Why is it such a Long Road from Christianity
to Jesus Christ?
It is presumed that someone who claims to be a Christian actually knows Jesus Christ. But, in reality, there is a huge gulf in between. Churches who use the name of Christ by calling themselves “Christians” have become little more than fellowship centers, only slightly above social media networks.
The pastors and members love fellowship, and “working together for God” and signs, and wonders, and entertainment, and support groups. They are encouraged by their leaders to “do something BIG for God.” The members are anxious to be part of a BIG church. In fact, when a church or other religious organization grows large, it is presumed that “God is blessing them.”
Televangelists Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn, both speak in tongues and supposedly perform “miraculous” healings. They preach to audiences of many thousands. Does that mean God is blessing them?
Joel Osteen has a church of 16 thousand members and lives in a $10.6 million mansion. Does that mean God is blessing him?
Jan and Paul Crouch made millions from their television ministry while plagued with financial and sex scandals. Even though Paul Crouch died in 2013, Trinity Broadcasting Network still appears to be going strong. Does that mean God has blessed them?
And other televangelists like Kenneth Copeland, Paula White, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Creflo Dollar, and many more, plead to large television audiences to send money and more money often promising them God’s blessing for giving. This is known as “Prosperity Religion.”
But the financial and sex scandals that have plagued most of these televangelists seems never-ending. Their lavish, decadent lifestyle, their contempt for their viewers and contributors, reveals too clearly that none of these people actually “knows” the Lord.
Here is a list of the scandals related to American evangelical Christians.
And here is a web page that reveals Vatican Crimes against children: http://www.areyourchildrenprotected.org/
Does God support the Corporate Mentality?
If one is a member of a denomination that is rapidly growing, does that mean God is blessing them? Does the size of the denomination confirm that its doctrines are correct?
“Bigger is Better” is the corporate mentality. Is that God’s “mentality” as well? If so, why didn’t that happen in Jesus’ ministry? Was God withholding His blessing from Jesus? Indeed, Jesus spoke to and miraculously fed 15,000 and 12,000 people, respectively. The Israelites were amazed at His miracle-working power and wanted to make Him their king. What a great king He would be, they thought. He could miraculously produce food for the Israelite troops to fight and kill their enemies, the Romans. He could miraculously heal not only the soldiers injured in battle, but everyone with a disease in Israel. He could even raise from the dead the soldiers killed in battle. The potential temporal “blessings” for the Israelites were overwhelming.
Of course they wanted to make Him their king so He could help them accomplish their carnal goals: the annihilation of their oppressors, the Romans.
But at the time of His humiliating crucifixion, these crowds not only left Jesus, but they joined His enemies, the Pharisees, in shouting, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” Even Jesus’ best friends, His disciples (all except John) fled for their lives, and left Him alone. At the most difficult time of His earthly life, Jesus was left with only five people: His mother, Mary, one disciple, John, Mary Magdalene, and two other women.
If Bigger is Better and means “blessings from God” then God certainly had forsaken His Son. But that’s not how God blesses.
In His word, He tells us:
“Many are called, but few are chosen.” Matt 22:14
Narrow is the way and few there be who find it.” Matt 7:14
“The Lord has a little flock. . .” Luke 12:32
Does God want Christians who will stand for him, but only when surrounded by a huge congregation by 16,000 people where each individual can hide behind the other?
Or is He training us to be strong individually and stand alone for Him when every human being forsakes us, possibly even including our family and our closest friends, as happened to the apostle Paul!
“Everyone left me…But the Lord stood with me.” 2 Tim 4:16,17
Does the Lord Endorse the Concept of “Bigger is Better”?
If we look at the story of Gideon in Judges, Chapters 7 and 8, God tells us how He feels about it.
Once again, Israel had left God to worship pagan idols. So God allowed them to be enslaved by the pagans until they cried out for help. God picked Gideon to be God’s instrument to deliver Israel from their captivity. Thirty-two thousand Israelites came to fight an army of the Midianites that were “as the sand of the sea.”
“And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.” Judges 7:2
So God told Gideon to send home “whosoever is fearful and afraid. And 22,000 soldiers went home. Only 10,000 remained.
“And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are still too many.” Judges 7:4
God told Gideon to take his army to the water to drink. The ones who drank water putting their hand to their mouth, were only 300 men. God told Gideon to keep these men for battle, and send the rest home.
“And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude, and their camels were innumerable, as the sand by the seaside for multitude. Judges 7:12
God wanted to make sure that the Israelites knew, without question, that it was God delivering them, and not just their own efforts.
With only 300 men, led by Gideon, God delivered the Amalekites and Midianites into the hands of Israel.
“And there fell 120,000 men” (of the enemy). Judges 8:10
How about the Smaller “Ministries”?
“Everyone knows those huge television ministries are corrupt” you may say, “but there are much smaller ministries that are run by godly people.”
Indeed, I’m sure that is true, but there are plenty of scams among the smaller ministries as well. One of my acquaintances for many years has helped support the “missionary work” of one of his Christian acquaintances in Japan. Not long ago, I met this “missionary” when he came back to the U.S. for fund-raising.
During our conversation, I learned that this Caucasian American man and his family had been missionaries in Japan for over 20 years. When I asked where in Japan they were doing their “missionary” work, he replied that they lived and worked right outside of Tokyo. (Not exactly a hardship location!) His wife is a school teacher for the children of Americans living in Japan. I asked if it was hard to learn the Japanese language. He said he hadn’t learned any Japanese (in over 20 years). When I inquired about his work, he told me that he was the assistant pastor of a church of 25 members.
Clearly, this man doesn’t do anything. No “church” of 25 members even needs a head pastor, much less an assistant pastor. It was just another scam.
My church-going friends tell me of two pastors; one who secretly accrued huge gambling debts, lied to parishioners by asking for money he needed “for his brother’s operation,” then took the money and disappeared, leaving his job without any explanation. The other pastor was admitted to a rehabilitation facility for drug addiction.
Do these people “know” the Lord? Obviously not.
But what about all the good people who attend church regularly? Certainly they must “know” the Lord!
I was talking on the phone to one of those people just this past week. He is a physician who has prostate cancer and is a relative of an acquaintance of mine. During our conversation he stated that he has changed his diet to “mostly” vegan (that is all he has done) and is depending on the Lord “to heal him.” He spoke of his great love for, and commitment to, the Lord, and how for years he has been a “missionary” to Israel. But recently, with the increasing violence in Israel, he feels it is too dangerous to continue his missionary work there.
When I agreed that the violence of the Israelis against the Palestinians was escalating, with many murders of women and children, his response was, “If the Israelites had done their job thousands of years ago, they wouldn’t be in this mess. The Palestinians have no right to be in Israel. The Jews should KILL THEM ALL!!”
I asked him how that attitude comports with the words of Jesus Christ, who said, “Love your enemies. Do good to them that hate you,” he agreed that question is hard to answer.
In this “Christian” man today, is found the same voice of those who 2,000 years ago who screamed, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.”
Another man who calls himself a Christian believes that churches are correct in their support of our troops going to war. “After all, we must protect our freedoms from those who are attacking us,” he said. But NO ONE is attacking us. In fact, we, the United States, are the provocateurs of virtually every war on the planet. We started the war in Iraq. We started the war in Afghanistan. We started the war in Syria. We started the war in Ukraine by destabilizing their elected government, by ousting their legally elected President, and by installing our own illegal, unelected puppet President. And we are trying our best to provoke both Russia and Iran into war.
When I asked Him the same question as the previous man, his response was the same: “That’s a hard question to answer.”
Another church-going “Christian” man to whom I talked on the phone just this week about some doctrinal differences responded saying, “That’s very interesting. I’d like to read more about that and discuss it with my pastor.”
I replied, “You shouldn’t discuss this with your pastor, you should discuss it with God. Don’t believe any human being, not even me. Study for yourself, and discuss it on your knees with the Lord. After all the Bible says:
“You need no man to teach you. One is your teacher, Christ.” 1 John 2:27 and Matt 23:8
“We ought to obey God, rather than man.” Acts 5:29
Furthermore, virtually ALL “Christians” trust in “man” (doctors), rather than trusting in God. It is God who says,”
“If you obey My laws, My commandments, and My decrees, I will keep you free from every disease.” Deut 7:11-15
No doctor will ever give any patient that 100% Guarantee that if the patient follows the doctor’s plan, he or she “will be free of EVERY disease.”
Yet Christians always go to doctors, and take drug medications (that God calls sorceries and witchcraft: Rev 18:13 sorceries = pharmakeia in Greek) rather than turning to Jesus Christ and following HIS way.
Nothing has changed among those who call themselves “believers.” They do NOT “believe.”
“Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many people are devoted to causes and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not really want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is deeply offensive to the educated minds of today, to those who only want Him to be their Friend, and who are unwilling to accept Him in any other way. Our Lord’s primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of people the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father.” Ibid June 19
What is the Mark of the Beast?
The word “Mark” in this phrase in the original Greek Scriptures, is charagma, or charakter. Not surprisingly, in English, it means the “character” of the Beast power. Many Christians believe that the Mark of the Beast will be a physical “mark” such as a barcode stamp, or an implanted microchip. The government may attempt to do those things, but the Mark of the Beast will not be a physical mark.
On the contrary, the Mark of the Beast is a spiritual “mark” revealed by the character of the individual. One “has taken” the Mark of the Beast when he or she exhibits the same “character” and disposition as the Beast Power.
All of the characteristics of the First Beast Power of the book of Revelation are found in one group only, the leaders of International Jewry, who hate Jesus Christ and hate all Christians, and all Gentiles. In their “holiest book” the Talmud it states:
“Even the best of the Gentiles should ALL be killed.” Kiddushin 66c
“Jesus is boiling in hot excrement in hell.” Gittin 57a
When a supposed Christian supports the murder of one individual, or the genocide of a whole race of people, he has “taken” the Mark of the Beast.
Published surveys show that 57% of Americans endorse genocide of the Palestinians by the Israeli Jews. That means that already at least 57% of Americans have “taken” the Mark of the Beast without even understanding what they have done.
Yet many of them claim to be followers of Christ!
What IS the difference between claiming to be a Christian and really “knowing” Jesus Christ?
“The abiding awareness of the Christian life is to be God Himself, not just thoughts about Him. The total being of our life inside and out is to be absolutely obsessed by the presence of God. A child’s awareness is so absorbed in his mother that although he is not consciously thinking of her, when a problem arises, the abiding relationship is that with the mother. In that same way, we are to ‘live and move and have our being’ in God (Acts 17:28), looking at everything in relation to Him, because our abiding awareness of Him continually pushes itself to the forefront of our lives.” Ibid. June 2
Most Christians believe that, “Nobody is perfect.” “It’s impossible to be perfect.” Yet Jesus Christ says,
“You SHALL be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Matt 5:48
But how can that be if “Nobody is perfect” as almost every Christian believes.
“Beware of thinking of our lord as only a teacher. If Jesus Christ is only a teacher, then all He can do is frustrate me by setting a standard before me I cannot attain. What is the point of presenting me with such a lofty ideal if I cannot possibly come close to reaching it? I would be happier if I never knew it. What good is there in telling me to be what I can never be - - to be “pure in heart” (Matt 5:8), to do more than my duty, or to be completely devoted to God?
“I must know Jesus Christ as my Savior before His teaching has any meaning for me other than that of a lofty ideal that only leads to despair.” O. Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest July 21
But when Jesus Christ puts His very nature in me, when He exhibits His character through me, when He begins making every decision in my life, then it is He, not I, that lives. As Paul said,
“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” Gal 2:20
Jesus Christ did not come only to teach - - He came to make me what He teaches I should be. Redemption means that Jesus Christ can place within anyone the same nature that ruled His own life.
We cannot make a decision for Jesus. All we can do is recognize our absolute frailty and futility in running our own life. The knowledge of our own poverty and destitution is what brings us to the proper place where Jesus Christ can accomplish His work in our life. Ibid. July 22
“This is the will of God, your sanctification. . .” (1 Thess 4:3)
“This is the will of God making you holy. . .” To make us holy, God must strip all pretenses from us, frequently He must strip us of our friends, even family. We must be stripped of what our friends think of us, and what we think of ourselves.
“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate. . . his own life. . . he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26).
Sanctification means making us holy. It means being made one with Jesus truly knowing Him . Sanctification is not something Jesus puts. in me - - - it is Himself in me.
“But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Cor 1:30
“The mystery of sanctification is that the perfect qualities of Jesus Christ are imparted as a gift to me. Sanctification means nothing less than the holiness of Jesus becoming mine and being exhibited in my life. Sanctification means the impartation of the holy qualities of Jesus Christ in me. It is the gift of His patience, love, holiness, faith, purity, and godliness that is exhibited in and through every sanctified soul…
“Sanctification is an impartation, not an imitation. Imitation is something altogether different. The perfection of everything is in Jesus Christ, and the mystery of sanctification is that all the perfect qualities of Jesus are at my disposal. Consequently, I slowly but surely begin to live a life of inexpressible order, soundness, and holiness - - ‘. . . kept by the power of God. . .” (1 Peter 1:5) Ibid. July 23
But how do we get there?
It’s not instantaneous. It’s a process. The Bible tells us that we develop the character of Jesus Christ, “as we behold Him.”
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord, are being changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor 3:18
“As we behold Him, we become changed into His image.” As we study His Word, His life in the Gospels, His words written by His inspired writers of the Scriptures, including those of the apostle Paul, as we see His provisions for the Israelites in the wilderness, as we see His deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, as we see in Christ’s death for the redemption of the whole world, as we understand in Revelation how He will be with us through the trials and tribulations of life, as well as those of the coming End Times, we then begin to understand that He also can deliver us from the slavery of our sinful nature.
“He gives His teachings which are truths that can only be interpreted by his nature which He places within us. He does not change human nature, to make us better. Jesus came to place in us a new heredity. The purity that God demands is impossible unless I can be remade within, and that is what Jesus does through His redemption.” Ibid. July 24
He has promised to put His character and disposition in us, to give us the strength, courage, tenacity, determination, commitment and faith to live as He lived when He was on earth. We cannot do it without knowing Him and trusting Him more than anyone on earth, including our closest family members and friends.
If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate father, mother, sister, brother, husband, wife, children, and yes, even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:26
Jesus calls us, just as He called His disciples, saying:
“Follow Me. . .” “Follow in My steps, and I will give you the same character, determination, perseverance, patience, commitment, tenacity and goodness that I exhibited when I was on earth.”
“Follow Me. . “
“And you Shall be Perfect. . .”