This past Friday evening my wife and I spent several hours at our pastor’s home, talking about different things. At one point I shared my thought, that I had earlier in the week, that Facebook should be renamed Faithbook. The reason this came to my mind was the realization that this is actually what FB is to so many people, including most Christians.
After reading this link (above) that our pastor sent me, I think my assessment of FB is validated even more.
Is our confidence coming from the approvals, “Likes”and “Shares”, of a man-made faith book or from the Almighty God’s Word, the only, true faith book, the foundation and cornerstone of life, now and forevermore?
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”(Source: God’s Holy Word, the Bible–John 1:1)
Before this post begins, I have a disclaimer for the reader: Years ago I would be prompted to write because of happenings close to home. It very seldom seemed to do any good. For years now, I have not been motivated that way. Then, on the other hand, I do pass on, mostly in written form, things I see that I believe would help those seeking the truth and those losing their confidence and hope in Jesus. So, don’t get offended, I’m not speaking to you, as a stand-alone individual; but I am talking to the body of Jesus Christ, which is composed of individual members. Therefore, if a member of the body of Christ is suffering, it affects the whole body–the whole body suffers.
The Light On The Inside And The Light On The Outside
“Let your light so shine before men…” –Matthew 5:6a
“…[T]hat they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” –Matthew 5:6b
It is often said, as a defense (a justification?) that God looks on the heart and not the outward appearance, when the “issue”–it certainly is an issue– is brought up about how Christians should dress. But, I’m going to disappoint the reader: I am not going to discuss that at this time. It isn’t because I’m afraid to, I assure you but I will make reference to this verse:
“…[T]he life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God…” –Galatians 2:20
What Is In The Heart Is Seen Outwardly
A tree is known by its’ fruit. The fruit is only obtainable when it can be seen. How else can it be harvested? One can know nothing about trees and have seen apples only in a grocery store and when an apple tree with its’ fruit on it is seen, the tree then is easily understood to be an apple tree.
A lit candle can be seen when it is not covered. If the light of a Christian is not hid then his fruit can be seen, shared and partaken of, which glorifies our Father in heaven. By the fruit–love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance–of the indwelling Spirit we are known.
As Christians, the life we live in the flesh is lived by the faith of the Son of God.
What About Hypocrites?
Certainly there are hypocrites among us and they most assuredly can be identified but using verses as found in Matthew 23:28 where it says, “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity”, does not mean that we cannot know who is saved and who isn’t. For instance, if a pastor says he doesn’t know if one of his flock is saved or not–that only the individual, God and the devil knows–then he himself is admitting that he does not have the spiritual discernment he should have and is making such declarations thinking that his congregation is as “unknowing”–should I dare to say, “ignorant”?–as he is. The Bible says,
” And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” –1st Thessalonians 5:12 and 13
If we’re to know those who are over us then it certainly stands that pastors ought to “know” the individuals in their flock.
So, why even bring up the hypocrite problem? Because that is what it is–a problem. This problem is being brought up for mindful consideration. Hypocrites think that they aren’t known. It may be, in certain situations, that the hypocrite is getting by with their false identity; if so, the end result still is, “Depart from me…I never knew you.” (Read Matthew 7:21-23.)
I know for a fact that, in times past, I could have been seen as one living life as a hypocrite, simply because I knew I wasn’t heeding the warnings in the New Testament and yet, I didn’t want to be thought of as a double-minded person or a hypocrite. I began to realize that it was my double-mindedness that was causing me to slowly and deceptively drift farther and farther away from His righteousness. I began to see that this rebellion was placing me in danger of being given over to a reprobate mind. I saw that I needed to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and quit making provisions for the flesh. (Romans 13:14) Now here, we can get into all sorts of thoughts and “beliefs” but I’ll stick to this paragraph’s particular focus, “The Warnings In The New Testament” (Click to buy a book on the subject). One of the warnings the Bible gives is found in Hebrews 3:6 where it says, “But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” I knew that I was not holding fast “the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope” and I also thought that no one else knew. But, of course, God knew. My wife knew but she never called me “double-minded” or a hypocrite. She knew I was in trouble and prayed for me–thank God. And probably, a few others knew and prayed for me, too. I was one with a candle almost out, just barely flickering, with very little life left, and still, I didn’t want anyone to know. I was suffering, causing damage to the body of Christ. I all but let go of my confidence in Jesus; so much so that I could no longer rejoice in my hope in Him.
Just know that I’ve been there. I have struggled, griped, slipped, stumbled and fell and drug my feet with all kinds of excuses. I know that I probably caused some of the same sufferings (damages) in others close to me by my being so bare of His righteousness.
But! Through the mercies, patience, kindness and love of my Father and my Savior, Jesus Christ, and the prayers of the saints in my life, I have been brought back and I rejoice that, through Him, my confidence in Him and again, I emphasize, provided by Him, has made me to want to draw closer and closer to Him. Yes, I want to know more about my Lord.
Through Him and by Him all things are possible–there’s no other way.
Let’s continue to pray for one another.
Longsuffering / Patience And Endurance
The Greek word, “hupomenō” (Strong’s number, G5278), pronounced “hoop-om-en’-o”, is the same Greek word that is translated into English words, “patience”, “patient”, “endureth” and “endure” as well as a few other words. The Greek word for longsuffering is “makrothumia” (Strong’s number, G3115) and is pronounced, “mak-roth-oo-mee’-ah”. If you look up how this word (G3115) was translated in the KJV Bible, you will find that is was also translated, “patience”. The point is that “longsuffering”, “endurance” and “patience” mean the same thing when thinking about these words as a fruit of the Spirit.
When the Bible speaks of what charity is and what it does, it includes that it “endureth all things”–ALL things. This does not mean to just put up with any particular situation or circumstance; it means to endure it with patience–longsuffering. In other words, griping, complaining and getting frustrated and bent all out of shape has no place in a Christian’s life if he is to run the race as is spoken of in the first two verses of chapter 12 in the book of Hebrews:
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (verse 2) 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.
What comes next is difficult to add but I cannot leave it out because it is fairly common among professing Christians, as was true with me.
Speaking with a grouchy tone to anyone is not becoming of a child of God. I know. Again, I’ve been there and done that. When life seems hard and weariness and anger sets in, pay attention to what happens: Words are spoken to a spouse, children and others with tones of a grouch, from a soul of bitterness and/or hatefulness. Beware, lest one’s deeds, especially this one, be known by observing people, who will say that if this is what being a Christian is all about, I don’t want no part of it.
Run the race with patience and let us leave these petty obstacles behind.
But What About My Past?
It is certainly true that there are those who will hold our past over our heads. Our joy, which is of the Lord Jesus, gives us a mind of peace and helps us to see such people as to who they are and this then helps us to have the Godly desire to pray for them. I hope this video helps:
My wife thought of the following scripture this morning and it sums up this post very well:
The Second Epistle of Peter – Chapter One
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: