Résumé #2

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

“Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:8,9 KJV).

Saul of Tarsus, the most religious man of his day, had persecuted Jerusalem’s Jewish believers in Jesus Christ (Acts 8:1). Now, anger propelled him to pursue believing Jews in Damascus (northeast of Jerusalem).

En route, Saul realized that Damascus was not his only destination—he was headed to hell too! Despite his religious performance (described in Philippians 3:4-6), he did not have God’s righteousness. His religious works could not erase the fact that he was still a sinful son of Adam, a persecutor, and a blasphemer (1 Timothy 1:13,14).

In Acts chapter 9, the Lord Jesus Christ graciously discarded Saul’s worthless résumé and replaced it with something far superior: His (Christ’s) accomplishments on Calvary’s cross. Thus, Saul “suffered the loss of all things [his religious accomplishments]”—his religious activities “but dung” (today’s Scripture). Saul was now “in Christ”: He had been placed into Jesus Christ, and had God’s righteousness.

We who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, we should be ever grateful to our Saviour that our worthless résumés have been replaced with His well-pleasing résumé. We are saved by “the righteousness which is through the faith of Christ(today’s Scripture). Christ’s faith never wavered. Unlike us, He always pleased His Father. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17; cf. Mark 1:11).

As Christians, we are “the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). To wit, in Christ, we are just as pleasing to God the Father as Jesus Christ is! Wow! Like Saul, we realize that our religious activities will never give us this righteous position. It only takes the accomplishments of Christ to get us to heaven—anything less is “but dung.”

*Adapted from the poem “The Worthless Résumé.”

The Worthless Résumé #1

Monday, November 7, 2011

“Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:4-6 KJV).

Saul of Tarsus was extremely religious, a strict adherent of Judaism. Instructed by the Pharisee and rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 5:34 cf. Acts 22:3), Saul was “more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of [his] fathers” (Galatians 1:14). Today’s Scripture verifies Saul’s “outstanding” religious performance: if there was one man who thought his righteousness was sufficient to get him to heaven, it was Saul. But….

Continue reading the context of today’s Scripture to discover that, despite Saul’s religious activities, he was still headed to hell! “But what things were gain to me [those of today’s Scripture], those I counted loss for Christ” (verse 7). In order to be saved, Saul had to realize that his “righteousness” was a “filthy rag” in the eyes of the LORD (Isaiah 64:6). Saul’s religious accomplishments amounted to a worthless résumé.

“Yea, doubtless, and I count all things [those of today’s Scripture] but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” (Philippians 3:8,9).

Saul realized his “righteousness” was “dung” (manure)! The only solution to his sin and sins was God’s righteousness, Christ’s sinless blood. In Acts chapter 9, Saul quit trusting in himself and trusted in Jesus Christ.

Are you like Saul of Tarsus was before he became the Apostle Paul? Are you trusting in your “good” works for salvation? Why not abandon that worthless résumé like Paul did? Why not trust in the finished crosswork of Jesus Christ, the only résumé that impresses God Almighty?

No Feel-Good Message

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66 KJV).

Our Lord Jesus Christ was loving and kindhearted, the meekest man who ever lived. However, He boldly spoke God’s truth, even if it meant offending most of His audience. If you defend the rightly divided King James Bible, expect some of your audience to be irritated and offended. Do not compromise, for God’s preferences are always unpopular with mankind.

Unfortunately, modern-day Christendom disagrees with the Lord Jesus’ approach. Visit today’s “inspirational” bookshelves. Notice visages and names of “Christian” celebrities, authors of heretical books that teach health and wealth (the multi-volume “Spiritual Larceny Series”).

Today, most people seek a “loving Jesus,” a non-offensive “Sunday school teacher” who offers brief counsel sessions, instant healing and deliverance, and great material riches. They deliberately overlook the true Jesus, the righteous Judge who will not overlook man’s sin. Listen to the garbage on “Christian” television networks, radio stations, and websites. Even those with the most perverted theological persuasions see and hear something they like! This is reminiscent of what the Jews told God’s prophets (Isaiah 30:10): “Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth [“feel-good”] things, prophesy deceits [lies!]:”

Man in his natural state hates God; he is God’s enemy. “The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7a). Our Lord Jesus Christ never spoke to entertain His audience. He taught them doctrine that would save their soul! Before it is saved, a soul will become uncomfortable. It realizes that it is headed for hell, in desperate need of salvation—salvation that it cannot provide itself.

Offended individuals in today’s Scripture permanently left Jesus Christ. His righteous statements insulted them. They saw their need for Him, the Bread of Life, and their wicked hearts despised Him.

The Gospel of Grace—Christ dying for our sins, His burial, and His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)—is no feel-good message. Christ’s finished work on Calvary is always offensive to religious people (Galatians 5:11): it testifies to their inability to save themselves. We politely, relentlessly, and unapologetically preach this “offensive” message.

Impressionable Minds and Effectual Doctrine

Monday, October 31, 2011

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV).

Today is Halloween. We mull the idea of sincere children arrayed in costumes going door-to-door and exclaiming, “Trick-or-treat!” They have never been taught that this “innocent looking” holiday is rooted in the spiritually toxic soils of Celtic paganism, devil worship, and superstition.

Considering the “Harry Potter” franchise and Halloween, the gravity of devil worship has been downplayed. Future generations are receiving mixed messages from the Church the Body of Christ. Christians, rather than speaking against these atrocities, have become permissive regarding the activities that God hates. They remain silent, greatly reducing their impact on the world, and allowing the world to impact them! Ephesians 5:14-17 exclaims, “Wake up, O sleeping Christians, Wake up!”

God clearly forbade witchcraft in Israel (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Micah 5:12). Witchcraft is sin, according to Galatians 5:20. God wanted Israel, His earthly people, to not participate in Satan’s policy of evil. They were not to mingle with the works of darkness. God wants the same thing for us, the Church the Body of Christ. Note how the Ephesians burned their spell books in Acts 19:19.

There is no law “Thou shalt not celebrate Halloween,” yet notice today’s Scripture. Although they are not explicitly forbidden, some activities harm others and ourselves, and are inconsistent with our identity in Christ Jesus. Thus, we avoid those activities. If an activity does not bring glory, praise, and honor to God Almighty (the Lord Jesus Christ), it is devil worship. Satan wants you to worship something other than the one true God.

We desperately need our young people to realize the weightiness of sound doctrine, especially regarding the occult, witchcraft, et cetera (and its most subtle forms like Halloween and Harry Potter). God Almighty instructs us to educate them with sound Bible teaching. We know that God’s Word will “effectually work also in [them] that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). God’s Word will reach their minds, we just need to plant and water, sowing it into their minds, and let God take care of the rest.

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or the study video can be viewed here.

Are You a Nominal Christian?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV).

The title “Christian” was such a hateful, derogatory term in the first century A.D. It was used to describe a small number of people who lived such “Christ-like” lives, conversations that communicated God’s grace instead of the world’s vile standards. Today, over two billion people identify themselves as “Christian.” Nevertheless, we have not lost sight of what the Bible says about nominal believers.

Unbelieving Jews and saved Jews look alike on the outside. In Jesus’ day, millions of Jews practiced Judaism. While they had the outward physical circumcision of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, very few had the inward spiritual circumcision of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Physically, they were all Jews. Spiritually, most of them were not Jews—they were not God’s spiritual children, but Satan’s children (John 8:44). These lost Jews had never been born-again (they had not received the spiritual circumcision of Romans 2:28,29).

In today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ describes these “nominal believers” (cf. Mark 7:6). Scribes and Pharisees (Israel’s religious leaders) loved to keep the Mosaic Law and feel “religious,” but the Lord Jesus claimed it was vain worship. They appeared to do everything that God told Israel. However, they disobeyed the commandments they hated and embraced the tradition of men (Matthew 15:3-6; Mark 7:8-13)!

Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13 to describe these “hypocrites.” Despite their godly façade of Matthew 23:27-36, they were not God’s children (“their heart is far from [God]”).

God is not fooled. He knows the hearts of those who are saved and those who are lost. Are you a nominal Christian, in name only? Have you truly trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, thereby being rightfully called a “Christian?” Or are you just a church member who merely professes to be a Christian? Friend, it makes an eternal difference!