Unapologetically a Child of God

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So you think me a fool. That’s okay. It seems that I’m in good company.

That was my thought a few days ago when someone belabored my opinion and reaction of false religion. I bit my tongue, not wanting to create a scene and take away from the spiritual lesson I had hoped to achieve. For a second I questioned myself, which I think is good. It keeps you humble to understand that you yourself are not above mistakes. But like the Apostle Paul, I prayed my debater would tolerate what they considered my foolishness til I could further explain my reason of passion on the matter of false religion.

It wasn’t until the following day, when I held back tears in a store in town as I seen the evidence  and damage of false religion in my own community. It made me nauseous, it made me angry, and if they’d have ask my opinion I’d have gladly told them, but they did not. I did not horn in on a conversation that I was not invited into, but rather once again bit my tongue. But I will not do that with those who have been laid to my charge to teach. I will encourage their zealousness for Christ, and gently correct their apathy toward false religion. And so began this brief study,

Bear with Me

The Apostle Paul speaks to the Corinthians when he says in 2 Corinthians 11:1-4 KJV:

[1] Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. [2] For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

It is not in arrogance of wisdom that I get angry when someone defends the behavior of false religion. As I said previously, I have no great wisdom and education to boast of. Though I have some.  But what I do have is the Spirit of God that causes me to understand Paul’s “godly jealousy.” I am not a jealous person by nature. I have always believed if I was not enough for someone, be it in a relationship or a friendship, then that person was free to move on, because in Christ I’m enough. It is because of His great love for me and ultimate sacrifice of His life for mine that I can defend the Christian faith and call out those who attempt to lead Christians astray, especially those young in the faith. I take my role as a teacher very serious. It is an absolute shame many who teach Sunday School or other church classes treat it with a lackadaisical attitude. As if what we do is somehow unimportant in the grand scope of life. I mean… “it’s just Sunday School.” Right?

Well, let me tell you a tale of “just Sunday School.” Prior to my salvation I was placed in the position of teaching youth Sunday School classes without ever the question, “are you saved.” I didn’t even know what salvation was. I had no concept of the Bible or the importance of the role I played in the eternal state of my students. So now, you’ll forgive me if I’m a tad jealous and zealous over the role I understand as life altering and the fact that I know I am a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ on earth. Sunday School is serious business.

Fear with Me

[3] But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Salvation is so simple. And yet… the depth of what happens to a soul that is saved is beyond what you could possibly understand when you say the words “I believe.” Satan loves to make it difficult. It’s why he’s so effective with false religion. And lest I be misunderstood about what I believe false religion is, I believe that false religion is anything or anyone that teaches salvation in anything or anyone other than the blood of Jesus Christ. Christ alone saves. “Not by works lest any man should boast” the scripture says. So tell me thou man of religion, what can you do to be saved? First of all, don’t be a man of religion, be a man of relationship.

What brought me to tears in town this week was a man that I stood behind in line at the pharmacy. I had been brought up in the same church he attended, I knew him and his wife and I loved them. Sweet, sweet people. My thought was “there will be lots of sweet people in Hell because someone dared not to offend them with the gospel.” There are fewer and fewer churches sharing the need of having a burden for the lost. Few churches preach conviction of sin and the power of the cross. I speak from the experience of having been in many churches across the nation, both physically and virtually. Are their churches my business? No. But when their churches have a profound effect on people I care about, that is my business.

Paul said he feared, lest by any means Satan would beguile (to charm or enchant) people as he did Eve. That’s a good description of what’s happening in many churches. They’re charming people with music and programs that attract people but do nothing to edify the soul with preaching and encourage believers to live right. The church of Corinth had issues, not the least of which were claims of spiritual superiority over one another, suing one another in public courts, abusing the communal meal, and sexual misbehavior. It was a community of wealth but Paul says in verse 8 of this chapter that he had “robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.” He was referring to the fact that many poor churches were supporting his mission work so that he could preach and try to correct the errors of the wealthy churches like that in Corinth. Paul called them out, he did not walk on by. He had too much invested in the people he cared about. And so do I.

I have felt fearful for many years that we, who were once known as a godly nation, would be the recipient of world missionaries coming to present the gospel to the godless nation of America.  I could seriously see it happening now. Our current government is anti everything conservative, so where does all this fit in with false religion. It makes our people ripe for the picking because the nation is such a state of despair. There is no trust in the government, local or national. People are searching for a place to find hope, which would have once been the church, but now because of Corona, many churches are not open, or have limited services and outreach ministries have gone by the wayside for “virtual” meetings. Non- relationship meetings. Oh…. even writing it my stomach turns over. How can we be the hands and feet of Jesus from a phone or computer screen? We were created to be a relational people.

According to the Washington Post, even though suicide rates have fallen globally, they have climbed every year in the United States since 1999, increasing 35 percent in the past two decades. Another fear that I have is that these rates will continue to rise because hope is quarantined and not able to come out and play. But you better believe Satan and his minions have immunity and readily available to deceive people from where they are.

For many children Satan’s location of choice is in the public school system which has our children’s minds at their disposal from 8-3, and the parents are too busy and too tired from 4 to 9 to deal with them, so they’re left exposed to the internet on their own until the wee hours of the morning. In 2014 there were 4200 religions listed in the world; if Paul was “fearful” over what was happening in Corinth, imagine what fear he would have today at what his people are exposed to. Parents and children alike search the web for hope and for help and there is any number of organizations out there waiting for a way into their lives, and Satan will use them to manipulate them right into Hell.

Don’t Bear with Them

[4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Paul was in fear that the people of Corinth would “listen too long.” Someone once said that if you say something long enough and loud enough the people will eventually believe it. I could add to that, if you start it early enough it will be a seed sown deep into the heart of a child. That’s why it’s so important to Satan to get his hooves in the door of a school house, and believe me, he has that door propped open wide.

While science was always his preferred route of invasion, calling Creationism into question; Satan has now used false religions to infiltrate the minds of youth by promoting that all beliefs are acceptable, but Christianity is too narrow minded and prejudiced to be considered. Unless of course it’s the Catholic religion, which is perfectly fine because Catholics are not encouraged to read their own bible, but rather have it read to them through their agents of God, the priest, who is their method of communication to God. It was this religion by a teacher who my grandson commented to in school. Unfortunately he knew just enough to be dangerous. But he spoke truth none the less. And it was likely my fuel that fired him up. For which I’ll not apologize.

Paul made no bones about the fact that he didn’t want the people of Corinth giving ear to people who preached another Jesus. Do the Catholics preach another Jesus? They preach that Jesus’ sacrifice alone wasn’t enough. They preach that the veil that was torn asunder on the day of the cross meant nothing for the “average man,” but only certain men could speak to God. They preach that a man has the power to forgive our sins. None of which is true, and is damnable doctrine.

So…. while I’ll not go on a hunt to try to correct people of Catholic religion, or any of the other 4200+ religions, if they come hunting for my people, or if their influence is felt in my community, I’ll not sit silent. Nor will I worry about offending them.  I have family and friends who have been influenced by the false teaching of this world, or a more common issue, they’ve been influenced by churches who do not consider it their job to preach the gospel of conversion. If there is not change in the life of a person professing Christ, if sin doesn’t convict their soul, I dare say they’re not a child of God. But it is unfortunately not the teaching of many churches. I’m not judging. It is truly between them and the Almighty God for Whom I serve.

I am unapologetically a child of God, I am not about what’s over the door of a church. I am about what is within the pages of the Bible and that alone. But I am still, unapologetically Baptist, because it is the doctrine for which I agree with. What I teach the youth in my department is this. Know Christ. Know why you believe in Him. And when people call your faith into question, let it be unquestionable what you believe in because you and Jesus are that tight.

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