Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

Religion says do, but Jesus says done.  This is a very cool spoken word video by Jefferson Bethke written to show the difference between Jesus and religion. In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of His day. At the core Jesus’ gospel and the good news of the Cross stand in complete opposition to self-righteousness and self-justification. Religion is man-centered – Jesus is God-centered. Salvation is by the grace of God, not by any work you or I could perform.  Our saving is by His grace, for His glory (Ephesians 2:8).  This poem highlights Bethke’s journey to discover this truth.

There is nothing like the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers, and there is nothing better than knowing you can rest in Him.  In the video below, Bethke unpacks his purpose in writing Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus.  This was one of the first pieces that truly opened my eyes as a new believer.

Jefferson Bethke’s book Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better Than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough comes out October 8, 2013.  Preorder Here: http://ow.ly/jNA68

 

Jesus Does the Harlem Shake?

Mind equals blown.  This is must see.  In an attempt to appeal to local youths, C3 Church in San Diego decided to make their Youth Ministry more appealing to newcomers by trying on something worldly…bringing Jesus down from the cross to bust out the Harlem Shake.

Al B, the inventor of the Harlem Shake is quoted saying that the dance is “a drunken shake…it’s an alcoholic shake, but it’s fantastic, everybody appreciates it.” He said it comes from the ancient Egyptians and describes it as what the mummies used to do.  Pretty hard to align that with scripture.

The Founder of C3 Church, Phil Pringle, had this to say to the C3 congregation in San Diego:  “DON’T you DARE criticize and pull down your pastor or anybody else around here! If you want to do that, just go now! We’re having too much fun to have the critics and the miserable people around!”

Note the opening words of the song…”Con Los Terroristas”…translated to English says…”With the Terrorists.”  I guess nobody bothered to research the song they chose to represent their youth group.  Discernment is each Christian’s responsibility, as it is also the responsibility of the entire church body as a whole to teach and rebuke brothers and sisters so that we all may learn and grow and walk in humble righteousness with our LORD.  Scripture says, better is open rebuke than hidden love (Proverbs 27:5), and, as for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all (1 Timothy 5:20).  Jesus said, “If he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a heathen man and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:17)”  It seems discernment pretty well went out the window here, and more troubling is that this is a growing trend among many new churches…tossing sound biblical teaching out the window in exchange for entertainment that will draw a crowd.  Ultimately we must discern what is good by asking ourselves the simple question, “Does this glorify God?”  It is important that we encourage our brothers and sisters to deny worldly acts, and unify the body of Christ in a way that represents Him with love and respect.  Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children (Ephesians 5:1).

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[c]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

National Day of Prayer…A Call to Action

This Thursday, May 2, is National Day of Prayer.  The purpose is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in the culture.  A nation coming together in prayer is powerful, biblical, and is one of the ways we can come together as the body of Christ to honor the LORD.  Many times in the Bible when a nation was in judgment, The LORD relented when the nation came together in repentance and sought Him.  Our nation is facing pivotal challenges in the battle for Christian morality, the battle against atheism and Christian apathy, and the growing oppression of religious free speech.  Let us come together in prayer to ask that God would continue to bless our country. 

The Lord desires we seek Him… 
 
Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools…24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the created rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
 
We can see the evidence of this in our nation today.  One way God punishes people’s disobedience is by turning away and leaving us to pursue our own sinful desires, letting us reap the consequences of our actions.

Romans 1 cont. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

The above mentioned iniquities have been increasingly afflicting our nation in recent years.  Note the last line, in the name of tolerance and acceptance we are increasingly supportive of what the Bible outlines as sinful acts.  In some cases our political leaders, and some in the church are even fighting for them.  Additionally the media continues to offer more and more support to terrorists and public shooters by offering them the fame they desire in the national news.  We further fuel this with our viewership. 

God desires we come together in prayer and repentance…

Here is what Christ says in Luke 11…
29 When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. 30 For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.  32 The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.
 

The sign of Jonah, Jonah chapter 3…
 
3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city,[a] three days’ journey in breadth.[b] 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.

 

Nineveh

6 The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7 And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, 8 but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”

The King of Nineveh repents

10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

This generation, the age of the Christians, has received the sign of Jonah…we have been told how we are to serve the LORD.  For our government to know and believe, we the people must first demonstrate that we believe…as the Ninevites did.

Thursday night The Merrell Center in Katy will be hosting a prayer event. http://www.ndpwesthouston.org/.  I strongly encourage all to attend, or to find an event in your area!  This is a pivotal time in the future of our nation!  I love you all and hope to be praying alongside you this Thursday!

Pilgrim’s Progress

The Pilgrim’s Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come is a Christian allegory written by Puritan author John Bunyan in 1678. Bunyan had little education, but his novel is regarded as one of the most significant works of Christian Literature.  Pilgrim’s Progress is the second most popular book of all time (#1 being the Bible).  The story follows the journey a Christian goes through on the path to deliverance.  Below is the modern movie adaptation released in 2008.

Bunyan wrote this novel based on a dream he had while imprisoned for holding religious services outside of the Church of England.  The Church of England along with the Roman Catholic Church spent many years oppressing and executing Protestant Christian Reformers who sought to separate the government rule from the church, reform unbiblical traditions and church doctrines, and make the Bible available to every man to read.

Who Needs the Old Testament?

The short answer…YOU.  Probably more than you realize.

Just like man cannot live on bread alone, Christians seeking to know the LORD cannot live on the New Testament alone.  “Man does not live on bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that comes from the mouth of God.”   And how convenient is it then that, to my point, Jesus, here in Matthew 4:4, actually quotes the Old Testament scripture Deuteronomy 8:3.  Living under New Covenant Grace, the promise of salvation through faith in Christ, something that is often overlooked by Christians is that Christ’s Church does not stand without the building blocks of the Old Testament.  Together, we believers are His house, built on the foundation interlocking the apostles (New Testament), and the prophets (Old Testament). And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. (Ephesians 2:20)

Not convinced yet?  The New Testament contains 352 direct quotations, 613 allusions, and 4,105 passages reminiscent of Old Testament scripture.  More than 10% of the New Testament is made up of Old Testament Scripture. (bible-researcher.com)  This is all the more impressive when one considers that copies of the Old Testament were scarce at this time, and the majority of the New Testament teachings, those predominantly quoting the Old Testament, come from a walking rabbi, a man writing letters from prison, and a man exiled to live alone in an island cave.  Of course we know all Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16) so it should make sense that it is cohesive.

For what it’s worth, I will add there are 0 New Testament references to the Inter-testament Apocrypha which claims itself not to be the inspired Word of God, but remains in the Catholic Bible.

So why can’t we just stick to the New Testament if it already contains the important parts of the Old Testament?  Let’s be straight…the New Testament references the Old Testament, it does not tell the story, nor capture the message of the Old Testament on its own.  I’d go so far as to say that the New Testament references the Old Testament so frequently that it is not possible to fully interpret or capture the real depth of what is being said in the New Testament without knowing the citations being referenced.  Not knowing the context surrounding these quotations removes a great deal of the vitality from the points being made in the New Testament scripture.  Further, by not reading the Old Testament we cannot truly grasp the bigger picture at work in the Bible…the upper story…God’s plan for man playing out from Genesis to Revelation.  When we understand the relationship rightly between the Old and New Testaments we see that God is unchanging. He is a God of love, working a master-plan through a contiguous series of covenants each building on the previous…executing a flawless and cohesive blueprint to develop a remnant of glorified people with which to share eternity….all for His pleasure and His glory.

The general principles at the heart of each of the covenants apply to all God’s elect, those living both before and after Christ, and Christ is the focal point of the plan that is God’s redemption story.  The ancient Israelites, and all Old Testament scripture, point forward in time alluding directly to Jesus Christ.  Examples:  Moses is symbolically tied to Jesus in such a wealth of ways it requires another post (see Moses points to Jesus post below).  The Passover lamb is an allusion to Jesus as both were sacrificed during Passover (Easter) for atonement for sin. The Israelites applied the blood of the Passover lamb to the door frames of their homes, and in so doing received protection against the angel of death. 40 years later, Rahab the prostitute, a gentile from Jericho who expressed faith in the God of Israel and aided the Jews in the planning of their conquest of her city, was symbolically given a scarlet cord to hang from the window frame of her home so that her family would be passed over as the Jews slayed every man, woman, and child of Jericho.  This was symbolic of the lambs blood at Passover, and both Rahab’s chord and the blood of the pass over lamb allude to the blood of the sacrificed Christ that God uses to paint the door frames of each believer’s heart to protect us from eternal death.

Another wonderful allegory of the Old Testament is the story of David and Goliath.  In this story we are not, as many wrongly fantasize, David standing up to our fears and oppressors defeating Goliath…No, in this story, David is not you or I, but he is Jesus, the meek and humble shepherd.  Goliath is Satan.  And you and I?  We are the nation of Israel, scared, frightened, facing imminent death at the hands of our enemy.  No match for Goliath, no match for the devil, but then, saved by our unassuming King.  The Old Testament is full of these allegorical allusions.  Just read the story of Abraham, who at the LORD’s instruction, goes to sacrifice his son, believing the LORD has the power to raise his son from death. (Hebrews 11:19) Upon his acting in faith, an angel stops Abraham, at which point Abraham does, in a way, receive his son back from death.   The many parallel events and prophecies of the Old Testament specifically demonstrate the hand of God at work in every event, and indicate there is a savior coming.

So, I’ve established the Old Testament’s tie to Christ.  Now also see that conversely, New Covenant Age Christians point back to the old covenants.  The LORD, the God of Abraham, has brought us into the Abrahamic Covenant, into His spiritual family.  We are now the spiritual children of Abraham.  The people God promised would be as many as sands of the sea who would worship Him.  Despite the old covenants being made specifically with the Israelites, the Gentiles have been grafted into the church of God’s elect…the spiritual nation of Israel, which contains both the pre-Christ Jews and the Christians after Christ (Romans 11).

In the Old Testament, Moses was given the Mosaic Covenant…The Law.  He was also given very specific instruction for building a Tabernacle where sacrifices would be made and where God would reside amongst His people.  Hebrews 8:5 tells us specifically that the instructions for the Tabernacle and the furniture within it are a shadow of the things of heaven.  Also, in the same way the LORD gave Moses The Law and appointed High Priests to offer gifts and sacrifices to atone for the peoples’ sin.  This too was a shadow of the heavenly law, and the way sin is handled by God.  In the New Testament, when Jesus came, His ministry professed the true Heavenly Law, and Jesus became God’s heavenly sacrifice on the altar.  In sacrificing His son, God created a New Covenant, the New Testament, in which He now impresses the knowledge of Himself and His laws onto the hearts and minds of His chosen people (by way of the Holy Spirit).  In Romans chapters 9 and 10 the Apostle Paul tells us that just as God elected his chosen people in the Old Testament, in order that His purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls, God calls his elect to follow Christ.   And by the sacrifice of Christ, His heavenly lamb, all sins past, present, and future are forgiven.   By impressing His laws on our hearts and minds, the regenerated Christian’s heart bears the fruits of The Spirit.  And while we are still sinful and repentant people, undergoing a progressive process of sanctification, the intent of our hearts is always to keep Christ’s Commands, and Christ’s Commands adhere to, and further go beyond, the principle intent of the Mosaic Law and the 10 Commandments given to the Israelites.

Hopefully this has helped you see that both the Old and New Testaments depend heavily on each other to make one complete faith…a work of many parts that all point directly to Christ.  When we follow the common thread woven through the Old and New Testament we see God’s word sewn together in one cohesive plan, unfolding exactly as it was developed from the creation of the world.  God has always chosen and granted salvation to His elect, and has always punished the wicked.  The names of God’s chosen were always written in the book of life, and the lamb was slain from the creation of the world (Revelation 13:8) because God knew the end from the beginning.  We see God is every bit the omnipotent, all sovereign, powerful and eternal God that His Word says he is.  It becomes undeniably clear He knew each event from the start.  He devised a perfect and complete plan, and then breathed the entire plan through the pens of many hands.  Thus He has given us a masterfully developed book by which anyone who  inquires with all their heart will receive the answers they seek (Jeremiah 29:13).  So don’t neglect the Old Testament…we can never fully know where we’re going if we don’t know where we’ve come from.

By:  Chad W. Hussey By:  Chad W. Hussey

Moses Points to Jesus

Moses was the most important person in the Jewish faith until the arrival of Christ.  Below I will lay out a good portion of the similarities of Moses and Christ, and why the parallels are important to see.

Moses points to Jesus
Hebrews 3:5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,”[a] bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.

Moses frees the Israelites.

Moses born an Israelite = Jesus born an Israelite
Moses spends his childhood in Egypt = Jesus spends His childhood in Egypt
Moses fled from the king who wanted to kill him as a baby = Jesus fled King Herod to Egypt as a baby
Moses born under foreign dominion by Egypt = Jesus born under foreign dominion by Rome
Moses was adopted = Jesus was adopted
Moses stepped down from royalty to be an Israelite = Jesus was lowered from heaven to an Israelite

Moses spends 40 days on Mount Sinai preparing to deliver The Law = Jesus Spends 40 days in the desert preparing to deliver the Heavenly Law

Moses spends 40 years in the desert = Jesus spends 40 days in the desert
Moses was a shepherd = John ch 10 Jesus calls himself the great shepherd
Moses called to free Israelites from Bondage = Jesus frees us from bondage of sin
Moses performs Miracles = Jesus Performs Miracles
Moses first miracle shows dominion over the snake (his staff) = Jesus first miracle he shows dominion over the devil (snake), not succumbing to temptation
Moses heals his leprous hand = Jesus heals leprosy
Moses’ plagues = Jesus plagues of Revelation
water to blood = Revelation 16:3, frogs=Rev 16:13, boils= Rev 16:2, hail=Rev 16:21, locusts= Rev 9:1, darkness = Rev 16:10, angel of death = Rev 6:7
Jesus chose the passover meal for the Last Supper
Passover blood of lamb saves Israelites = Blood of the lamb christ saves God’s believers
Blood on the door frame seals protection = Christ blood is painted on the door frame of believers hearts for our protection
Red Sea parts and people access God’s holy land = Temple curtain torn and people given access to the Holy of Holy’s
People get to the other side of the red sea and sing the song of Moses = Revelation 15:2 a sea of fire by which all the people of God stand by victorious and sing the song of Moses
Moses gives the people clean water = Jesus is the living water
Moses gives them Manna, bread from heaven = Jesus is the bread from Heaven, the true Manna
Moses goes to the mountain to the get the law = Jesus gives a new law in the sermon on the Mount
People try to stone Moses in Exodus 17 = People try to stone Jesus in John 8
Moses picks 12 men to go search the Holy land = Jesus picks 12 Apostles
Moses picks 70 leaders = Jesus sends out the 70
Israelites can’t go to the promise land until Moses dies = Christians couldn’t go to our promised land without the death of Christ
Moses left Joshua to lead the people = Jesus left the Holy Spirit to lead His people
Moses people were sealed = Jesus’ people will be sealed…Exodus 13:16  And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.” = Revelation 7:3  “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

Jesus frees sinners.

Now that we have established a parallel of the two men  We can parallel the Exodus stories.  As the bible is one big story of little stories that repeat over and over, The Exodus story is the prime example of what the new Exodus (the end times/Revelation) will look like.  Jesus is our Moses who will bring plagues upon the world (in Revelation 16), free us from the bondage of sin, lead us wandering in the desert of life so that we can learn the necessary sanctifying lessons of glorification, and take us through the great sea that looks like sure doom (tribulation) and into our Promised Land in eternity.

You see…Moses was the Jews deliver, and Jesus is ours.

 

Chad W. Hussey is an average Jesus loving iconoclastic non-conformist neighborhood hope dealer – a husband, father, urban missionary, community group leader, Master of Divinity student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Community Life Intern at Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY.

Chad W. Hussey

Jesus Said Love, but God Hates…Contradiction?

I was recently asked the following…”I would like to know your thoughts on something. Jesus and God are of the same nature, but Jesus said love everyone, but the Bible says God hates. Jesus says love your enemy. God says Jacob I loved but Esau I hated.  Is this a contradiction? This is not a trick question. I have always thought because of Jesus quote I was not to hate.”

Fantastic Question!

A few things….I will try to present these thoughts in such a way that will make a coherent, cohesive explanation.  First I think we need to be mindful of how we interpret the word hate.  It is always wise to find the word in question as it is used in other places in scripture to study the context and get a clearer definition.  Jesus actually uses the word hate here…

Luke 14:26 (NIV) 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

I think we can pretty clearly deduce here that if we are to love our neighbors, that we are also to love our blood relatives.  But we must “deny” (hate) them, and ourselves, the type of love we share with Christ.  Hence, the juxtaposition…Jacob I loved and Esau I hated (this hate “denied” Esau the love that God shares with His saved children).

This love God and believers share is “covenant love,” and this is the love that saves.
And of course, whether we believe in free will or in faith by grace, we can all agree that God will “deny” those lacking faith in Christ, His covenant love.

So we see there are different types of love and hate…clearly in our following Christ he doesn’t want us to hate our parents, wife, or children in a damning way (as God hated Esau)…or to begrudge them, as we might define hate. We also can not save our neighbors by offering them “covenant love.”  That kind of love is something only God can offer, and hopefully we all agree it is not the preacher who saves the man, but God.  A good preacher knows he is merely the tool that God uses to gather souls to Him, and no man can save themselves or another man by their own works (Ephesians 2:8).  Further, when we see “God hates the wicked.”  It may not necessarily mean hate in the sense that you and I imagine it in common vernacular (angry, raging, begrudging, or murderous), but rather hate is the antonym to covenant love.  It is the absence of covenant love, the hate we see here damns the lost.

Of course, I could have just said, to love or to hate…to save, or to condemn is all God’s sovereign choice, and the created is not to question the decisions of the creator (Romans 9:21), but we also need to understand that Jesus never said not to hate.  As we see above…he did tell us to hate…we just have to understand His meaning.

I hope that’s helpful.

By:  Chad W. Hussey By:  Chad W. Hussey

Jesus Wants the Rose

Life has a way of corrupting us.  I post this because it speaks to me…

I was that rose. In every way. Completely corrupted. It is such a joy to serve a God who is so patient and loving, and that actually, in His mercy, desires to sanctify me, equip me, and use me to represent Him. I am so humbled I hardly feel worthy…and yet he calls me.

Luke 5 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

John 8 11 And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

Luke 5 30 But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

 

Pursuing Knowledge…and Wisdom from Fear

Jesus said love. He also said, “Do you love me? Then feed my sheep. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.

I was recently in a Bible study where the pursuit of knowledge (in God’s Word) was called into question as if it was an unjust, or misguided pursuit. It was painted in some way negative or less than paramount.
The basis, being that Jesus commanded us to love, and our loving others, by our actions, should take precedent over the pursuit of His Word, or the teaching of the actual meaning of His Word.

While Love is of the highest importance, before we can actually share Christian Love, we must understand what Christian Love is. We must also recognize that the transformation of the heart comes not by our own efforts but by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. A work that occurs in us by our engagement in scripture. The Holy Spirit blesses each of us in different ways and at this time I feel it appropriate to defend what the Apostle Paul calls the Holy Spirit’s Gift of Knowledge (1 Corinthians 12).

Below are some…not all…examples of why we should fear the Lord, and why it should drive our unquenchable thirst for knowledge of the Word. Some, believe the word “fear” in the Bible is meant to be interpreted as respect. Let me preface, that I will agree with you if your respect is so emotionally stirring that it causes trembling (Phillipians 2:12, 1 Corinthians 7:15), and you are cognizant of the words of Christ, “Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell.” (Luke 12:5) Personally, for me, that evokes fear in the literal sense.

So, why should we be obsessed with correct understanding of the Word, and why should we uphold the Word’s proper interpretation relentlessly.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Job 28:28 And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”

Luke 12:4 Christ said: I tell you my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more, but I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who after your body has been killed, has the authority to throw you into hell.

Leviticus 19:17 “‘Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt.

Proverbs 28:23 Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.

Luke 12:8 “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. 9 But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God.

Leviticus 5:1 “‘If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.

Proverbs 15:14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.6 Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

1 Corinthians 12:4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Matthew 4:4 4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[a]”

In the beginning was The Word and the word was God. The word of God is our life blood. It is how the Lord communicates to us. If knowledge of the Word is not my gift of the spirit, then it is unquestionably my passion. It burns inside me beyond my control. I would never deny this precious gift, for any man for any reason, nor would i ever attempt to control it lest I deny the work God has laid before me to walk in. The Bible is the Word of God. Every word of it.  It is not to be added to, or we will be proven liars. It is not to be tampered with or distorted. This is why we must know it and understand it rightly, and lean not on our own understanding…for there is no knowledge or wisdom that comes from man. Wisdom and knowledge begin with God. We do not love, but hate anyone we don’t share The Word with. This is why we must preach, why we must teach, and why we must correct incorrect doctrine. The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray. The bible says that no action of our own and no convincing of man’s own will lead anyone to Christ, but we are to preach the Truth and it will be received by those hearts the Lord has prepared for its receiving, by his grace, by his sovereign will. Salvation is by no works of man so no man may boast. All glory in the saving of souls is God’s. We are just the vessels He is filling to be used as the vehicle for the delivery of His word by His will. If we love people it can not be by tolerance, by which we actually betray them, but by presentation of the one who IS love to them, Christ. To do this, we must rightly know Him, and listen to Him…He is the Word. Further, we have learned about Him, and it is a sin not to testify to what we know. There are many charges the world makes against Him…some charge Him a blasphemer, atheists charge Him a liar. It is not a good enough excuse to be scared. It is not a good enough excuse to be politically correct, or lovingly accepting of everyone. If you love someone with Christian love, you will present the gospel to them in hopes they will receive it and be saved from eternity in hell…you would not support them in their march toward damnation. Christ said man is not the one to be feared, but God…just go, just preach. And when you do, do so correctly. Timothy, Titus, James, and Peter all teach that any teaching that is not sound in doctrine would be better left not done at all. To teach properly we must know the Word. Incorrect doctrine confuses faith. Jesus commands we teach His Word…and those who teach will be judged more strictly. By fear of the Lord we should find the pursuit of knowledge of God’s Word to not only be just, but paramount to our walk in faith and to the application of our love as Christians.

By:  Chad W. Hussey By:  Chad W. Hussey

God Appoints Political Leaders

There is a raging debate of late over whether or not it is right to pay taxes or submit to political powers that do not support Christian ideologies.  The Bible does fairly well to address this topic directly.

At the time Christ was on earth, Rome ruled the known world from England to India, and the nation of Israel was captive to Rome.  To financially support  the standing army necessary to control the Jews, taxes were 70 to 80% of the annual income of the average Jewish household.  The Jews and Romans definitely did not share the same beliefs or virtues.

The Jews expected their Messiah to be a powerful king who would militarily throw off the oppressive rule of Rome and free the nation of Israel.  But, when asked whether or not his followers should submit to Roman authority and pay taxes to this unjust government, Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and render unto God what is God’s.”

Why does Jesus say this?  Christians are a people not of this world.  We are people of the kingdom of God.  God’s call is a call for the submission of our hearts to Him, and the denial of the importance of the things of this world.  Christ has tasked us, as His followers, to fight a spiritual battle, through discipleship.  Our faith is not a call to rebel and fight, but a call to unite and spread His Word.  Very little is necessary for us to achieve God’s purpose for our lives (relationship with Him and spreading of His Word).  God is a God of justice and saving grace, and he is our deliverer.  He is working on a grand plan, all of which is laid out in detail from the beginning to the end in the Bible.  We can see His plan coming to fruition as prophecy is continuously fulfilled.  When we are obedient and put our dependence on God, in His time, according to His purpose, He always delivers.  Christ did not lead a Jewish rebellion against Rome, rather, He submitted to their authority and allowed them to crucify Him.  After the crucifixion of Christ, the Jewish temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were driven out from Israel across the world.  But, because of his crucifixion, the sins of God’s elect became atoned.  And because of the wonder of the resurrection, and the dedication (to death) of Christ’s followers, the Christian faith exploded.  Today, the Roman Empire is long gone, but the Kingdom of Christ spans the globe.  Christ’s teaching is incredibly counter-intuitive to our human instincts, but is proven righteous, and God has a plan for our redemption.

Here is what the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 13:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

The power ordained to all rulers of the world is by God, and is vital for His purpose in His story (the redemption of man from sin and the gathering of His children back to Him, as laid out from Genesis to Revelation).  We must have Faith in God’s plan.

If you enjoyed this post you might also appreciate my article To Christian Exiles in Babylon on the application of Jeremiah’s ‘Letter to the Exiles’ to Christian living and approaching culture today.

Chad W. Hussey is an average Jesus loving iconoclastic non-conformist neighborhood hope dealer – a husband, father, urban missionary, community group leader, and theology student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

Chad W. Hussey

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Prosperity Gospel Fiction and God’s True Deliverance

Unfortunately for prosperity gospel fans I have some bad news.  God does not always free the oppressed on earth.  God does not always remove every obstacle from our path, and his promise to believers certailinly isn’t earthly wealth.  Demanding God remove all obstacles or deliver us from all earthly oppression as a requirement of our faith is egregious Idolatry of the things of the world and of our earthly existence.

Christ’s offered deliverance in the Bible is eternal life.  This is central to the understanding of God’s plan for the deliverance and the glorification of our souls.  If it was God’s intention to free oppressed peoples on earth, he would not have let the greatest prophet of the Old Testament, Isaiah, be sawn in half.  He would not have left John, the Baptist, the most righteous man ever to live (prior to Christ), in prison to be beheaded.  He would not have had the holiest men left on earth after Christ, (the Apostles) put to violent deaths….executed by crucifixion and beheaded defending their beliefs to the very end.  The apostles confidence in what they had witnessed was so strong, and their belief in the resurrection so powerful, that they confidently walked into death in an expression of utmost conviction to Christ, all for the glory of God.  If His plan were an earthly prosperity, God would not have let nearly every great Protestant Reform leader and nearly every translator who attempted to make the Bible accessible to the common man, be burnt at the stake or slain at the hands of the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches.  He wouldn’t have let hundreds of thousands of Protestants be murdered by their oppressive theocratic rulers in the 16th and 17th centuries – all for trying to remove government rule from the Church.  These are God’s people…the ones most closely aligned with His plan.  Not set free from bondage, put to death.  Man’s purpose is to glorify God, and the conviction of these men – to the death, is the supreme demonstration of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  These men all recognized God’s plan is not the deliverance of His people in the earthly realm, but rather, His call is for us to put to death the earthly desires within our hearts and seek Him.  His grace is sufficient.  Deliverance comes through death to self and life in the eternal salvation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  If you’re looking for the temporal, earthly things God can provide you, your eyes are on the wrong prize.  Set your anchor beyond the clouds (Hebrews 6:19) and you will be provided a peace that transcends all understanding (Phillipians 4:7).

By:  Chad W. Hussey By:  Chad W. Hussey

The Passion of the Christ

The Passion of the Christ is a 2004 film directed by Mel Gibson and starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus.  Arguably (easily, IMO) the most well produced and accurate Hollywood Jesus movie ever made.  It rocks!!!

One of the few subtitled movies I will watch over and over…it was originally not intended to have subtitles at all!  It’s that powerful.  Mel Gibson may have stumbled (we all do!), but he deserves major props for this inspired work.