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Monday, December 19, 2011

Whose Authority?

Turn your television on at just about any time of the day on just about any day of the week and you'll be able to find some preaching going on.  Now this, in my opinion, is a good thing, or is it?  If you've spent much time in your Bible the longer you listen to some, not all but some, of the preaching on the television the more disturbed you will get.  Notice that I didn't say the more disturbed you might get, but the more disturbed you will get.  For any  new readers out there, something you'll come to learn about me the longer we know each other, is that I don't play word games, or mind games.  If I say something a certain way, there is a reason for it.  There are very few tv preachers I'll waste my time with. The main reason for that is because after my disgust reaches a certain point, then the frustration kicks in. I get frustrated over two different issues. First, how any man who identifies himself as a man of GOD could preach what is exactly opposite of what Scripture teaches. Second, I get frustrated to the point of wanting to jump right into the tv right into all the people sitting home listening to this guy and tell them, "Read you Bible!" Here is the point I'm headed for today, nowhere in the Bible have I ever found that GOD promises that any thing we ask for He'll automatically give us.  One thing you'll not be told is that prayers being answered is based on a couple of things.  One, that you've reconciled any differences between you and anybody else.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses."  (Mark 11:25    NKJV)

Next, are what you're petitioning the Lord for something that you would honestly expect to be in His Will for you?

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.  (James 4:3    NKJV)

I was asked to leave a church one time, and it was because I asked a simple question.  This wasn't even Sunday morning services, so it wasn't like I interrupted or anything.  This was on a Wednesday night adult Bible study, and I had been told when I was invited to come by the pastor himself, that it was an open forum, and that if I had any questions at all, to just go ahead and speak up.  So when the pastor began to teach the class, from a denominational magazine, and he began by telling us that GOD wanted us all to be good (he named the denomination here)'s.  He paused for a breath, and me, not having a bashful bone in my body I just jumped right in there and asked (and yes, I was polite) just where that was in the Scriptures, that we all were supposed to be good ------'s.  The pastor got a little red, and then asked if he could have a word with me in private, so we stepped out of the room and he asked me to leave.  So I left. 

Believe it or not, my little story here, which is true, illustrates two important things about the point of today's ramblings.  One, a lot of teaching and preaching is presented as being supported by Scripture, and two, if it's tested by the truths found only in the Scriptures it'll fail every time.  It says nowhere in the Bible that GOD wants us each to prosper and be wealthy, healthy, and wise here on earth.  Jesus taught that it was literally impossible for a rich man (by worldly standards) to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

"And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  (Matthew 19:24    NKJV)    See also Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25

Another thing He taught was that we should lay up our treasures where it counts, in heaven.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal."  (Matthew 6:19-20    NKJV)

And yet another bit of knowledge that our Lord God felt we needed to know concerns a problem the apostle Paul identified in the [Early] Church there in Colosse.

"For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say lest anyone deceive you with persuasive words.  For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.    As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.  Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ."  (Colossians 2:1-8    NKJV)

Colosse to beware of a couple of things.  This tells us that should we encounter any of these things, that we too should beware, in a big way.  The things the apostle told the congregation to watch for started with persuasive words, and if persuasive words come from someone, then there will be deceit intended.  Let's look at that for a minute, just how will we know when we come face to face with 'persuasive words.'  We actually have it easier than those early Believers because we have the Bible to check things against.  I call this the test of the Scriptures, and I've always advocated testing everything by the Scriptures.  When I'm teaching I want everyone there to have a Bible in their hands, and as I go from passage to passage I slow down and make sure everyone is able to keep up.  I do this not because I'm some kind of 'super' teacher or 'one of a kind' preacher.  I do it because when I was called into ministry I made a vow to GOD, and I take my vows to GOD very seriously, that I would never teach anything without making sure that Scripture supported it, and I want people to check me against the Scriptures.  The early Believers didn't have the Bible to do a test of the Scriptures, so Paul told them to stick to what they'd been taught.  Look back at verse six again;

"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him."

What Paul was telling the people was that the message of the cross doesn't change, that what they had been taught when they were saved was still so.  God is consistent, He doesn't  change His expectations from us, nor His promises to us. 

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines.  For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.  (Hebrews 13:8-9    NKJV)    See also Hebrews 1:12.

Any time we hear people making statements about having some kind of  a 'new' message from God, or a 'new' understanding of any certain Scripture, watch out.  I'm not saying to just turn the channel or leave the church.  I am saying to test every word you hear by the Scripture.  For those who've studied the history of the Christian church, you'll remember that it really hasn't been all that long ago that the established churches actually forbade their congregants to even own a Bible, much less read one and seek their own understanding.  If you're in any kind of a study group and something doesn't sound right, ask for clarification, say, "Hey, where in the Bible is that?"  Don't be bashful.  Tell them that I, Terry Keiner,  said it was okay for you to ask where that was in the Bible. 

The bottom line is this, God has made a number of promises to us, and sealed those by the blood of His Son.  When you get a package all ready to send off to someone for Christmas, or a birthday maybe, after you've sealed it up and sent it off, you can't add anything else to what is already sealed up.  So with that in mind, ask yourself, just whose authority are some of these folks who preach stuff that isn't in the Scriptures doing this by?  It isn't by the authority of God, His package was sealed up and posted two thousand years ago.  While it does happen that we'll sometimes forget something we intended to put in our package or letter, I'll promise you that God didn't forget anything.  Another thing I'll promise you is that He doesn't need any one of us to take up His slack.

By the way, whose authority do you claim your promises by?  Under whose authority do you live your life? 

Be Blessed my Brothers and Sisters before the Lord!
I pray you'll have many Spiritual Blessings with those close to you over these holiday times, and that His love will continue to grow in you!

Terry Keiner, being Blessed in Montana!

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