A secular society, Satan’s society, deceives people into believing they are free thinking and compassionate when, in fact, they are the ones putting people into bondage because if you differ in your opinion you are labeled a danger to society. There is no free thinking or standard of right and wrong. All wrong is good and all good is wrong. Scripture clearly warns us of this issue even among those who say they are followers of Christ. They will choose to select what they will follow and discard the rest. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,” (2 Timothy 4:3) Let us also heed another warning, “For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit.” (Luke 6:43) “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.” (Matthew 12:33 emphasis mine) Need a summary for these verses? “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” (Luke 11:23, Matthew 12:30 emphasis mine) We do not need to read very far into the Scriptures to see this very truth. All of the adult Israelites, except for Joshua and Caleb, who Moses lead out of Egypt died in the desert and would never see God’s Kingdom. Their hearts were hardened and even when they said they would be obedient they could not because their hearts did not have the love for God nor have a relationship with Him. Theirs is a good example for us to study and allow the Holy Spirit to examine our lives to see if there is any parallel to our way of thinking that may be leading us into deception. This is exactly what is happening in our society today and unless one is willing to seek God and His truth alone, we too will become stiff necked and turn our hearts away from God’s Holy Word.
I highly encourage you to read Exodus 19 and 20. I am just going to pull out the verses that, hopefully, will draw you to search out the text for yourself. The Israelites response to God’s presence revealed their hearts. When the Israelites arrived in Sinai, Moses went up into the mountain to meet with God. Listen to these words from the Lord to Moses for the people, “Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” (Exodus 19:3-6 emphasis mine) God then instructed Moses to go down and have the people consecrate themselves and on the third day He would come down on Mount Sinai before all the people. “So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.” (Exodus 19:16)
God descended and gave the children of Israel the Ten Commandments. Have you actually read the Ten Commandments lately? They have become a great political debate because Satan has waged a great battle against the Lord. It is important that we look at them together. “Then God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.’” (Exodus 20:1-17 emphasis mine)
What do you notice about these commandments? Why are they so controversial? Why do those who call themselves believers have such a hard time aligning with them? Because of sin (which we are born with) there is an oppositional spirit in us. Unfortunately we do not understand that our rebellion against God puts us into alignment with Satan. Notice the first words the Lord spoke? ‘I am the LORD your God,...’ He also reminds them that He is the One who brought them out of the land of slavery. (Each one who has received salvation has been delivered from sin and slavery. They cannot be “saved” and not changed. ”Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) “and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—” (Colossians 3:10)) While they may have been grateful to some extent we must remember that as soon as they were out, and all the Egyptians were drowned and no longer a threat to them, they began complaining about how much better it had been in Egypt! Sin has corrupted our minds (just as it had the Israelites) and without submission to God we are always going to be opposing His will for our lives. God also distinguishes those who will receive His blessings. These commandments are for His people, those who are called by His Name, those who are in a personal and intimate relationship with Him, walking in obedience. Walking in obedience means that we are in agreement with ALL that God has commanded, not some...ALL! While we may fall short at times, our heart’s desire is for Him and to please Him, to be a vessel for His glory. Picking and choosing what we want to believe from the Scriptures is not an option. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
“All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die.’” (Exodus 20:18-19 emphasis mine) In other words, “we don’t want a personal relationship with God but if you tell us what he’s said to you, we’re willing to try and do it”! They couldn’t hear God’s love for them and that He had set these things before them to protect them and teach them love for each other. They heard “rules”. They saw that God was almighty (but not Almighty) and distanced themselves instead of drawing near. My dear friends, this is what has happened to the church today. The people have chosen to follow man instead of the true Word of God. They have become political instead of prayerful and obedient.
It is noteworthy to understand that the Israelites were traveling in a land of people who worshipped other gods and most were more interested in fighting them than making peace with them. They constantly encountered resistance but as long as they were obedient to the Lord He was their defender and defeated all their enemies. It was only when they were disobedient that they lost a battle. This is where we are today. How do you respond to God’s commands? We have just landed on a very important topic that the Lord wants us to meditate on to receive understanding! Remember this Scripture quoted above? “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters.” (Luke 11:23, Matthew 12:30 emphasis mine) Which are you?
The Romans were in political power when Jesus was on earth in His ministry. He did not take a stance against them. No, He dealt with the sin of the people who had set themselves as representatives of His Kingdom. He exposed the sin within the body of believers and told us to obey those in authority over us. He did not say to agree with the evil ways but to keep our focus on God. If there is an area you aren’t sure of, pray, ask the Lord for clarification and then listen for His response. Continuously be in the Word that He can speak to you through it. He will answer! “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26)
In God’s plan there is an order and that order began with love of the Father. Without His love in our lives we are lost. We have studied creation of both the earth and man but we have not spent much time in studying God’s creation of law and order for our lives. Yes, we have studied surrender and obedience but we always come to a crossroad where without the full trust and love for Jesus Christ that we will choose the easiest path for ourselves regardless of what Scripture says. We have examples all through the Word and have studied many of them. One such man was the Apostle Peter. He was given the revelation that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God! He declared he would die for and with Jesus! But when the time came and he was tested, he failed, he failed miserably. I’m so glad that God’s grace doesn’t end there. Peter was restored by the love of Christ as He spoke into his life and loved him to walk him through the pain. Without the encounter of Peter and Jesus on the beach in Galilee, Peter would not have fulfilled the plan God had for his life. (John 21:15-17) It is only through a personal encounter with Jesus Christ can we be set free! Peter learned a very important lesson that day that he would never forget.
The Apostle Paul summed up this battle for us, “but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.” (Romans 7:23) He recognized the battle within our souls and the difficulty to choose rightly. We actually cannot choose rightly without the Lord directing our thoughts and or actions. We can “do what we deem to be good” but it is a subjective action; it may not be “good” in God’s eyes. But Paul also knew the truth of how to be set free! “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)
Once sin entered the world it spread rapidly and the sins rapidly became more violent because without repentance there is no cleansing of our souls. A good example is garbage. Before it became garbage it was a useful product but once it was used the remnants of that item became rancid and began to create an awful smell or stench. Someone has to remove that garbage and cleanse the area for it to again become clean. That is a good picture of our souls!
Since this is being written before Passover let’s take a look at the distinction God made between His chosen, the Israelites, and any others who had chosen to depart Egypt with them. “The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it; but every man’s slave purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat of it. A sojourner or a hired servant shall not eat of it. It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it. All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this. But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it. The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you.’” (Exodus 12:43-49)
In today’s society the Passover is not of major significance to most believers, They might recognize “Good Friday” but Sunday is all about the Easter bunny and an Easter basket, maybe attend a church service and have a family dinner. Jesus was the Passover Lamb! Most who say they are believers cannot even connect these events. And, therefore, even believers are celebrating a secular holiday but trying to dress it up a bit possibly. Can you see the problem? Are you beginning to understand a bit of how we got to this place so quickly?
Church leaders have fallen into a false deception that they need to look like the world, act like the world and invite the world to celebrate with them in their activities. However, what has happened is that the church ended up taking the ways of the secular society and losing the precious gift of the gospel that saves. The gospel is different from anything the world has to offer! It cannot be watered down and be effective because it is then only partial truth. Let me ask you a couple of questions. Does your church recognize Santa Claus? Does he show up at the church Christmas party and hand out gifts? Do you have a Harvest Festival? Does your church have an Easter Egg Hunt?
Does your church teach that you are not to judge others and others do not have the right to judge you? There is a verse of Scripture that I rarely hear ever taught, and the subject has been coming up quite frequently lately. What do you do with this Scripture? “But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.” (1 Corinthians 11:31) In the Epistle of James he brings further light upon this subject, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:23-25) In other words, if we live according to God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will be active and bring conviction upon us when we step out of His will. Upon conviction we repent because we do not want to hurt the One we love and desire to get back into proper alignment with Him. Can you even imagine how that blesses God? Is that even important to you? If not, please take time to sit awhile with our Lord and Savior and allow Him to begin bringing light and life into your heart!
Let me clarify something before we go any further. God’s laws or Torah Law was never meant to redeem a person or give them salvation. Salvation has always been through faith in God. “and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,’ and he was called the friend of God.” (James 2:23) But God set an order for us to obey which was for our own good and protection. Our response to His direction is either obedience or disobedience. Obedience without a relationship is an empty action, it creates resentment and hatred, it is sin, just as disobedience is sin. I am always reminded of the words of the Prophet Samuel to King Saul, “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.’” (1 Samuel 15:22-23 emphasis mine)
Please understand that all of God’s commandments are for those who are His, not the unsaved, not the people of the land, but those who are His. We cannot expect the world to accept our beliefs and walk according to God’s values. That is impossible. Yet, those who are believers have become upset because the worldly values are opposite of ours. I completely agree that the worldview is wrong but it is only through prayer and the love of Christ can things change. With that said, Scripture also warns us that there will be a time when there will be an all out Satanic attack and destruction will come upon us. I honestly believe that is where we are today. We still have a window of opportunity to reach the lost but it is getting darker and darker. As we look at the church today I find it so hard to believe, and truly sad, that the church has fallen into such deception because God’s test is not complicated. It is straightforward and all telling. So, here is the question for you to consider regarding two areas of your lives. The first is the church you are attending and, secondly, your personal walk with the Lord. Is your church following a solid foundational teaching of Scripture? “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” (2 Timothy 3:16 emphasis mine) If the answer to this question is “no”, why are you still attending that church and opening up your minds to deceptive teaching? If your answer is “yes”, are you personally walking in the narrow way or are you picking and choosing which Scriptures you want to follow? “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
Does being in right alignment with the Lord and walking in His ways assure us of a carefree and untroubled life? NO! We live in a sin filled world. Scripture gives us example after example of the lives of those who were submitted to the Lord because He was their life! He was Truth! He was the only Way! He alone was where there was Life! Life was difficult. They were imprisoned, they were beaten, they were killed. The Apostle Paul puts it all in such good perspective, “and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:9-11 emphasis mine) The apostles understood that this was not their home! They were here to allow God to speak through them and be a testimony of His life. But their home was in the eternal Kingdom of God! Even Abraham understood this, “By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10 emphasis mine)
We have the Holy Spirit living in us who will lead us to see God’s protection and guidance in our lives. ”Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Read these Scriptures with me, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6) “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) “O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD.” (Jeremiah 17:13)
Abba Father, I love You. This has been a challenging Word for Your church has sinned. It has gone astray and the shepherds have left the flock to die. There are a few who have received the truth but they are scattered. Thank You that You give us hope and encouragement in Your Word and remind us through Your servant Malachi that You hear Your small remnant who loves You and is wanting to be with You according to all Your ways. “Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. ‘They will be Mine,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.’ So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.” (Malachi 3:16-18) Father, as the light grows dimmer in this world we ask that You bind us together, those who worship You in spirit and truth, that we may share our delight in You with one another, encourage each other through these difficult days, and most importantly, glorify You! Open the hearts of any who may read this and may the Holy Spirit bring conviction upon any who have followed the false teachers and prophets and are being led down the path of destruction. Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. You alone are my portion and I have promised to keep Thy Word. Teach me Your discernment and knowledge that I may not be led astray by the enemy and may my heart be blameless in Thy statutes that I may not be ashamed! I ask that You establish my footsteps in Thy Word and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me. I also pray these things over each one of Your bride as they enter into the Word, that the eyes of their hearts would be enlightened. I love You with all of my heart and pray these things through Your only Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior to whom You have given all glory and all dominion! Amen.