Living Free in the Spirit of Christ

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A Different Look at Romans 13 9

Posted on June 11, 2016 by Alexander
roman jews.jpeg

Most of the Christians that Paul wrote to the Romans were Jewish believers.

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. 2 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1 & 2

We are all influenced by the world and the way of thinking of the world. For many Americans this is the result of government education, corporate advertising, media propaganda and the various disciplines of science that has established themselves as the gods of our age. Therefore our reading of the Bible tends to be influenced by these worldly influences and it takes deliberate effort to discern the truth of Scripture. Reading the Bible alone will not transform your mind. There are thousands of Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons who do not know Christ.  Renewing our minds come from reading the Bible by spiritual discernment.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.   But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.(1Co 2:14  & 15)

Legalism is the heart of natural thinking. Legalism is the means of self-justification. James tells us that if we break one commandment we have broken them all (James 2:10). But legalism tells us that if we do one good thing, we are good in all things. Through our narrow definition of goodness, we judge others according to our own standard. If we see others fail in one thing, we condemn them as utterly worthless. How unlike our King who believes we are worth saving no matter what we have done. Legalism turns us into hypocrites.

Legalism makes right and wrong a game. Lawyers are a prime example of what I mean. They do not care about what is right or wrong, only what is legal. Natural thinking seeks only for the benefit of self. We are awash in our culture in this kind of thinking.

The influence of natural thinking distorts both our reading of Scriptures and affects the way godly men translate the Scriptures. We need to read the Bible through the eyes of Christ.  Since He is the King, we assume he is like a worldly king, and he is not. Jesus does not “rule” by force. He rules by example and is the standard we are to compare ourselves by. Jesus changes us just as a good marriage changes both partners. We love one another in marriage, so defer to one another. We love Jesus and defer to his good example because we want to please him and to be like him. Read the rest of this entry →

The Kingdoms of Satan 4

Posted on February 02, 2014 by Alexander
kingdoms of Satan

All the governments of the world belong to Satan.

Mat 4:8 – 11
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

The Governments of the World

The usual understanding of this verse is that we are to worship God. What is overlooked is that when Satan offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the world, Jesus did not refute Satan in his authority to give him the kingdoms of the world. In other words, all governments belong to to Satan.

This creates a contradiction in doctrine.  We are routinely told to “obey all governments” based upon Romans 13:1 & 2 which says

Rom 13:1 – 2  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

If Satan owns all the kingdoms of the world, are we being told by Paul to obey Satan because God has ordained Satan to rule the world? Any thinking person will realize that would be utter nonsense to think that way.

Read the rest of this entry →

Why American Christians are Angry 0

Posted on December 09, 2012 by Alexander

Why are so many Christians angry?

The Foundation

I can not speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself.  I have been an angry Christian, and I have also walked in genuine peace and humility.   The first thing that needs to be understood is the emotion of anger, which I believe is misunderstood by many people.   Emotions are treated as some kind of independent part of our human nature as illustrated by the common definition of the soul – our mind, will and emotions.  This definition does a disservice to understanding our human nature, and I think (but do not know) that secular psychology is the cause of this misunderstanding.

The Mind

Emotions are the expressions of our thoughts, both in our mind and heart, or our conscience thoughts (mind) and sub-conscience thoughts (heart). In other words, our emotions are the result of what we think upon.  Film-makers and advertisers understand this and know how to create emotional roller coaster rides through their stories.  Emotions, therefore can be controlled by controlling our thoughts, which is the heart of true Christian discipleship. Consider these imperatives from Paul in 2 Corinthians.

(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;   And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.  (2 Cor. 10:4-6 KJV)

In other words we are to watch our thought life and think on those thoughts that agree with God and to stop thinking those thoughts that oppose the way of Christ.  Paul gives us more specific instruction in Philippians.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Php 4:8 KJV)

If we keep our thoughts on positive things, our emotions will express this.  Anger is not an expression of positive thoughts.  This control of our thought life is the meaning of Romans 12:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:2 KJV) Read the rest of this entry →

Ecclesiastes and the Dark Side of the Moon 2

Posted on March 27, 2009 by Alexander

In 2005 I put on a show at the gym where I used to work called,  “Cirque du Lune.”   Since we were not as good as Cirque du Solei, (Circus of the Sun), I called the show “Circus of the Moon” (Cirque du Lune) instead.  I used the Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd as my music for the opening act.

Later on I realized that the Pink Floyd band members of Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Sid Barrett, Nick Mason and Richard Wright had written the same topic that is addressed in the book of Ecclesiastes: pursuing the world system will drive you mad.   When I compared the chapters of Ecclesiastes I was surprised to find that the song order of The Dark Side of the Moon roughly corresponded to the same order as the book of Ecclesiastes.

I do not know if they had consciously followed this book, or even if they were aware of the book, but the parallel between the two is uncanny.

So I am taking the liberty of reading from the book of Ecclesiastes followed by the Pink Floyd songs for comparison.  It should be noted, however, that the two works have completely different endings.  In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon is saved from his despair by embracing God, whereas in the Dark Side of the Moon, the main character gives in to the despair ending his conscious life  with a lobotomy.  The Bible examines the truth of the evil in this world, but gives hope.  To look at the evil of this world without leaning on God results in despair.

Listen to the podcast and read the verses that I read from Ecclesiastes along with me and read the lyrics of the Dark Side of the Moon that follows and think about it.  This first podcast is only parts of Chapter 1 of Ecclesiastes and the two songs, “Speak to Me” with “Breathe”.  Here are the verses and lyrics.

Ecclesiastes

Chapter 1

1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2    “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
3    What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?

8    All things are full of labor;
Man cannot express it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor the ear filled with hearing.
9    That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,

12  I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.
13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised.
14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
15    What is crooked cannot be made straight,
And what is lacking cannot be numbered.
16  I communed with my heart, saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.”
17 And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.
18    For in much wisdom is much grief,
And he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Dark Side of the Moon

1. Speak to Me
(Mason) 1:16

“I’ve been mad for fucking years, absolutely years, been over the edge for yonks, been working me buns off for bands…”

“I’ve always been mad, I know I’ve been mad, like the
most of us…very hard to explain why you’re mad, even if you’re not mad…”

(Instrumental)

2. Breathe
(Waters, Gilmour, Wright) 2:44

Breathe, breathe in the air.
Don’t be afraid to care.
Leave but don’t leave me.
Look around and choose your own ground.

Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.

Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don’t sit down it’s time to dig another one.

For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave.

The primary lesson to be learned from Ecclesiastes is that we must trust God.   But there is also a vital secondary lesson that the Church needs to understand.  We can not change the world.  To try and change the world is to have the world change us.   Jesus did not call us to change the world but to be changed by Him, and to preach the Kingdom of God to all the world, for only God can change people, which is the world.

The church is infiltrated by the world.  The world is the lust of the flesh, the pride of life, and the lust of  the eyes (1 John 2:16).  It is time that we come out of the world’s endeavor as seen in the culture war.  The world at large will not be changed in this life even by God.  He has called us to share the gospel so that hearts may be changed one by one.  But even then, we should not think that we are going to change the world by sharing the gospel.  We are only bringing into the Kingdom those whose hearts are turned towards God.  The vast multitude of people will reject Christ.

As I have said to my beautiful wife, “Sin is insanity.”  All the world is gripped by insanity.  Sanity comes to the individual heart by Jesus Christ.  Let us keep our eyes on the Kingdom, and not the world.

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