There’s an old joke that goes like this. A rich Texas rancher was talking to a small farmer and bragging about the size of his ranch. He said, “I can get into my truck, drive all day long, and I’ll never make it all the way around my ranch.” The small farmer nodded his head in agreement and replied, “Yep, I know what you mean. I’ve had a truck like that once myself.”
Both farmers knew what they were talking about, but the small farmer did not understand what the rancher was really talking about. The two were not on the same page. Both were talking about their property and their truck, but the subject of each part of the conversation was different. The subject of the rancher’s conversation was his property, but the subject of the farmer’s reply was his truck. The joke was based upon a simple and harmless misunderstanding. It was also a funny misunderstanding. But what about a misunderstanding that is equally simple, but one that can affect your eternity with God?
How would you feel if you met Jesus Christ in person and heard Him tell you this?
Matthew 7: 23b “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
This statement from Jesus is the one statement from the Bible that has guided my life. I wanted to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was serving the Lord Jesus Christ and not a counterfeit version of Jesus. I wanted to KNOW Jesus personally and have Him know me and talk to me just like a friend would. There were too many examples of people talking directly to God, Jesus, and angels of God from Genesis to Revelation. I wanted to know God just like them, because the alternative meant eternal damnation. I believed in my heart that it had to be possible to know God and experience His power in my life. He had to be just as real as any devilish power in the world. Because He promised in His Word that He is the only true and great power in the universe.
In my post of June 7, I mentioned the tornado that hit Grand Rapids, MI when I was four years old. My parents told me years later that I was four years old when I announced to them that I wanted to go to the church near our home because I “wanted to know God.” They never told me if the tornado happened before or after my desire to go to church. But it is interesting to me that both events happened when I was four and both events have made a lifelong impact. What is interesting to note is that my family was an atypical non-religious family of the time. Dad was a Methodist that simply didn’t go to church and mom was Japanese. Her gods were Buddha and the Shinto gods of Japan.
For years, she would say, “Ricky, get me god.” That meant to run over to the bookshelf and bring her the Buddha statue. I didn’t realize until many years later that her god was a literal idol. It was so natural to obey her and watch her pray in Japanese whenever she held the statue in her hand. She did this whenever she was upset and it always calmed her down. But as I matured and eventually entered ministry school, she gave up Buddha and became a Christian. She saw that God was living and real in my life. When God made Himself known to her, she followed Jesus Christ all of the rest of her life. Both of my parents have passed away, but I am able to say that both loved God and followed Jesus as their Lord, all of the days of their life. Their commitment to God grew as my love and commitment to God grew and it all began when a little four year old boy asked to go to church in order to get to know God.
But along the way, I learned a really scary lesson. Christianity was composed of many kinds of God, many kinds of Jesus, and a assortment of Holy Spirits. Depending upon the doctrine taught by the church, God ranges from silent and powerless to one that answers prayers in power. Jesus has an equally great range of disparity. Again, depending upon the doctrine taught by the church, Jesus saves us by His death on the cross, by His death and resurrection, or by His death, resurrection, and ascension. By and large, the Holy Spirit is simply your ticket to heaven. Without the Holy Spirit, you’re just an unbeliever and lost to hell. However, there are some Christian churches that teach that the Holy Spirit is active and real in a person’s life. The Spirit acts like a “hot line” to God and may even replace His Word. Both God and Jesus speak to the believer via the Holy Spirit. Some doctrines teach that the Holy Spirit has many functions in a believer’s life. But there is one point of doctrine that every church teaches: Their doctrine is the correct and true doctrine that leads the way to salvation, their truth cannot be questioned, every other doctrine has errors of some kind and subject to question. So the end result is twofold, errors and differences are exposed and questioned by outside sources and no questions are really entertained by inside followers.
There is nothing but confusion within the Christian church and its disparity of doctrines. Questions are not entertained, but deflected. When a church follower dares to question doctrine, the answer comes back: “You have to take it by faith.” This sets up the church follower to have faith in their teachers. Even if reading the Bible reveals completely different doctrines or manners, the teachings in the church holds precedent over the words in the Word of God. Even when the Holy Spirit tries to tell the believer that something isn’t really right, the church follower will reject the Holy Spirit to hold fast to the doctrine and manners taught by the church. The Christian church of the 21st Century has finally become the Gentile version of the Jewish temple structure of Jesus’ time. He told the temple leadership one phrase that equally applies to the Christian church.
Matthew 15: 9 “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
One minister told me that one verse in the Bible wasn’t enough to change a church doctrine. However, it seemed that many church doctrines are firmly based upon only one verse in the Bible. If that verse is misunderstood or misquoted, why shouldn’t one verse that corrects a misunderstanding be enough to change that doctrine? Because anyone can claim a particular doctrine to be wrong, church history has many respected teachers over the course of their history to “prove” their position is correct. It is their firm opinion that their doctrine is correct and their teachers are correct. The Word of God isn’t being questioned, it is simply ignored. The doctrine of the church isn’t based upon the Word of God, it is based upon the understanding of the Word of God as taught by the church fathers.
So here we have it. We’re finally back to the joke presented at the beginning of this blog.
A rich Texas rancher was talking to a small farmer and bragging about the size of his ranch. He said, “I can get into my truck, drive all day long, and I’ll never make it all the way around my ranch.” The small farmer nodded his head in agreement and replied, “Yep, I know what you mean. I’ve had a truck like that once myself.”
The rich Texas rancher can be compared to the church and its teachers and leadership. The small farmer can be compared to the followers in the church. We’re all talking about the same things, but there is a disconnect within the conversation. Liberals that look into the Christian church from the outside can clearly see the problems that the church itself does not want to confront. They can see the division and hypocrisy. They know that church followers are taught to obey God, but that means to obey church leadership. They know that God’s Word teaches everyone to follow God, not men. So Christians are looked upon with curious contempt because we say we obey God, but in obedience to our church leadership, we’ve confused our leadership with God Himself. We say we are saved by the blood of Jesus, but our salvation is still in the future, we can’t even appreciate the present because we are looking forward to a return that many of us believe is imminent but some believe is still future. We are a mixed bag of beliefs with no real commonality of doctrine. We don’t know what we are talking about and teach that the warm, fuzzy feelings that come when we accept Jesus as our savior is the proof of our salvation and we are heaven bound. Here is my question to you as an individual follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If you have no relationship with Jesus, no understanding of how the Holy Spirit benefits your life, and cannot recognize when God is at work in your life, how do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are saved and bound for heaven?
If the church is “teaching for doctrines, the commandments of men.” Are you willing to commit your eternity to the commandments of men? Are you ready to accept Jesus telling you that He never knew you, because you’ve made no effort to build a relationship with Him because you devoted your entire life to build a relationship with your church leadership instead? The Holy Spirit is living and real in your heart of you are born again. But if you make no effort to learn how the Holy Spirit works in your life, you cannot blame your church, your church doctrine, or your church leadership for dropping the ball. They are all doing the best they can with what they know to lead you to God. The Christian church is very good at leading people to Christ and getting them born again, however, it has failed at clearly teaching how to walk in faith with God.
The entire Bible that we know was written before the end of the first century. The Bible, and especially the New Testament are written to blended churches. Meaning there were no dedicated Christian churches, just Christian gatherings in homes. The fellowship of believers learned the Word of God in synogogues where both Jews and Gentiles met together to learn and discuss the Law, God, life, and the teachings of Jesus. The end of the blended fellowships were begun in 66 AD when the Jews revolted against the Roman Leadership. In 67 AD Vespasian invaded Galilee to put down the revolt. Christian believers, (meaning both Jewish and Gentiles) did not support the revolt. The revolt led to the burning of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD and only 20 years later, the complete and total separation between Jews and Christians.
In 90 AD, the Jewish leadership at Yavneh produced a revised Jewish Canon that defined Judaism for the next 2000 years. It renounced Jesus as the Messiah and no Jew from that time on could consider Him. It became impossible to follow Jesus and still be Jewish. The men that produced this Canon were the grandsons of the very same men that had Jesus crucified on the cross. This is the one act of the Jews that made it impossible for Gentiles to understand Jesus and His manner of living, in light of His Jewish heritage. Gentiles were forced to learn their Christianity in light of the teachings of converted Jews and eventually by themselves, (when the early Jewish leadership of the church died).
It is wrong to blame the fractured, Christian church and its many differing doctrines for our failure to know how to walk with God. To do so is to cast blame on to people who love God and His Word. We have to cast blame on the true enemy, the devil, for corrupting our understanding and causing division within the church. It is evident that he worked his evil upon the church from the very beginning. The Christian church has never been a truly united church despite the claims of the Roman Catholic Church. Even the book of Acts shows at least five Christian sects: Peter, John, Cephas, Apollos, and Paul. Despite the division, God has allowed Christianity to flourish and be preached all around the world. If we cannot recognize the miracle it is that Christianity grew in the face of opposition, and generally without the power of God in evidence, then we are truly blind.
But we have reached a point in Christian history that the power of the living God in every believer’s life is becoming a necessity, rather than the exception. If a believer wants to build a relationship with God and know Jesus voice in their life, they have to look beyond the doctrines of the church alone. But every book about Christian spirituality is still very strongly doctrinal and deals with character development, changing habits, and physical fitness. None of these activities are truly spiritual. All of these changes can be accomplished without God’s help and without Christianity’s influence. A Christian has only one unifying factor in their life that is common to Christians but not to the world, that is the Holy Spirit.
If you want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are saved and bound for heaven, then you need to utilize the Holy Spirit in your life. If you want to have a relationship with God and know that Jesus knows you and cares about you, then you need to utilize the Holy Spirit in your life. This is the only true spiritual part of Christianity. It is not the clothing drives, the food pantries, the skits and music that is spiritual. The Holy Spirit will inspire all of these activities, but they are still activities of the flesh. Utilizing the Holy Spirit in your daily life and walk is what makes you spiritual and builds your relationship with Jesus. To make God your partner in life is to be able to hear His voice in your heart and to do what He suggests. You cannot hope to obey a voice that you cannot trust or know until you also know the Word of God.
This is why “Rules for Radical Christians: A Practical Primer for Defeating Radical Liberals at Their Own Game” was written. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is real, that Jesus is my Lord, and that the Holy Spirit speaks the truth. I trust the Word of God with my life and I know that God loves me.
Radical Liberals know that their god is also real. They walk according to the spirit of the world that hates God and despises Jesus Christ. As time goes on, they will reveal their true hatred against Christianity, but at the present time, we are still free to speak the truth. But the first set of laws against the truth and making the truth openly known is already being written and enacted. We cannot be content with “speaking the Truth” alone any longer. We need to be able to experience and display God’s love for our individual lives openly and fearlessly. My book reveals a practical method for building your spiritual relationship with God Almighty.
You can become a Radical Christian simply by living in God’s love and power. It wont matter which church doctrine you follow. God is gracious enough to show Himself to you within the confines of your doctrine. You can be just like Jesus, living in grace with God and men. Your relationship will be unique and empowering. You will know Him beyond a shadow of a doubt and in light of the Word. He will never contradict or change His Word. He will never add to, or subtract from His Word. This is how you will know if you are hearing the Holy Spirit or any other spirit. This is Radical Christianity in its purest form and every Christian believer has the God given right to experience it. This is the only way to protect ourselves against the wiles of the devil that works within radical Liberals. When we protect ourselves and stay one step ahead of their evil, we are able to defeat them. Our protection and ability to stay one step ahead of evil is only possible because of our relationship with Jesus and our obedience to God through the voice of the Holy Spirit.
If the events of the recent months haven’t caused you consider, what you should do next, I don’t know what to tell you. The devil is working openly to cause division and discord in our nation and our neighborhoods. He may even be working against us in our workplace, within our families, and even among our friends. Your only hope to stay sane is through your personal relationship with God. If you’re ready to learn how to build that relationship, and never be fooled spiritually any longer, click the link below and get my book. Yes, it’s a book that helps your spiritual relationship with God, but that spiritual relationship with God will keep you one step ahead of evil working against you. God will never allow you to become the butt of the Liberal lies and jokes against religious Christianity because you will no longer be simply a religious Christian, but a Radical Christian.
While your at it, please vote for my book at the Author Academy Award site below. It is in page 11 of the different categories.