Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Living Across The Street In God’s Neighborhood:

In my last blog, we discussed the meaning of the word “Holy”. Travis commented that holy is being more and more like God and that God must make us holy.  He is right, but until we realize that it is through His Holy Word that God transforms us, we will always fall short of being what God desires for us to be.  In that blog, I gave an illustration about the religious people of the world who have some belief in the God of the Bible. I suggested that there are many possible places around God where people have become content to stop and  live, all the while not being in the one spot at His feet they need to be to become holy and set apart as He would desire.  Today, let us see if Jesus had anything to say about believing in God (In the neighborhood) and falling short of being completely with God.

The “I Believe in God Neighbors”:
Some folks believe that a confession that they believe in God is as close as they need to be. They usually back up this belief with efforts on their part to be good people, to do good deeds and to try never to be hurtful or harmful to anyone.  This idea usually creates a kind of self righteousness though they do not realize that is what they have. They are basically under the assumption that by doing “good” things they can balance the scales on the bad things they might have done. They might say, “God knows our hearts”, implying their intentions are honest and sincere. Though their efforts produce some visible good works, they are keeping God at arms length.  They do not have the constant hunger for God’s Word, nor do they want to be totally and completely transformed into what God has revealed for them in the Bible.  They think living across the street from God is an acceptable place to live.

It is true that, we must believe that God exists. This is an essential step in discovering God’s neighborhood. The evidence for God is all around us, that all things must have come from an intelligent Creator, not random chance.  But, is this belief combined with a belief that God means what He says in His Holy Word??  You might be surprised to learn that the first beings to acknowledge the fact that Jesus was the Son of God, after He began to preach, were the demons (Matt 8:29). James brings merely believing in God into perspective. "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:19-20). Essentially, those who believe God exists have reached the same level of belief as the demons of New Testament times.  James says this is good, but far from the faith described in the Bible which will save (this belief is dead).  By the way, the “works” mentioned here are not self righteous acts, but  active faith based on obedience to God’s Word (Rom 10:17).  A few words about the “works” of some neighbors.

Their, “I can do it myself” approach ignores the Holy Word which states that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23). If it were possible to be restored to a right relationship with God by believing He exists and doing good works, then it was not necessary for the Son of God to die on the cross.  The implications of their thinking is that the faith taught in the New Testament is not required to be right with God. They will not cross the street, knock, enter and sit wholeheartedly at God’s feet to hear His every Word.

Did Jesus have anything to say about people who profess to believe, but do not obey? Let us see.

"And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like:  He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.  But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great." (Luke 6:46-49).

I think that Jesus is drawing what should be an obvious conclusion. If one truly believes that Jesus is the “Lord” (means: one with right and authority to rule). Why do they not respect, honor and hunger for what the Lord has to say.  Note that Jesus says, whoever comes to Him and “heareth my sayings and doeth them.”  This describes the people at God’s feet, not those who live across the street.

Where do you really live in God’s neighborhood?  You will never know till you are willing to hear His Holy Word on that subject. You may have your opinion, but God has His also. Does God mean what He says?

PS:  Do not let the failures and hypocrisy you have seen in some who have claimed to be close to God, cause you to ignore God Himself. Bitterness over the behavior of struggling Christians has kept many souls across the street. Ironically, many will spend their eternity with those they allowed to keep them from Biblical faith. What do you think?


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Holy" In The Neighborhood?

Thanks for your comments Travis. Good thoughts from the Word. Also, thanks for being my first registered blogger. Allow me to back up what I think you are saying. I think you are saying that God is the architect of our “holiness.”  We cannot make ourselves holy, or invent our own definition of righteousness and then call it “holy.”  “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom 10:17). But, we must be careful of the misguided ideas in the religious world that a man’s own will or decision has no part in this process.  I am not saying you are suggesting this, but others do. The power of God’s Word calls “whosoever will” to hear and obey (Rev 22:17). That is God’s decision, God’s will, God’s way or whatever one wants to call it. Those who seek, will find; those who knock, shall be opened unto. Back to “holy.”

It is only by the amazing Word of God that we have a clue about what “holy” really means.  Since the first prophet of God opened His mouth, God has by His Spirit, been trying to reason, instruct and guide mankind back to Himself. The “Holy” Word He delivers is powerful to bring about this desire of God. What does God give the Holy Word the ability to do when combined with faith??

*It is the “power of God” unto salvation: (Rom 1:16).
*It is the engrafted Word which is about to save our souls:
James 1:21-22:  "Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. {22} But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
*It is the “holy scripture”  which is able to make us wise unto salvation: (2 Tim 3:15).
*It is the incorruptible, everlasting  seed which when obeyed can bring  about new birth and purify our souls:
1 Pet 1:22-23:  "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: {23} Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
*It is the will of God revealed to transform us into a living sacrifice pleasing to God. (Rom 12:1,2).
*It is living,  powerful and sharp enough to penetrate our minds and reveal to us who we really are and where we stand with God:
Heb 4:12:  "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
*It is the only “holy” guide to what God considers to be good or evil:
Heb 5:13-14:  "For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. {14} But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."

Just a few thoughts on  the unique purpose and power to change us, which God has declared His Word to have. That is why it is to be preached to every creature (Mark 16:15,16). By the way, no other religious teaching, but God’s Word has this kind of power. It is unique, it is “holy.”

There are many ideas in the religious world about what is “holy” (Who, What or Where). But only that which is from God or that which is produced by God’s will is truly Holy.  Let me illustrate the word “holy” with an illustration which just popped into my head. It may not be perfect, but get the main point.
The religious world is a like many people who have, in general, discovered  where God lives.  Some are content to move into His town or even into His neighborhood, thinking this is enough to qualify as faith. Others buy a house across the street.  Some have camped out at His gate. Some are squating in His yard. Some are standing at His door, but do not have the courage to knock. Some have knocked, entered and plopped themselves down in His living room, content that they are in the house. Some are just outside the door of His room trying to understand Him above the human confusion and noise. Some boldly enter His room and congregate around the walls, singing praises at the awesome presence of God.  But, the only ones who will ever be truly “holy” are those who have planted themselves at His feet, refusing to leave. These feet people,  humbly and obediently soak in every Word which comes from His mouth.  Every Word they hear, makes them want to hear more.  Their ears and hearts are being constantly exposed to the holy and eternal Word.  Because they believe what they hear and love God, they obey and are transformed and made new. The Truth makes them free and sets them apart from the world. 
Jesus prayed for His disciples to be set apart and different from the world (“sanctified”). He prayed God would accomplish this through His Word of Truth.
"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." (John 17:17)

We must never misunderstand or underestimate the power God has placed in His Word to Save and make us Holy.  We have now discovered where God can be heard anytime we want to listen.  We now know at least where to learn about true holiness.  Where do you live in God’s neighborhood?

"… It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Mat 4:4). 

Thanks Travis 

What Is Holy?

The basic meaning of the word "Holy" in the Bible is to be set apart for a special purpose. It is something that is made to be different from other things, especially in its intended use or purpose. The furniture and utensils of the Old Testament tabernacle/ temple worship were Holy in that God had designed them for Israel and given each item a purpose. To have used them for any other than the purpose given them by God was an unholy use, it was to defile or make them unclean. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon started down a dangerous road when he capture these holy items and took them to his temple in Babylon.  "Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon." (2 Chr 36:7).  Later, his son Belshazzer saw the "hand writing on the wall" when he used these special, sacred items at one of his parties (Dan. 5:2ff). These items had been created and given a purpose to be used in acceptable worship to the Almighty God. To ignore the instructions for their use and original purpose was to bring one's self into contradiction and conflict with God.

Holy is to be set apart for a purpose, but perhaps the most significant part of what makes something holy is Who has made it holy. Most things are created to serve some purpose. A flat screwdriver was created to install or remove flat head screws. If I use the screwdriver as a chisel, I am using it for something which it was not intended. No big deal, the creator could care less. But, when God creates, speaks and gives his opinion on something, His instructions are very important. Only God's Word can reveal what He has created, set apart and given a purpose. What God says about anything is Holy, of special origin, from the only authoritative source in matters of faith. The scriptures are "holy" because of their origin and giver. (The Holy Bible). They must be viewed as holy and set apart from ALL other religious instruction.  All teaching and instruction which is of human origin (the majority of religious teaching) may contain some good thoughts, but it is not holy. In fact, if it contradicts the holy teaching of the Bible, it becomes "unholy", "defiled" or "unclean." Fewer and fewer people today actually consider the Bible as God's actual Words given by inspiration (2 Tim 3:16,17). The Bible is no longer "holy" in their minds for what they think, what they feel or what some man has taught is just as special and authoritative in their hearts as the Bible. That which is "holy" is made to have equal status with that which is unholy. They should just scratch the word "Holy" off of their copies of the Bible.

The priests of Old Testament times were given the job of educating the people to understand, not just God's instructions on the furniture, but on all things He had taught concerning their worship and service to Him. What He said was "holy", it was separated, different, given special importance. What others said was not. Do the religious people of our time have any concept of the difference between what is "holy" and what is not??

"And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; {11} And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses."  (Lev 10:10-11).

How important is it for us today to be able to know the difference between what God has said (Holy) and what men have said (unholy) to fill the religions thinking of the world?  Holy is not just about what is said, but even more importantly, Who said it.

"For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? {4} God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."  (Rom 3:3-4).

"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim 3:15). 

"Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way." (Psa 119:128). 

How would you define "Holy"????

Is Your Bible Really Holy In Your Heart and Mind???

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hello Friends

I am  Robert. I have been striving to humbly serve the Creator as revealed in the Bible since I was 16 years old. Like Jesus and Paul, I have years of experience in carpentary and home construction. I have education in several fields of study, but by far my greatest joy is the study of the eternal and holy Word of God. As the title of my blog, I have asked a question which all of us must ask ourselves. If we answer yes to this question, then it is pretty important that we study to see what God has said. I have made it my life's work to understand and be able to explain what God has revealed to us about His will for our lives and the church He established with the blood of Christ in the 1st century. I will with God's Word as my guide try to answer as many questions as I can about the difference between the original church and the many man made churches which have appeared on earth since the original. I appreciate your prayers in this endeavor. May God guide and bless you if you are truly a "Seeker."