Spiritual Junk Food #4

The fourth instament of SPIRITUAL JUNK FOOD

Junk Food: Every Christian must go back to his Jewish roots and begin keeping the holy days, feasts and festivals.

I have seen this one divide churches – both denominational churches with a group called the British Israelites; as well as non-denominational churches where one leader began to place an emphasis on studying and following the Jewish feasts and festivals.

It seems for some believers that the simplicity of the Gospel is not enough. They need to add to and thus complicate what the Lord set out for His Church and His people.

First, we are not Jewish – we are Christians. Yes, we recognize that the Christian faith owes a great deal to the Jewish religion; however, we do not need to celebrate the feasts and festivals to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was settled early in the history of the Christian Church when the issue of circumcision and obeying other Jewish Laws came up within the life of the early Church. The issue was settled by the Holy Spirit at the first Church Council held in Jerusalem in Acts, chapter 15.

(verses 28-29) “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell.”

This issue is wider than just those who think we need to celebrate Jewish feasts. We have complicated the Gospel, not just with this current move – but with much that we teach. Here is my belief – anything we teach here in North America that would not work in a desperate third-world nation is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for all people in all nations – rich and poor, educated and illiterate, tall, short, thin, fat, young and old. So, if what the local church pastor preaches on Sunday in his pulpit just would not work in rural India or Bangaldesh then it is not the Bible Gospel – it is, most likely, a cultural adaptation of the Gospel which tickles ears and flys only because it is being preached in North America.

In this “cultural Gospel” category we can include a great deal of the current prosperity messages, health and healing teachings, as well as the so-called ‘revivals’ and a lot of the self-help Gospel messages. Read the ads on Saturday regarding what is being preached on Sunday and see if you agree that much being proclaimed is not the basic Gospel as set forth in the New Testament.

So, a few standards we can go by.
1> Did the early Church preach what you are preaching / hearing?
2> Would that message work if applied in a poor third-world nation?
3> Does the message being preached point people to the Lord Jesus? Man-centered or God-focused?
4> Is the message dealing with what God can do for the believer or what the believer is mandated to do with God?
5> Is it enabling and equipping the people to reach out and save the lost?

Much of what we hear today in pulpits around the world is spiritual entertainment and is not leading to more people hearing the Gospel. Rather, it takes the believer’s focus off The Great Commmision as they focus on the prophetic, angels and demons, visions and dreams, manifestations … none of which I am against. But, let us not forget the only marching orders we received as the Church of Jesus Christ – to seek and save the lost as our Founder came to do (Luke 19:10).

But back to the celebration of the Jewish feasts and festivals as born again Christians. We would do well to remember what the writer of the Book of Hebrews wrote under inspiration from the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 9:15 For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

The first covenant (Jewish – Old Testament) is done. We are living under the New Covenant (Christian – New Testament) without the Temple, the ceremonial laws and other trapping of a religion we have not and do not belong to. We recognize our heritage and our roots – but we live as born again believers delivered from all forms of religion who walk in relationship with the living God.

Spiritual Junk Food #3

It is amazing what we eat spiritually. What is more amazing is that with the steady diet of spiritual junk food – it is amazing we are still spiritually alive.

Here is #3 you will hear – and I could name two or three very popular supposedly born again preachers on television who proclaim this junk food. Ready…

Junk Food: It is not necessary to deal with your sin; just think positive thoughts about yourself and others. Don’t worry, be happy.

Remember that song of 15 years ago?

Can you name at least one “Christian” preacher whose message is in this “positive thinking”, “positive confession” camp of the Christian faith?

The meat we need to know is right in the Bible and we need to learn, mark and inwardly digest this spiritual food:

1 John 1:8-9 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

There seems to be two ways to going about this belief that you don’t have to worry about your sin nor confess them. The first is to deny that Adam and Eve were real people – they were simply a myth designed to help ignorant people understand where they came from. You know, similar to today’s myth called evolution.

If there was no real Adam and Eve and thus no real denial of God’s authority and no breaking of His command about the fruit and the trees – then there is no original sin and thus no spiritual domain of darkness ruled by Lucifer or the Devil. This is a short step to the belief that there really is no literal Devil and thus no Hell either. So, if there is no Devil and no temptation and then no sin in the now non-existent Garden of Eden … then there is no original sin and thus no spiritual darkness to be rescued out of and no eternal punishment in the future to avoid. So, there is no need for a Saviour from the sin you now no longer have and thus no longer need to confess because it literally does not exist.

Junk Food: It is not necessary to deal with your sin; just think positive thoughts about yourself and others. Don’t worry, be happy.

The other way to get to this same conclusion is to start with the theologically accurate statement from 1 John that God is love. He does not have love like He has power – He is love. It is the very essence of His being. Thus, if our God is a God of love, loves all people, and wants to spend eternity with us – then He will not or cannot condemn people to Hell for a sin they commit. Afterall, everyone sins and everyone would then go to Hell. And there is no way to be forgiven because Jesus was simply a good, moral teacher but certainly not the Son of God. Jesus was born of a human father and an earthly mother which means He is not God. He is also not God because Mary was not a virgin in the sense of having never had sex. The word “virgin” is interpreted to mean ‘young teenager’.

So, without a Saviour we don’t have a way to be forgiven and a loving God would not condemn the height of His creation to Hell seeing it is His fault in the first place that we have sin as He created us with free will and He has not supplied us with a way out of that sin. And, there cannot be a Hell because a loving God would never condemn anyone to go there for all eternity -He just couldn’t because of His love for His creation and the free will He created us with in the first place that got us into this mess. Indirectly, it is all His fault!

Junk Food: It is not necessary to deal with your sin; just think positive thoughts about yourself and others. Don’t worry, be happy.

Either approach takes you to the same conclusion. Wrong though the conclusion may be.

The meat of God’s Word:

1 John 1:8-10 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

Sin by Bible definition:
1> The transgression of the Law – 1 John 3:4
2> Whatever is not of faith – Romans 14:23b
3> When you know what is right to do and do not do it – James 4:17

To confess means to call the action what God would call it – call a spade a spade. It is homosexualiy and not an alternative life style. It is drunkenness and not a night out with the boys. It is fornication – not a trial marriage to see if things will work out. It is not an affair – it is adultery.

To deal with sin in our lives we must confess them and repent…

The word “repent” means literally to change your mind about the issue and thus change your lifestyle in line with the change in thinking. Proverbs states: “As a man thinks, so is he!”

If we do this and mean it then God forgives. If we hold still long enough He will then go deep into our hearts and lives and uproot the basic underlying cause of the sin – unrighteousness. Then we are free of that sin and can move forward in our relationship with God.

If, instead, we state that we have no sin – or simply ignore the sin – and think happy thoughts about ourselves and positive thoughts about others – we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us and we are not walking with the Lord of the Bible nor will we find ourselves in His Heaven one day.

We need to watch our diet – it’s killing us!