I’ve been praying over how to be a more thoughtful, sensitive and effective defender of the faith (although, there is also a call for boldness and an earnestness in contending for the faith) because toes are so quickly stepped on, and Christians are often times soooo, SOOOO quick to be defensive. Why is that?
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3 (KJV)
The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1 (KJV)
I heard a pastor recently say something to the effect of: I can tell when Christians aren’t really digging into their Bibles when they become so touchy and sensitive and easily offended at hard preaching…or preaching the Scripture the way it really is.
I call that conviction, and I think that kind of conviction is a really good thing, and yet how do I find the balance of reflecting that conviction while still reflecting the love of Christ that is in my heart which fuels it? I haven’t quite figured that part out yet, but I’m certainly seeking the Lord for the wisdom to do so, and I know that He will be faithful to provide it.
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5 (KJV)
Now, I’m not saying that I haven’t ever fallen into that same trap of defensiveness from time to time, but, honestly, I tend to favor the really tough preaching that says it like it is and hits me right between the eyes with conviction. I need that kind of conviction because I can be stubborn and hard-headed sometimes, and a painful trial is usually the means that it takes for my loving – yes loving – God to get my attention. Hurt feelings and all.
I, personally, like that kind of heavy conviction that drives me to rise to the challenge of being even closer to my God and Savior Jesus Christ. If my hurt feelings are the cost of conviction that leads me to being closer to God, then so be it. It keeps me on my knees trusting in my God for my much-needed daily bread for just one more day.
And with that long-winded disclaimer, let’s dive in here…
So, I did a Bible Study a while back over HERE on “The Exclusivity of God,” and as I’ve been praying over what to blog about here, I read this article titled “Expanding the Ways We Experience God” this morning, and I totally cringed at the thought that this is the exact kind of nonsense/perversion of the Christian faith that Satan loves to suck Christians into…and, thus, I knew what the Lord would have me to write about today.
When I read this article, I just sigh and think, “Oh great, here’s another Me, Me, Me article” on how to make worship about – you guessed it – Me – Me and my experience. Somewhere along the way, the Church has stopped making worship about HIM…Jesus Christ, so I admit that I cannot hide my distaste for this article.
Hey, I get it. The allusive, mysterious idea of “expanding our experience of God” is, without a doubt, appealing and sounds nice and neat from the title, but the context of the article lacks any sort of biblical truth, and to the contrary, it actually points people to pagan acts of worship that God completely abhors, such as mystics, divination and a whole other weird laundry list of religious acts that the author claims has helped her friends which are, in reality, open invitations for Satan to get a foothold into one’s life.
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. 1 Timothy 4:1-2 (KJV)
AND, my goodness, the author doesn’t even pretend to point the reader to God’s Word!
And contrary to the idea that we should just love everything and sing kumbaya at whatever latest whiff the wind blows the Church’s way, God’s Word tells us this…
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Romans 12:9 (KJV)
Some things just are not OK in God’s book; therefore, we should not be OK with them either, but we need to know what God’s book says in order to know what those things are.
That being said, do you want your mind to be completely blown by experiencing God in a new and mighty way, dear friends?
I know this much, it is NOT through some sort of weird, mystic, contemplative prayer, emptying of your mind sort of thing or switching styles of worship like changing your socks. The Bible actually let’s us know what we need to do to honor God.
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Deuteronomy 18:10 (KJV)
There is only one thing that we should be “meditating” on and that is the Word of God.
I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. Psalm 119:15 (KJV)
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalm 1:2 (KJV)
Here’s the thing…there IS a phenomenal way to expand our experience of God, dear friends, and there is a way for your mind to be blown by the goodness and power of the God of heaven and earth, but it is only through the blood of Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit’s working in our life as we seek and worship God by reading His Word and through prayer and through giving thanks and singing of psalms and hymns…the very acts of worship that are pleasing to God.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. Ephesians 5:18-19 (KJV)
How are we able to be filled with the Spirit? Did you know that you can “quench” the Holy Spirit in your life??
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 (KJV)
1. Rejoice 2. Pray without ceasing 3. Give thanks in everything.
Why?? Because that is how we are filled with the Spirit and because it is the will of God that we do those things.
Random side note: Speaking of having your mind blown, I have been listening to this OUTSTANDING series of sermons on prayer and hindrances to prayer by Pastor David Peacock over HERE. I’m not gonna lie, folks, the sermon on The Sword of Thankfulness has quite literally blown me away in a serious, life-transforming kind of way. A constant state of thankfulness to God has more power than you can even begin to imagine.
Tap into THANKFULNESS, gang. Today. Give thanks in everything, and watch your life be transformed.
Okay, then, back to the 1 Thess. 5:16-19 passage, in other words, if we don’t praise God, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all of our circumstances, then we are creating hindrances to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives…even to the point of quenching the Spirit in our lives.
And, these things, amonst many other passages of Scripture to the New Testament Church, are universal commands to all who claim to be Christians. We don’t do these things just for a season as that article I referred to suggests. Rather, we are commanded to do these things evermore and without ceasing and in everything…that is where you unlock the power of experiencing God, beloved…it is when you are doing His will.
Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. Luke 22:42 (KJV)
Do you want to know something else that is a universal command to all Christians? It is to study God’s Word, not just take a cursory glance, but to really study it as a workman, and to know how to rightly divide it (knowing what applies to who – ie. Christians, Jews, Gentiles).
I firmly believe that when we study God’s Word to the point of writing it in our hearts, we will experience God like never before.
Honestly, for me, the Lord has stirred up my heart to study his Word, so much so that I long to read it, and it’s hard for me to find the time to read very much of anything else because of how powerful the Word of God has been in my life. No other book can touch it. I learn something new every time I open it. God is so good!
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. 1 Timothy 4:13-16 (KJV)
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11 (KJV)
Why is it so crucial to study the Word of God above all other reading? Because, dear friends, that is your defense! It is also what instructs you and corrects you when you have gotten off the narrow path.
It is part of the whole armor of God you need to recognize and protect yourself from Satan’s attacks. Christians are floundering like never before because they aren’t studying God’s preserved Word, the King James Bible, and are therefore, leaving themselves defenseless to the lies and attacks of the devil.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. Ephesians 6:10-18 (KJV)
How do we take up the shield of faith? It is by hearing and doing the Word of God. How can you do what the Word of God tells you to do if you don’t know what it says?
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 (KJV)
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. James 1:22 (KJV)
HERE is probably the best illustrations and teachings I’ve come across on taking up the whole armor of God.
Many of us may be going along thinking that God’s speaking to us, when it’s really the devil whispering his lies, and we aren’t recognizing them for what they are because we have quenched the Holy Spirit in our lives by neglecting to study the Bible. However, if we are really studying and heeding God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will help us to discern and recognize those lies when they come along.
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Corinthians 2: 11 (KJV)
BUT, how would you and I ever know that this could happen if we didn’t go to God’s Word for instruction in all things?
The answer is that we wouldn’t know, which is why it is of the utmost importance to go to God’s Word (see my article on the King James Bible HERE) for ALL instruction for living a godly life in Christ…not the latest bestseller written by man. I’m not saying books are bad and that we can’t enjoy them or learn from them; I’m just saying that the King James Bible should be our final authority in all things for godly living.
I also believe articles like the one referenced above are the reason so many Christians are floundering in their faith…it lacks any sort of foundation, and the concept is this idea of a “free for all” or “do as you please, because it’s all good” and so on and so forth is a very perverted and wide view of Him who is in reality a very exclusive God.
And finally to the title of my post (yay!)…bringing it home now. Beloved, there is an incredible Exclusivity of God. There is an exclusivity to that ever-narrow way that we are called to journey.
Beloved, the wide, “ever-expanding” road is a dangerous path leading you away from God and His perfect will.
Whereas, the narrow way, though, undoubtedly and often times, the more difficult path, is the way that leads to a life in Christ and to life more abundantly.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 (KJV)
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13-14 (KJV)
Without Jesus Christ and the Word of God, we have no foundation.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11 (KJV)
The good news, though, is that when you are armed with your King James Bible, you can immediately recognize the nonsense from the article I referenced at the top of this post for the lie that it is, and you will then be able to stand firm in the truth of God’s Holy, magnificent, powerful and supernatual Word.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. Hebrews 4:12-13 (KJV)
The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. Psalm 68:11 (KJV)
And finally…let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about the exclusivity of God…
1. There is only One God and One Mediator between God and men
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5 (KJV)
2. There is only One Way, One Truth, One Life
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 (KJV)
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36 (KJV)
3. There is only One Foundation
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11 (KJV)
4. There is only One Name by which we can be saved.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12 (KJV)
5. There is One Body, One Spirit, One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and One Father
4 [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:4-6 (KJV)
6. There is only One PRESERVED Version of the Bible (see my article on the King James Bible over HERE)
The words of the LORD [are] pure words: [as] silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. Psalm 12: 6, 7 (KJV)
If you are that unbeliever, I pray that today would be the day of salvation for you! Come on over HERE.
I could go on and on, but I just encourage you to seek the Lord and pray over His Word that He may guide you and direct you. Again, don’t just take my word for it, take the time to seek it for yourself. I believe the Lord will bless you greatly for it.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33 (KJV)
Dear friends, the Bible speaks endlessly of God’s exclusivity, but since this has already turned into a novel, I better wrap things up for today. I hope this article has been a blessing to you.
Editor’s Note: As with all teachings you encounter in matters of spiritual things, including the posts you read here, I urge you with all diligence to test everything you read under the light and authority of God’s Holy Word…the King James Bible. Open your Bible and follow along, and see for yourself what God’s Word has to say. While I strive to be thoughtful, careful and ultimately prayerful about what I share on this site, I am still human, so should there ever be anything that is not in line with the Bible (which I pray doesn’t happen), then God’s Word is always right, and I am wrong. God’s Word is the final authority in all things. To Christ be the glory!
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14 (KJV)