A Word to the Reader:
It is my intent fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, to remind you what Jesus said when he warned us about the doctrines of men. For he said: “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. ... How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6-7, 11-12) For there are those who falsely teach of the “silent years” between the last recorded prophet in the Masoretic text and the preaching of John the Baptist. For such claims would make Jesus a liar because he plainly declared: “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” (Matthew 11:13) So, this shows us that there were those who prophesied and preached the law during those supposed three hundred years of silence. This of course is where the Apocrypha text of the bible comes in which we find not only in the Greek Septuagint, but was part of the Geneva and the King James bible for over 200 years.
Which Bible is the Most Accurate?
Now, let me first say this. I’m not one of those who believes that we should throw out or burn all the modern translation of the bible. For I do believe that God can speak to us through even the worst translation out there. So, even if you read the loosest translation, you’re still able to see God’s plan of salvation unfolding through its pages. However, we should make it our aim to read those translations that more closely represent what God is saying to us. So, that’s why my main bible is the King James Bible. For I do believe it’s the most literal translation available to us today when it comes to “PROPER” word usage. However, even though I do use it as my base text for reading and studying, I do find myself at times trusting the accuracy of other translations in certain passages. So, that should make it clear that I’m not one of those KJV only person, nor do I believe that its translation is infallible.
Why Read the Septuagint Old Testament?
So that being said, I do also study the Septuagint Old Testament as well. And in some cases, I even prefer it over the Masoretic text which we find in almost all of today’s translations. This is due to the fact that there are inconsistencies in the Masoretic text where it doesn’t always line up to those quoted by authors of the New Testament. Also, it contains corruptions such as the genealogy of Seth where it makes him out to be Melchizedek. And let’s keep in mind that the Septuagint was translated from the Hebrew over 200 years before the birth of Christ by Jews. However, the Masoretic text we have today came about almost a 1000 years after the resurrection of Christ by the Masorete Jews. Therefore, I trust the Septuagint more than the Masoretic text because it’s closer to the time of the original manuscripts. But as said before, I do consult the Masoretic text when it comes to proper word usage. For I find it more literal in its translation and that it has a better choice of words.
Below are some of those passages found in the New Testament which are quotes from the Old Testament. I have compared the New Testament, Septuagint and the Masoretic text. Now, I do realize that a few of the passages in the Masoretic text below still give us the gist of the message. However, I still included them to show that it was the Septuagint, not the Masoretic text that the early church was using and quoting from. For we can see this because it’s almost always word for word between the New Testament and the Septuagint text.
The Dead Sea Scrolls & the Septuagint
What about the Dead Sea Scrolls, do they support the Septuagint? Well, according to the article The “Original” Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls on the Biblical Archaeology Society website, we can see that some of the Dead Sea Scrolls actually support the Septuagint text. For Noah Wiener writes below:
“Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls actually have more in common with the Greek Septuagint than the traditional Hebrew Masoretic Text. This suggests that the Greek translators must have been translating from Hebrew texts that resembled the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Then, Noah goes on and give us an example of one of the Dead Sea Scrolls that contains a clue to the accuracy of the Septuagint by quoting a question that was given to Emanuel Tov, asking: “Did Hannah bring one bull or three bulls as an offering at Shiloh? (1 Samuel 1:24)” So Emanuel Tov goes on to answer saying:
When the infant Samuel had been weaned and his mother, Hannah, finally came to Shiloh with her son, she also brought with her an offering for the Lord that is described in two ways in our textual sources. According to the Masoretic Text, she brought “three bulls,” but according to the Septuagint and a Qumran scroll (4QSama from 50–25 B.C.E.) she brought one “three-year-old bull.” I believe that Hannah probably offered only a single bull (as in the Septuagint and 4QSama); supporting this choice is the next verse in the Masoretic Text which speaks about “the bull.” I believe the Masoretic Text was textually corrupted. …The evidence of the Septuagint, being in Greek, always depends on a reconstruction into Hebrew, and consequently the Qumran scroll here helps us decide between the various options. Incidentally an offering of a “three-year-old bull” is mentioned in Genesis 15:9. It shows that a Hebrew text underlying the Septuagint once existed in which Hannah brought only one three-year-old bull.
So, we can see from scripture itself that even the Masoretic text was showing its own error. For we don’t see anywhere about a three-bull requirement being offered in the law of Moses.
Now, A Case for the Apocrypha
Now for something else that might get controversial for some. I do believe that the writings of the Apocrypha are part of the God inspired scriptures. Now, I’m not talking about the one in the Catholic bible, but the one you can still find in copies of the 1560 Geneva bible and todays King James Bibles (Both of these bibles are still available for purchase today at: ChristianBook.com, thekjvstore.com or even amazon.com).
And please remember that the King James bible had the Apocrypha in it ever sense day one of the original 16ll version. This is also true for the Geneva Bible as well. So, if those brilliant learned men who translated the 1560 Geneva bible as well as those of the 1611 felt that it was good to include the Apocrypha in their translation, who are we to say otherwise. It wasn’t until around the 1800 hundreds that publishers started printing some bibles without the apocrypha in it. But thank God there are those publishers who still rightfully include it in their versions of the King James Bible today.
Now, you may have heard someone preach to you about the “300 years of silence” that supposedly existed between the last recorded prophet of the Masoretic Old Testament and the New. Well, the apocrypha books were written during those supposed “silent years.” Therefore, we see the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ stands true when he said: “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.” (Matthew 11:13) Yes, brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord said that they would prophesy up to the time of John the Baptist. So why would we believe that they stopped at the prophet Malachi when Jesus Himself said otherwise.
And one more note on all what’s said above. The Septuagint Old Testament does contain the apocrypha which has been used by the Greek Orthodox Church for almost 2000 years.
Below you will find some interesting cross references between the new testament & the Apocrypha.
Below are some links on videos, articles and where to get a complete bible with the NKJV New Testament and Septuagint Old. And just to let you know, I’m not involved in the Greek Orthodox Church (except in sharing the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ). However, just as they do, I do except the septuagint over the Masoretic text and believe that the apocrypha (which is part of the septuagint) is the inspired word of God.
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2)
A few words to the reader
I would like to remind you my fellow brothers and sister in Christ, of the importance of God’s word that has been handed down to us from generation to generation. But that being said, I would like to also warning you of the corruption of God’s word in these newer modern translations. Now please don’t get me wrong, for I do believe that God can speak to us even in the most corrupted of today’s bibles. However, by reading these inferior translations, you are not getting the full meaning of the text, but a watered down one at best. So, I encourage you to read on and lean more of what’s being said here. Oh, and just to let you know, I’m not saying that my text of choice is perfect and the only one I read. But again, we must be diligent and examine for ourselves the evidence within these different bibles we have before us. Amen.
A More Literal & Proper Wordings
I first of all would like to say, that I do look to the King James Version for proper wording and for a more literal translation. I say this because it seems as though some newer versions find it offensive to use the literal words which God himself used. However, God used those words so that we would easily get the point of his message. Also, I found that some of these more modern versions have passages that are so badly translated, it makes me want to ether rip them out, or use a White-Out pen on them. Anyway, you can see this for yourself below.
The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.
These verses in Proverbs declare that the LORD possessed Wisdom from eternity past and by Wisdom He created the earth and the heavens (see Proverbs 3:19). Here, the KJV, NKJV, ESV, and NASB rightly proclaims that truth and declares that Wisdom was never created, made, birthed or formed but “brought forth” (or to dance) during God's creating act. Reading the other versions quoted below can cause you to come to the conclusion that there was a time that wisdom did not exist. Other versions that support the reading that “Wisdom always existed and was not created” are the Geneva, NASB, NKJV, ESV, ASV, HNV, MKJV, UKJV, Darby and the Webster bible.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
In this passage of Isaiah, we have a description of Satan who is here referred to as “Lucifer” (light bearer) in the King James Bible as well as by some other versions of the bible. However, there are versions out there that make it confusing by calling him "morning star," or even "Day Star," which are words used in the New Testament pertaining to Jesus and that which is of God. Those other versions that read as the King James Bible are the Geneva, NKJV, Webster, DBY, as well as the Septuagint. The HNV uses the Hebrew word itself (heylel) and the YLT says “shining one, thus I did not include them below.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Here we have a prophesy of Jesus Christ who was the Word which was with God and who was God Himself. He was the Word which was manifested in the flesh and dwelt among us. Now in this verse in Micah, we are told that He was from “everlasting” which means He never had a beginning but always existed. This word “everlasting” in the Hebrew means a “vanishing point” or “eternity.” But if you would read some of these other translations quoted below, you may come to a different conclusion, even believing that Jesus had a beginning. Those versions that hold to the eternal existence of Jesus are the Geneva, ASV, DBY, HNV, Webster, NKJV, HCSB and the NASB bible.
And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Here in Zechariah 13:6-7 we have a prophecy concerning our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In verse 7 we have the prophecy of what would take place on the night of His betrayal concerning Him and His disciples (see Matthew 26:31). Also, before this in verse six, we read about someone that would receive wounds upon him as well as by whom he would acquire them. In the literal Hebrew, it says that he would receive these wounds in his “hands” at the house of his friends (see Psalms 22:16 and Luke 24:39). I, as well as others believe this is talking about our Lord Jesus who was crucified for our sins, having his hands nailed to the cross. (see commentators below)
However, from what we can see from the majority of the more popular versions quoted below, this Hebrew word for hands is being change into words such as arms, back or chest. So, my question is, isn’t there in the Hebrew language a literal word for these other choices used? Of course there is. So, wouldn’t it make sense if God wanted any of these other words to be used, He would had Zechariah use their literal words themselves? God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). It is also worth noting, that the NASV has in its footnotes that the Hebrew is literally “hands.” So why didn’t they use it? Some other versions that also use the literal translation “hands” are the Septuagint, Geneva, the original NKJV (1982 edition), Webster, Darby, Young's, MKJV, and the UKJV.
And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
Here we have Jesus showing love and compassion to the Leper. The Geneva and all the modern versions I checked use the word “compassion” or “pity” for the feeling that Jesus had for the leper except for the NIV that says that Jesus was “indignant” which is to show anger. What is interesting however, is that the NIV uses this same Greek word everywhere else as having compassion or pity. This is poor scripture translating at work.
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Here, we have a clear declaration that only Jesus himself has seen the Father and no other. However, we have other versions that make this passage confusing by using the word "God" instead of the word "Son" here. For Jesus is and was God’s Son who became flesh. So, it makes more sense to use the word Son in reference to our Saviors relationship with the Father. Other versions that support this are the Geneva, NKJV, NIV, CSB, RSV, ASV, YLT, DBY, WEB, HNV.
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
John, starting at verse 13 and ending at verse 21, is giving us detailed information concerning Jesus after his death and resurrection. Now, in verse 13 we read that he went to the Father in heaven. However, there are those versions that leave out the last portion of the passage which reads: “which is in heaven.” Have that last portion makes it clear that John is talking about Jesus after his death and resurrection. Again, I believe that the KJV as well as the Geneva, NKJV, ASV, HNV, MKJV, UKJV, Darby, Young's, and the Webster bible have the correct wording.
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
It is interesting that the bibles versions listed below would actually use the words deacon, deaconess or minister in Romans16:1. I say this because elsewhere they use the word servant in some other passages. This seems deceptive because it appears as if she is a minster or some leader in the church. But the truth of it is, she’s not. For the word simply means a servant, waiter or an attendant. So that should make it clear that Phebe is not a Pastor, Teacher, Elder, Overseer or a Minister. Again, she is simply a servant who is chosen to help serve in the church in one capacity or another.
A good example of this would be the disciple Stephen who was chosen to be a helper in the church at Jerusalem as declared in the book of Acts chapter 6. He was appointed to serve tables in the church fellowship along with seven others as well. We can see this to be true in Peters own statement in this same chapter. For he, being an Elder said that it would not be proper that he should leave the teaching of Godʼs word and serve tables.
Other versions that support KJV is the Geneva, NKJV, ESV, HCSB, NASB, CLNT as well as a few others. Therefore, these verses listed below should not be used as some sort of proof texts to show that a woman can have a leadership possession in the church.
1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Here in this passage we have an affirmation of the truth of the Gospel that the Word (Jesus) which was with God became flesh and dwelt among us (see John 1:14). The other translations quoted below fall short to point out this truth by using the word “He” instead of “God.” Yes, it is true that one can come to the conclusion that these other versions are referring to Jesus Himself by what fallows, however, they fail to hit home the fact that He was God who became flesh and blood. Other bible versions that do include “God” are the Geneva, NKJV, YLT, DBY, WEB and the HNV.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Now, we came to those words that are wrongfully toned down in the Bible. For we can see translators of the newer bibles changing the meaning of God's word to maybe make it less “offensive” to the readers. But wait a minute. Are not these words inspired by God in the first place, and did not the original copies have them in there? So, if God inspired them to be there, who are we to change their meaning. For let's remember, “Father knows best.” Amen.
So that being said, if we look at the original meaning of the words “filthy rags” we can see that it means just that. For these words in the Hebrew mean a “menstruated cloth” which shows that even our best works are unclean before God. What is also interesting is that the CSB bible has in their notes that the literal meaning is “menstrual.” Then why not use it as does the NET bible which says: “We are all like one who is unclean, all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight. We all wither like a leaf; our sins carry us away like the wind.” Right on NET bible; now only if you were accurate everywhere else. Others that make this passage clear by using “filthy rags” are: NKJV, DBY, WEB, NLT, NIV and of course the clearest of them all, the NET.
Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to everyone that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms. Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbors, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.
Here in this passage of scripture above, we see God using the illustration of a whore giving herself over to fornication. This God did to expose Israel of her sins against him. Now, I would like to first point-out that the NIV makes it very clear on what’s being said here, for it reads: “At every street corner you built your lofty shrines and degraded your beauty, spreading your legs with increasing promiscuity to anyone who passed by. You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your neighbors with large genitals, and aroused my anger with your increasing promiscuity.” Wow, I think this makes it very clear, don’t you? So, I would have to admit that the KJV translators even toned it down slightly a bit compared to the NIV version. Those versions that do make it clear (or clearer) as the KJV in both verses 25 and 26 are: NIV, CSB, ASV, HNV. The NASB, NET, YLT, DBY, WEB only have it right in one verse or the other.
Below are those versions that seem to think that the literal words in this passage of scripture are a little over the top for God’s people.
1 Kings 14:10
Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.
Here we can see another example where the translators are toning down Godʼs word. Instead of using the inspired words “pisseth against the wall” (in modern English, urinate) or the word “dung” (fecal matter), publishers felt that they needed to change this and obscure (maybe not intentionally) the message that God is trying to get across to us readers. Why do they think itʼs offensive or inappropriate to use a word that Got Himself inspired? We are not called to sterilize the Bible but to present it in all its truth.
Even though most translations do include the word “dung” in them, they still leave out the reference to “urinate” as the KJV has it. However, they do make it clear that it is the males that God is talking about here. Those versions that use both the word “dung” and "males" are: NIV, ESV, CSB, NASB, NET, RSV, ASV DBY, WEB and HNV. Those that totally obscure this passage are listed below. Refuse or trash as the NKJV and the NLT has it does not convey much disgust as the scriptures intended. Nor does “those sitting on the wall” has anything to do with the male gender as the YLT has it.
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)
To the Reader: I do realize that some may disagree on the things contained in this article. However, we shouldn’t divide over this but realize not everybody has attained the same level of faith. For Paul said: Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. (Romans 14:1-2) God help us to be a people of unity and not divide over the non-major things.
Born of the Water and the Spirit
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:5-6)
What did Jesus mean by saying that that a man cannot enter into the kingdom of God "except a man be corn of water and the Spirit? Well it's very simple, for he explains it in the next verse when he said: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6) You first have to be naturally born into this world in order to be Spiritually born. And only when you're Spiritually born, can you enter into God’s kingdom. So, being born of the water is simply in reference to the natural birth when a pregnant woman's water brakes and out comes the baby.
Then the next step is being born of the Spirit when we are converted and receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Let's not try to read into this and make it something it's not. For you must first come into existence before you can know who God is. And then you must turn your life over to him and be "born again." We must simply Interpret scripture with scripture because it's all there in God's word for us. Amen.
Now, I know this raises that question, “are we going to see these stillborn and aborted babies in heaven?” Well, according to the words of Jesus above, no we’re not. For he made it clear that one must be birthed into this world and then be born of the Spirit of God to enter heaven. Now, this is in no way saying that they are going to hell, for they nether had a choice one way or another. For only those who have the capacity of choice are either going to heaven or hell. This should make abortion that much more horrible for it extinguishes life in the womb and robs a child of a chance to know God. Now, that’s first-degree murder and should be dealt with as so.
Now, my heart goes out to any woman who had to go through a stillborn birth. She should rest assured that she is not guilty as those who abort their child. However, according to God’s word one must first be birthed into the world, and then receive God’s Spirit (born again) in order to “enter into the kingdom of God.” And just to help make things clear, little children do have the capacity of choice. For Jesus said: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. ... Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:6, 10)
Now, how much more does this also make the words of Jesus to us so important when he said: “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” (Luke 10:2) However, are we as Christians doing this? Don’t we realize that people’s eternal destiny is at stake here? God help us all to do his will.
Below is a message by Chuck Smith who was Pastor of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California before he passed away:
Who Really Owns Christian Music?
He put a new song in my mouth, A hymn to our God; many will see and be afraid, and shall hope in the Lord. (Psalm 39:4)
Why do Christian musicians collect royalties and claim ownership for music and songs they don’t own? For God Himself is the true Author and Owner of them as David declares in that verse above. For it is he, that puts the new songs in our hearts as we see above in Psalm 39:4. Therefore, God has freely given us these songs to share in order to: ”Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)” Yes, Jesus did say “the workman is worthy of his meat,” but He also said “freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-10) So, let's consider what this means. Jesus sent out his disciples to preach, heal, raise the dead and casting out devils. So, they receive wages not for the power or the message Jesus gave them, but for the work that was associated with delivering it. In the same way, a Pastor of a congregation receive wages not for the sermon he received from God, but for being a good steward in delivering it. Yes, he may have spent a lot of time preparing it, but we must remember that God is the one who put it on his heart in the first place.
So, it’s the same with Christian music. God puts it upon our hearts and we faithfully deliver it to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, we should get wages for the performance and delivery, but not for the song itself. For as said before, we’re not the true owners of it, but God is. Once that song reaches another church body, it’s now theirs to share. So, stop collecting royalties fellow Christians. Could you imagine the negative reaction if Paul the apostle demanded royalties for his letters being read or copied? “Copyright By: Apostle Paul's Apostolic Ministries. Any Duplication or Use without Prior Permission from the Copyright Owner is prohibited by Law.” Thank God that Paul never ended his letters this way. For if he did, there may have been a big portion of the New Testament missing. This is true with the psalms or, for that matter, anywhere in the scriptures. We don't see any copyright notices or any royalties demanded at the end of any of the songs or scriptures except from the publishers of the Bible themselves (which is an evil as well).
Let’s remember what Jesus Himself said to those who were selling things in the temple: “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13) He said this to those who were making money off of the people by selling things that were to be used for religious service. This can be applied to music as will. For if you're making money off the songs itself in which God is the originator, you're taking money for something that doesn’t belong to you, and that would be stealing. “For He also said: Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.’ (John 2:16) We should be demonstrating that our time of gathering should be for worship and praise and not a means for financial gain.
In closing, I would like to say that I do love all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are penning and singing these songs for the sake of the church and the world. I myself love to sing, worship God, as well as listen to the music of my fellow Christian. But please, let’s not mirror how the world operates or does things but let us live our lives as true children of the Light. For Jesus is calling us to come out of the world and be separate. And my prayer is for that.
Putting Lazarus Together
Jesus said: But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)
Saying things that have no real value or meaning would be unfruitful and unproductive. So, when Jesus spoke of the rich man and Lazarus, would he be just throwing out some name without any intent for the listener to eventually discover who that man is? Oh, and let's remember that Jesus is actually mentioning someone by name, this never happens in His parables. Now, please notice that Lazarus both died and was raised from the dead. I do see this being the same person who was laid not only at the rich man’s gate, but who was Marry and Martha’s brother as well. And let’s remember that God is not the author of confusion. So, wouldn’t this be confusing if this was anything less than the same person? I would believe so. Below are a few key scriptures that I've found in God's Word that supports what I’m saying.
Some scripture to consider concerning this:
Entertain Me Please
These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. (Jude 1:16)
After our church quire sang a song in church, I was approached by a friend of mine (who was involved in a secular music group) who told me the song we sang did nothing for her. Though she was a professing Christian, she still missed a very important point. For that song we song was not for our entertainment, but for the glory and praise of God. You see, so many times we come to church with a worldly mentality. Thus, we expect a church to be a place of entertainment instead of a place to worship God. In fact, if you find yourself in a church that's geared toward entertainment, chances are you will come out of there no closer to God than when you first went in. May God help us to come to church only with an attitude to worship and to hear from Him. For a church should be a place to have our ears tickled. For a church that is based on entertainment is a church that is of the world.
Some scripture to consider concerning this:
Following Our Vain Pursuits
He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. (Psalm 147:10-11)
This verse above is so true. So, why do we as humans think that the Almighty God who created us is impressed with our athletic abilities or worldly feats that we do? Come on people he made us, he already knows what we can and can’t do. So when it comes to the Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13), we shouldn’t come to the false conclusion that this can be applied to our athletic abilities, whether one is handicapped or not. Because let’s face it, there are many athletes who are opposed to God’s truth, yet have been successful in one degree or another. And what about those teams that have confessing Christians on both sides who may be praying for a win? So, if God did make a choice, wouldn’t that go against his word which say: For God does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11)?
And just to let you know, I was one of those whose life was wrapped up in competition sports. I was on my High School’s surf team, I played in Racket Ball tournaments, Golf tournament, ping pong matches, tennis matches, played Recreation & Sports hardball, I played football, basketball, had my own pool table and the list goes on. However, I found that all of these are built on competition which is based on pride and arrogance which God.
But when it comes to the opposition, we may receive for sharing the Gospel, only through the strength of God can we endure and have true victory, even if facing persecution and death. That’s what we can do through the strength Christ give us, not some vain athletic skill or victory. And yes, there are many Christian athletes who point to the sky or give statement that give God the glory. However, as said before, even those who are ungodly have been successful just the same, maybe even giving glory to their false gods. And let’s take heed to what the apostle Peter said: And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Peter 1:17-19)
Now, I know that some of you may have watched “Soul Surfer” which was based on the true story of Bethany Hamilton (whom I believe is a sister in Christ) who had her arm bit off by a shark. And yes, many might be inspired by her story of being a successful surfer despite having this bad thing happening to her. And by some of her quotes I’ve read, It appears that Bethany thinks that God allowed this shark attack to help inspire her and others to preserver when bad things happen. However, I am convinced that nothing could be further from the truth. I say this because according to Psalm 147:10-11, 1 Maccabees 1:11-15, 2 Maccabees 2:7-9, 13-15, God takes no delight in our athletic abilities. Therefore, I firmly believe that God allowed this bad thing to happen because she put her vain surfing pursuits before helping others who were in need. Watch the movie and see the way her church youth leader and mom responded when Bethany made a bad choice of choosing surfing over her commitment to go on a mission trip to help others.
Well some may say, “God would never do such a thing to one of his children.” Oh no? Well let’s remember what happened to Moses who was just chosen and commissioned by God to go set the Israelites free from Pharaoh. Along the way to Egypt, God meet Moses in an inn and sought to kill him because he didn’t circumcise his son. And if it wasn’t for his wife Zipporah who took the initiative to cut off her son’s foreskin, Moses could have been dead (Exodus 4:24-26). And let’s not forget the Christian couple Ananias and his wife Sapphira who lied to Peter about some property they sold. They both dropped dead at his feet. So, let’s not put God in our own little theological box but stand on scripture instead.
We must remember that there are people not only in sports, but who are involved in other areas of life who are very successful and yet don’t have a relationship with God. Lance Armstrong who was very successful and may have inspired others said: “If there was a God, I’d still have both nuts.” Then we have the famous Bruce Lee who was asked if he believed in God, in which he said: “To be perfectly frank, I really do not.” And there is the MMA fighter Frank Mir who called religion “the retarded stepchild of philosophy.” And this list goes on and on. So again, brothers and sisters in Christ, the bible verse: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13) has nothing to do with competition sports or any other vain pursuits of this life. Instead it’s all about the strength we receive through Jesus Christ when we’re faced against the ungodly oppositions of this world.
But to make one thing clear, I don't believe that surfing in itself is evil. This would also be true with snow skiing, or anything else that would be fun and enjoyable. It's when we make it competitive that we do error and fall into evil. For competition is built on pride which God hates as His word says: "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18) So, this evil pertains to all competition sports which people do. Please consider some passages below.
Below are some scriptures against competition sports:
It’s a Church, not a Burger King
Do all things without murmurings and disputing’s: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:14-15)
“Hold the pickles hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us, all we ask is that you let us have it your way.” Some of you may remember that little jingle from a Burger King commercial a while back. Simply put, Burger King is saying choose how you want your burger to be made. And though this may sound good for a burger restaurant, it's not really that good for a church. For there is only One who is to have His way in the church, and that's God Himself. But so many times we still bring this mentality into church. For there is nitpicking and complaining about the music, the temperature, the ones who are preaching and so on and so forth, expecting things to be done our way. But if we would just come to church walking in the Spirit and seeking God's will, we would find ourselves in a state of worship, and in prayer, wanting to hear from God instead of having everybody hearing from us.
Wouldn’t it be so nice if the church would just get back to the basics? It’s all about being in love with God and being filled with His Holy Spirit, totally loving Jesus Christ. For it was Jesus who died on the cross for our sins (because all have sinned) and rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father making intersection for us, praise God. So, let’s die to ourselves and pick up our cross and follow Him. Because a church is not a Burger King.
Our Master Craftsman I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalm 139:14)
God is an Awesome Creator, a Master Craftsman. The earth is His canvas, and we are His living artwork on display for all the universe (including us here on earth) to see and marvel at. And not only that, but we are made in His image, with the skills and gifts to build upon what He has already created. So, having said all that, I realize that everything that I see around me is in one form or another, God's artwork. However, we must be careful that we glorify Him in everything we do. Don’t let the works of your hands, or anything else you do, bring glory to yourself or the evil one, but to the One who gave you the ability to express your love for Him in everything you do.
So, to all of us who are painters, sculptors, photographers, home decorators, or whatever craft or skill you may be involved with; just keep doing what you’re doing in a way that's brings glory to God; and let it be your way of showing off his handy work to the world.
Those Filthy Rags
We are all like one who is unclean, all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight. We all wither like a leaf; our sins carry us away like the wind. (Isaiah 64:6)
We as people are inherently evil. The only way we can do any good is by totally yielding ourselves to God. When the crowed asked Jesus: “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” He said: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. (John 6:29). So, we can see from Jesus statement, that all we must (or can) do is believe in Him. And by doing this, we receive God’s Holy Spirit which molds us and shapes us into all that He wants us to be. Anything we try to do on our own is like filthy rags to God (the word “filthy rags” in the Hebrew is in reference to the menstrual rag used by women during their period (Isaiah 64:5-8). So, I think you get the picture.
What’s so Wonderful about the Cross?
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
Reading that passage above, what does the writer of Hebrews has to say concerning our Savior Jesus and the cross in which He bore. Doesn’t it say that “He endured the cross, despising the shame.” Now, what does it mean to “endure” something? Doesn't it mean to put up with something that may be unpleasant or hard to bear? Secondly, what does it mean to despise something? Doesn't it mean to hate or loath that thing.” So, we can see by this passage in Hebrews, that Jesus Himself because of His great love toward us endured the agony, the shame and the mockery that was associated with the cross. The Bible says that he despised it.
So, what should our attitude be in view of the cross? Shouldn't we be totally humbled and be at reverential awe because of what took place on it? So, I ask you fellow Christians, why would we want to sing of our love for the cross. Or just as bad, why would we sing how wonderful, mighty, and awesome it is? People, this is blaspheming. Why are we highly esteeming something Jesus Himself endured and even despised? We should not be exulting and adoring the cross, but only He who endured it for our sake.
Now, let’s not forget what took place in the garden of Gethsemane on the night He was betrayed. For Jesus Himself being in agony, was sweating as it were great drops of blood praying that the Father would, if possible, remove the cup that He was about to drink. And we know that the cross was a part of that which He endured for us. Well you might say, did not Paul say "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?" And I would have to say yes, he did. However, if we read it in its full context, we would see that it's not giving us a license to glorify the cross itself. For Paul is boasting in that which Jesus accomplished on it, for he says: “by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. So, it’s all about what Jesus has done and not the cross in itself.
Something to consider
What if Jesus came to earth in our lifetime or even a few generations ago to give his life a ransom for our sins? What kind of death would he die? Wouldn't it be through a hanging, or an electric chair or even a firing squad? Would you then be singing "Oh the wonderful noose, or “Wonderful electric chair” or even the “Wonderful Firing Squad? Wouldn’t people call you sick and morbid. How much more would the early church call you sick or morbid if they heard you sing, “how I love that old rugged cross” or even worse singing, "Oh the wonderful cross" during a time when they knew how gruesome the cross was. So, I would have to say, rip those songs out of every hymnal and destroy every recording that proclaims these morbid songs. God help us all.
Last of all I would like to say, let us remember the cry of misery that Jesus gave to the Father while hanging there on the cross. For He was forsaken so that you and I can be forgiven and be brought into a right relationship with Father. Amen
More scriptures to consider on this topic:
Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him. (Proverbs 29:20)
This is a sobering passage because it’s so easy for us to say things off the top of our head. For there are so many people who have spoken in hast and may have regretted it afterwards. Such a one that comes to mind is our beloved Pastor Chuck Smith who was over a very large church that I was a part of. For he said during one of his sermons (labeled the “Rest”), why panic and cry out “why me Lord” when the doctor tells you it’s cancer. Then he said something that I believe that he shouldn’t have said. For he said that he would say, “hmm cancer, an interesting way to go.”
And after I heard him say this, I thought on all those in his congregation who were or may know someone who is suffering with cancer. The radiation treatments, the chemotherapy and the withering away of one’s body. No people, cancer IS NOT an interesting way to go. In fact, it’s a horrible way to go. And sure enough down the road, Chuck Smith suffered and died by coming down with lung cancer though he never smoked a day in his life.
There is another Pastor that spoke hastily and that would be Frank Pastore who was a radio talk host. For while discussing the immortality of the soul on the air, he brought up a hypothetical scenario saying: “I mean look, you guys know I ride a motorcycle don’t you? So, at any moment, especially with the idiot people who cross the diamond lane into my lane, all right, without any blinkers – not that I’m angry about it – at any minute I could be spread all over the 210, but that’s not me, that’s my body parts.” And unfortunately that evening he sustained injuries when his motorcycle was sideswiped by a car in the carpool lane on the 210 freeway.
Now, there are those who claim that he was prophesying his death. But nothing could be further from the truth. I say this because he didn’t die that night nor was his body parts scattered over the 210 freeway. For he died almost a month later while being in a coma. Therefore, this was not a prophecy people. We must realize that God allows us to eat our careless words to show us and others, that we must watch what we say by keeping a guard over our mouths. For let’s take heed to what God’s word says: “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (Proverbs 18:21 NLT)
And yes, brothers and sister in Christ, I to spoke hastily at one point in my life which I do regret to this day. For when I was playing the vain sport of Racquetball years ago, I made a comment to a couple of guys that my partner and I were getting ready to play against. For I carelessly said to them something of this manner: “you are going to regret playing against us tonight.” And sure enough my partner hit a ball that landed in the eye of one on the opposing team. The impact busted his eye open, shattering his glass contact lenses into his eyeball. We took him to the hospital that night and I never seen nor heard of him again. I ate my hasty words. God forgive me. Amen
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)