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Friday, September 30, 2011

Says Who?

Here's what GOD doesn't want; HE doesn't now, and has never, wanted a bunch of mindless zombies wandering around falling to their knees at certain time chanting 'Praise GOD Praise GOD Praise GOD' all in unison.  Another thing HE doesn't want is anyone doing anything in HIS name because it's what they believe is expected of them, and that includes going to church.  Now let's make sure we understand something here, we don't want anybody reading this and going rogue or something.  When I just said that HE doesn't want people doing things just because they believe that what they're doing is what Christians do, that's exactly what I meant. GOD don't want people ending up like the folks Paul was talking about there in Rome who had a 'zeal' for GOD, but it wasn't based on knowledge of GOD, or HIS righteousness.

'For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for GOD, but not according to knowledge.  For they being ignorant of GOD's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of GOD.'  (Romans 10:2-3    NKJV)

Lots of times we'll have people who only go through the motions, and they've convinced themselves that it really doesn't matter what's in their heart, so long as they are in church every Sunday and try to squeeze in a couple of Wednesday night services a month.  Then we have those who are, as Paul said in this Scripture above, 'seeking to establish their own righteousness.'  With these folks, there really is no telling what we'll see or hear, and that's why I find it so important to test everything by the Scriptures. 

I started out by talking about what GOD doesn't want, now let's make sure we all understand what HE does want.  First of all, let's get rid of that notion that everybody is automatically a Christian. I was in conversation with a lady the other day, and the subject of what we each should do to spread HIS Word came up.  She felt like her work was done, because she was a [basically] good person, and cared about others.  When I brought up the question as to whether everybody she knew was a Christian, because if not then she still had a ministry to fulfill, she told me that everybody was a Christian from their moment of birth.  So where does that leave the confessing and professing?  Do we just throw all that JESUS bled for right out the window?  This is where we end up with 'baptizing' infants.  I probably shouldn't say this, but like my wife says, sometimes I don't play well with others (or maybe that was all the time).  The Bible, HIS Holy Word, says absolutely nothing about baptizing infants.  Scripture does talk about dedicating babies to the LORD, that is what Joseph and Mary were doing with JESUS when Simeon was led by the Spirit into the temple to see the MESSIAH.

'Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought HIM to Jerusalem to present HIM to the LORD.'  Luke 2:22    NKJV)

What we have to keep in mind here, in this particular instance of JESUS as an infant being 'presented to the LORD' is that Joseph and Mary were doing this in accordance with the Mosaic Law, which was still in effect.  I used this example of infant dedication on purpose, just to settle any questions about whether we should dedicate or baptize our babies.  Think about it, JESUS was the fulfilled prophecy for the children of Israel of the MESSIAH.  Until HE began HIS public ministry, which by the way started much earlier than the guestimated age of thirty years old since HE was teaching in the temple at a much younger age, it was crucial that HE was raised up the proper Jewish boy by HIS parents.  It stands to reason that if it was required by the Law that infant boys be baptized, then HE would've been baptized. 

Later, when CHRIST was well into HIS public ministry, HE made it quite clear just how precious children were to not only HIM, but to the kingdom of GOD as well.

'Then they brought little children to HIM, that HE might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  But when JESUS saw it, HE was greatly displeased and said to them, 'Let the little children come to ME, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of GOD. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of GOD as a little child will by no means enter it.'  And HE took them up in HIS arms, laid HIS hands on then, and blessed them.'  (Mark 10:13-16    NKJV)

While this Scripture is used traditionally to teach us just how important it is to have the proper mindset, in regards to complete trust and obedience, to be received into the kingdom of GOD, let's look at the last part of verse 16. HE picked the children up, and '[HE] blessed them.'  HE didn't take them down to the river and baptize them, HE didn't sprinkle water or oil on them and pronounce them saved, and HE didn't issue any additional instructions that either of these things should be done.  HE 'blessed them' and that was what we should do with our children, bless them by being good parents to them, raising them in a household dedicated to the LORD, teach them HIS Word, and then praise GOD when they each make their decision to seek salvation by the blood of CHRIST and the grace of GOD.  I know that I've really rambled on about this infant baptism thing, but this is important.  If a child is raised up from their earliest awareness and has been taught that they were saved by an infant baptism, and never seek the salvation of CHRIST, where will they be on that Great Judgment Day?  See how just one tiny little 'extra' that somebody decided to add to HIS Word can escalate into someone going to hell? 

Since we're already on the subject of  adding man's traditions to GOD's commandments, we may as well continue on.

'Then the Pharisees and scribes asked HIM, "Why do YOUR disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?"  HE answered and said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophecy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'This people honors ME with their lips, but their heart is far from ME.  And in vain they worship ME, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' " ' (Mark 7:5-7    NKJV)

This is where we find ourselves if we're not careful about being misled, and it happens more than people know.  GOD doesn't want us to be misled by anybody, that's why HE gave us, each and every one of us, HIS Word.  HE wants us to learn more about HIM and HIS Ways by reading and studying the Scriptures.  HE promises us that every word in our Bibles was inspired by HIM to be written, and it's all for our sakes.  If we would focus half as much time and energy learning more about our LORD GOD as we devote to learning sacraments, or ritualistic prayers to this saint or that saint, we would learn in short order that none of these things are even in the Bible.  Don't take my word for it, do what I've said many times before, READ YOUR BIBLES!    Go to church, hear the sermon, then test everything by the Scriptures.  I get real nervous when a pastor delivers a sermon out of a denominational circular or newsletter, with no reference to Scripture at all. 

Here is the bottom line, it's like I said at the beginning, GOD never wanted a bunch of stooges running around like idiots praising HIM all the day.  HE wants us each to make our own individual choice to seek HIM.  HE doesn't want us to be led and influenced by things that somebody started out doing for whatever reason years before that has no basis in Scripture.  We each have a responsibility to HIM to make sure that everything we believe ourselves and teach others is Scriptural.  If you are told something that is contrary to what you've read in your Bible, question it, say something like, "Hey, show me that in the Bible, because I don't know where that is."  If it isn't in the Bible, it's because GOD didn't want it there, and that was for a reason. 

In the meantime Brothers and Sisters before the LORD, be Blessed, and be vigilant.  The devil can creep in at any time, and he will every chance he gets!


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