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Beware that you do not fall or be carried away by false teachings

Having looked at what false teachers may do, we must be very conscious about what for teachings we want to follow.

Let the one who thinks he is standing beware that he does not fall.—1 Cor. 10:12.

Jehovah gives us His powerful holy Spirit, which can strengthen us and help us to resist temptation. God also forewarns us through his Word and the congregation about situations that we must avoid, such as spending excessive time, money, and energy on non-essential material things.

When looking at this world we may see that lots of people are carried away by the false stories of this world. Lots of people also present themselves differently than they are, on Facebook or other social media and let themselves being carried away by those social media. Lots of people spend a lot of time at such media and reduce their time reading the Bible.

Lots of people are afraid when they would join a small church or a small community of believers they would loose possibilities. Lots of people do think they do need theologians or those main churches, instead of trusting in God Himself.

The apostle Paul acknowledged that he had not been entirely without help. He trusted that Jehovah would fortify him to endure his present trials and any future difficulties that might arise. In fact, he immediately went on to say:

“The Lord will rescue me from every wicked work.” (2 Tim. 4:18)

English: The Apostle Paul

The Apostle Paul (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, Paul had learned that even when human assistance is limited, the help that Jehovah and his Son provide is real!

Today there are a lot of false teachers who try to get real followers of Christ on their track, for worshipping a three-headed god. Those who do not worship their god Jesus they make afraid with stories of eternal torture by hellfire.

We must be aware that the adversary of God loves to use traps. They are: (1) uncontrolled speech, (2) giving in to fear and pressure, and (3) feeling too much guilt. But there are also two other traps they bring to the general public. They are materialism and the temptation to commit adultery.

In one of his illustrations, Jesus spoke about seed sown in between thorny plants. He explained that someone may hear the Kingdom message,

“but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” (Matthew 13:22)

Materialism is a trap that our enemy ‘Satan’ uses. The audiovisual media tries to bring a picture of a better world which supposedly we would not be able to have without all those material gadgets. But it can well be that people are also made too afraid about the possibilities to live. The worries about making a living can make us not spending enough time reading the Word of God. Lots of people got blinded by people who promise richness. The Bible says that “money is for a protection.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12) This means that money can help us to have the things we need. But it is not wise to try to become rich. Many people have learned that the harder they work to become rich, the more they get caught in the trap of materialism. Some even become slaves of their possessions.—Matthew 6:24.

Problem with man is that he seems never satisfied. We are always looking for the next-best thing. False teachers tell the world we need to progress and have the newest modern things to make our life easy. By the advertisements in the magazines and on television our eyes are taken away from the biblical hope of that precious world of God.  Instead of concentrating on that what is needed for the day we often are seeking more, but not in the good sense.  We should be seeking to be satisfied by what Jehovah God offers us.  We’ve all read that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (Mark 10:25), and verse 9 of Proverbs 30 reinforces that someone who is “full” is quick to deny the Most High God.

Proverbs 30: 8-9:  Remove untruth and lies far from me.Give me neither poverty nor riches. Just let me consume my portion of food,+ So that I do not become satisfied and deny you and say, “Who is Jehovah?”Nor let me become poor and steal and dishonor* the name of my God.

All the false teachings we should put away. We should concentrate on what the Bible has to tell us. Also we should try to become happy with what we receive, or what is allowed by God that we have.

And that brings us to an other aspect of happiness. Namely our sex life or our relationship with others. False teachers want  us to believe we should just enjoy life and feel free, because Jesus brought  salvation to us and we do not have to worry any-more what we do because we do not need any works any more to bring us into heavenly places. some people may tell you that it does not harm to have a romantic relationship with someone to whom you are not married.

An improper romantic relationship could start with someone at your workplace or even with with someone in the congregation. There are many ways Christians could be in danger of committing adultery, by seeing how loose others goon with their relationships and with ‘enjoying life’ having sex with more than one person. In the media many series and new coverage wants to give the impression nothing is wrong with having sex with the same gender or with having sex just for fun with as many people as you like.

To avoid adultery, you need to think deeply about what it means to be loyal to your marriage mate. Jesus said:

“What God has yoked together let no man put apart.” (Matthew 19:6)

You should never think that your work in the congregation is more important than your marriage mate. If you are away from your mate for unnecessary reasons, your marriage may become weak. You or your mate could be tempted to commit adultery. for those working in the congregation they always should remember that you cannot be a good husband when work and earning money gets priority. Also does it not make sense to help the brothers and sisters in the congregation as elder and to neglect your wife at home. That would put your marriage in danger. Daniel says,

‘You should never be so busy caring for responsibilities that you neglect your own family.’

At work and in the group of friends there may be people who say just a flirt does not harm. If you are tempted to start an improper romantic relationship, think about the damage caused by fornication and adultery. (Proverbs 7:22, 23; Galatians 6:7) People who commit immorality do not please Jehovah. They hurt their marriage mate and themselves. (Read Malachi 2:13, 14.) Instead, think about the benefits you will get if you keep your conduct chaste, or clean. You have the hope of living forever, and you also enjoy the best life now, including a clean conscience. — Read Proverbs 3:1, 2.

The many people who try to get you looking at God His Will as something which we should not bother too much, you should avoid.

The apostle Paul warned of a falling away from genuine Christianity. He said that after his death, “oppressive wolves” from among professed Christians would

“speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:29, 30)

They would “publicly declare they know God,” but in reality they would “disown him by their works.” (Titus 1:16)

The apostle Peter likewise warned that false teachers would

“quietly bring in destructive sects and [would] disown even the owner that bought them.”

Their bad conduct, he said, would cause people to speak “abusively” about “the way of the truth.” (2 Peter 2:1, 2) To disown Christ in this way, says Greek scholar W. E. Vine, means to

“deny the Father and the Son, by apostatizing and by disseminating pernicious teachings.”

How would Jesus react if professed disciples deliberately failed to “remain in [his] word” and to meet other requirements that he set out? He warned:

“Whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens.” (Matthew 10:33)

Of course, Jesus does not disown someone who makes a mistake despite his earnest desire to be faithful. For example, although the apostle Peter denied Jesus three times, Peter repented and was forgiven. (Matthew 26:69-75) However, Jesus disowns individuals or institutions that turn out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing — pretending to follow Christ but willfully and persistently rejecting his teachings. Of such false teachers, Jesus said:

“By their fruits you will recognize those men.” — Matthew 7:15-20.

Please therefore be always on the lookout. See what teachers do and compare it with what they say. Compare always the sayings of those teachers or preachers with what is really written in the Bible. do not allow differences like “son of God” and “god the son” to be equal. They are totally different. Also is it very different to have “the sent one from God” and “God having come to earth”. That are both totally different things. so pleas come to see what is really written in the Bible and compare that with what a preacher tells you.

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Preceding articles

Man enticed to long for more

A look at materialism

The Nazarene master teacher learning people how they should behave

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 7:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #1 The Narrow Gate and the way to destruction

Matthew 7:15-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #2 False prophets and fruitage

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #3 Matthew 7:21-23 The ones Jesus never knew

Paul’s warning about false stories and his call to quit touching the unclean thing

False teachers and false prophets still around

Good or bad preacher

Teachings, prophets, wolves in sheep’s covering and a narrow gate

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Additional reading

  1. Just be yourself…
  2. The Cares of Life
  3. Less for more
  4. Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth
  5. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  6. Looking at a conservative review of Shop Class As Soul Craft
  7. Message of Pope Francis I for the 48th World Communications Day
  8. The Proper Place of Excess
  9. Heaven and hell still high on the believers list showing a religion gender gap
  10. Engagement in an actual two-way conversation with your deities
  11. How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace
  12. The World framed by the Word of God
  13. With the gift of Jesus comes an awesome responsibility
  14. Reflect on how much idolizing happens
  15. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  16. Four Pressing Needs in Rural Communities, and How the Church Should Respond
  17. Preparing for the Kingdom
  18. A way to prepare for the Kingdom

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Further related reading

  1. The Internet Is Having a Hilarious Time With These iPhone 8 vs. iPhone X Memes
  2. Eta : Keeps You Connected to Those Who Matter The Most
  3. It’s not the “gold” that makes a gold digger. It’s the “digging”
  4. The beat vs. the meaning…
  5. Money Matters

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Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

|| Luke 12:22-31

MT6:24 “No one can slave for two masters,[1] for either he will hate one and love the other[2] or embrace[3] one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Riches![4] MT6:25 For this I tell you: Do not be overly concerned[5] about your soul[6] as to what you might eat or what you might drink,[7] nor about your body as to clothing.[8] MT6:26 Look well to the birds[9] in the sky, they do not sow or reap. Nor do they gather into storage barns.[10] Your heavenly Father feeds them.[11] Are you that much different?[12] MT6:27 But, who among you can add one minute to your life-span[13] by being overly concerned? MT6:28 And, why are you overly concerned about clothing? Learn something from how the flowers of the field[14] grow. They do not labor or spin.[15] MT6:29 But, I tell you: Solomon in all his glory[16] was not clothed as one of these. MT6:30 But, if The God clothes the fields of grass,[17] here today and tomorrow tossed in the oven, how much more you,[18] ones of little faith? MT6:31 So, do not be overly concerned,[19] saying, ‘What will we eat?’ Or, ‘What will we drink?’ Or, ‘What will we put on?’[20] MT6:32 For all these the Non-Jews overly seek.[21] Your heavenly Father knows you need all these.[22] MT6:33 But, you, seek first His Kingdom and righteousness[23] and all these will be added to you. MT6:34 So, do not be overly concerned about tomorrow.[24] For tomorrow will have its own concerns. The hardships of each day are enough![25]

[1] Two masters: Or, masters. 2 Timothy 2:4 expresses a similar idea by Paul.

[2] He will hate one and love the other: Various renderings are: TCNT: attach himself; BECK: be loyal to the one. Hate here means to love less of two, much as a man with two maidens to please. Woe to him if the other finds out. The disciple who slaves for Mammon, or sticks to riches by his conversation and agenda, though unknown to himself, despises his true Lord.

[3] Embrace: Or, “stick”. On the word “stick” see Deuteronomy 30:20 where it equals love and obedience. Rather than try to balance the two, God and Riches, the Friend of the Nazarene is better off sinning on the side of God and poverty than on the side of Riches and self. Better to die penniless with God as your Business Partner than end life wealthy with a lost soul as your only investment (Luke 12:20).

[4] God and Riches: It is not, “God or Riches,” but, “God and Riches.” The Nazarene says it cannot be done, though untold numbers of Christians have attempted it miserably (1 Timothy 6:7-10, 17-19). Various renderings are: KNX: you must serve God or money; you cannot serve both. This is an impossibility illustrated by the mental image of a poor servant running back and forth between the two demands of two different lords. He is obediently with the one when the other requires his service. Riches can easily become a taskmaster greater than God. Riches can become God itself.

In the modern Western capitalist world there are millions of Christians trying to do the very thing the Nazarene said cannot be done: serve God and Riches. There are those Prosperity Preachers who speak in the voice of Revelation 3:17 and who insist riches are proof of God’s blessing. They particularly encourage tithing and giving one’s money to them in promise of God’s blessing. The Nazarene Saint has only to look at the life-style of the Master and those early disciples to see what Jesus meant.

[5] Overly concerned: Various renderings are: KJ: take no thought for your life; WMS: stop worrying about your life; NEB: put away anxious thoughts. Stop! This is a negative command of the Nazarene, and based on John 15:14 and John 14:15, a failure to obey this directive proves one does not love him, nor is a friend of the Lord. To persist in anxiety and worry is a desertion of Christ. For those hapless and bedarkened souls who suffer physical and chemical ailments are captive to frightening insecurities and paranoia. Note Paul’s “secret” at Philippians 4:6, 12.

The affects of worry, anxiety, and being overly concerned about material matters, can have a strong influence on neighbor love, for one may be so occupied with these secular things as to ignore one’s neighbor.

[6] Soul: The Greek is PSYCHE and many translate this “life.” It is interesting that it is the “soul” linked to the functions of eating and drinking and then the “body” (SOMA) with clothing. In Hebrew and Greek the “soul” is the living, breathing creature itself and at death becomes “a dead soul.” (Leviticus 21:11; Numbers 6:6, 11: dead soul) To Paul the “soul” is the animal, physical, earthly, dusty, corruptible, mortal (1 Corinthians 15:42-49). See lexicons and dictionaries on “soul.”

[7] Drink: Usually this does not mean water but wine or milk as both were staples.

[8] Clothing: In the world of the Nazarene the majority of people possessed a single set of clothes meant to last a life-time. Note Matthew 5:40; 9:16, 20, 21; 11:8; 24:18; Luke 22:36; John 19:25. The “naked” state mentioned in Matthew 25:36 can infer improperly clothed for the conditions.

[9] Birds: In Luke 12:23, 24 these “birds” are “ravens,” the bird which Noah released first (Genesis 8:7), and which fed Elijah (1 Kings 17:4, 6). The raven is considered the smartest of birds, mate for life, and is the most wide-ranging of all birds. It is found on Mount Everest, in the worst of deserts, and the Arctic. Job 38:41 is a foreview of the Nazarene’s words,

‘Who provides the ravens food when its young cry to God for help?’

[10] They do not sow or reap. Nor do they gather into storage barns: According to the Nazarene birds do not toil, but they survive. Jesus is encouraging the simple life in which toil is non-existent. For three and a half years Jesus did not toil, nor did his disciples until that day they lost faith and returned to their fishing businesses (John 21:1-19).

[11] Father feeds them: The Nazarene credits God for feeding the birds even as Job 38:41 states. If the Nazarene has this kind of conviction, how can one of his disciples not trust God to care.

[12] Different: Many translate DIAPHERETE as “worth” and this may be well, but one can see the English corruption “different” in the word. Regarding “worth” each person has a value or worth and in the Nazarene’s absurdum the disciples can see their true value in the eyes of the Creator of sparrows which sell for little in the market (Matthew 10:29).

[13] Add one minute to your life-span: Various renderings: GDSP: which of you with all his worry can add a single hour to his life span; TCNT: prolong his life a single moment; PHI: make himself an inch taller. Note Psalm 39:4, 5: life; Psalm 90:10: seventy or eighty years. Unknown then, but presumed by human reasoning, and now confirmed by medical studies, anxiety does not prolong life, but shortens it, in a painfully slow and a daily agonizing death.

[14] Flowers of the field: Some identify the flower with the lily. Compare Matthew 11:28 and Proverbs 23:4: toil. These beauties of the field neither toil nor sow and are an example for the Nazarene disciple (Matthew 6:26).

[15] They do not labor or spin: The bird does not gather or store, and the flower does not labor or spin, and the Nazarene infers this is an example for his disciples. The storage and labor here are of a material kind. No one could argue that the Nazarene or Paul did not labor and toil, but this they did in the Master’s harvest. Compare Paul’s arguments in 1 Corinthians 9:3-18.

[16] Solomon in all his glory: Note Solomon’s wealth at 1 Kings 10:5 and read of his endeavors in Ecclesiastes ch 2, where he admits the futility or vanity of what appears to be security in material things. Note his conclusions at Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. The Queen of Sheba, so overcome at Solomon’s wealth, may have been unimpressed by the humble lifestyle of the Nazarene.

[17] The God clothes the fields of grass: The Nazarene credits God for the carpets of flowers.

[18] How much more you: See Luke 12:28. The standard clothing of the poor in the days of the Nazarene was three layers of covering, the outer of such a nature to serve also as a night blanket, or a tent in foul weather. This served a lifetime and was so well made and needful as to be a guarantee against a debt (Matthew 5:40). Such a pledge had to be returned before night. It is doubtful Jesus had a wardrobe that allowed a daily, weekly, or even monthly change of apparel. Note Matthew 11:8 where soft or fine garments are found in king’s castles and splendid, luxurious dress in royal houses (Luke 7:25). These fine clothes may be beautiful and carry a delicate feel to the skin, but useless for the night bivouac of a wandering troop of itinerant teachers spending the occasional evening under the stars with God as their blanket, their only entertainment the nocturnal crickets, frogs and owls. Who among those genuine disciples of the Nazarene would not give everything they possess to spend one such night under the open celestial darkness with Jesus. Then to listen to his restful breathing in that Innocent’s sleep, only to wonder of such divine dreams?

In the Western world much time is spent in shopping at luxurious malls, which would rival the pyramids in their architecture, and absorb untold hours of dressing and undressing, only to have clothes hang limp in the darkness of a closet.

[19] Not be overly concerned: See Luke 12:29: worry. Various renderings: PHI: do not worry. ‘Stop worrying!’ is a Nazarene command (John 14:15). To worry or be unduly anxious is a desertion of Christ. Better to die of starvation or thirst or nakedness than to give in to anxiety over transient things.

Note the austere sincerity of Peter’s haste to build a mountain bivouac from available boughs, for those august personages of Moses and Elijah, so they had some shelter from the lofty mountain’s night – a heart so sweet and swift in its goodness. Such an enthusiastic suggestion is unthinkable in the modern Western world where one would rather worry about the credit limit on a gold bankcard and where the nearest luxury hotel was, let alone have the knowledge to build such a temporary shelter (Matthew 17:1, 4).

[20] ‘What will we eat?’ Or, ‘What will we drink?’ Or, ‘What will we put on?’: These questions seem out of place to a Western reader where these are the least of one’s problems. In Third World Countries these are still timely questions of daily concern. In the West most are struggling with various weight programs, drink too much, and have closets filled with unused clothing. A woman dressing for the evening may go through a dozen changes before the mirror, try on several pairs of heels, select from drawers of jewelry and choose from dozens of perfumes.

However, the spirit of the Nazarene’s teachings ought to ring in the ears of the Saint living near the top of the social and economic pyramid: seek a life of simplicity with a generous eye toward the less fortunate. It is Paul who instructs the missionary Timothy to “give orders to the rich.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19) Who dare do that today? What Christian pastor has the courage to even read these words without rationalizing to his affluent congregation?

[21] Non-Jews overly seek: And the Nazarene would have to admit, and perhaps he avoids saying so, many Jews of his world sought the same. Various renderings: BECK: the people of the world run after all these things. These words were not lost on the Nazarene’s beloved when John writes

‘Do not love the world and its things… for all worldly things (fleshly desire, greedy eyes, and self-assuming materialism) are not of the Father.’ (1 John 2:15, 16)

Here “things” are merely food, drink and clothing and this is ludicrous in a modern Western society where payments for debts on autos, mobile phones, TV cable-hookups, electricity for refrigerators, and other modern conveniences make economic slaves of men, their wives and families. Jesus’ sermon would be meaningless to a modern audience in America or Europe accept for those unfortunate living on the street and who have fallen outside the sumptuous table of capitalist and social democratic orders.

[22] Father knows you need all these: The comforting thought that God knows our needs saturates the Psalms. If there is one group of peoples the Almighty pays close attention to, it is the poor (1 Timothy 6:8; Philippians 4:12). The word “poor” occurs 117, times with Psalms having the most occurrences (23 times). A comparison of a concordance on the words poor, poverty, affliction, or oppressed, will reveal God’s loving care for such multitudes.

[23] Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness: First the Kingdom, and then God’s righteousness, not some other standard (See Romans 14:17: kingdom). Various renderings are: PHI: set your heart on his kingdom; RIEU: pursue the kingdom; BECK: first be eager to have God as your King; GDSP: but you must make his kingdom and uprightness your greatest care. When the Nazarene here uses the word “kingdom” he first means that opportunity to gain entrance into the kingdom or realm of the Son which is the Church, the Nazarene Community of Christian Saints with its heavenly call (Matthew 13:41; Colossians 1:12; Hebrews 3:1). This “righteousness” is not that of the Law but those commandments of the Lord (John 14:15; 1John 3:23).

[24] Do not be overly concerned about tomorrow: Apparently he does not mean ‘give no thought of the morrow’ for the Nazarene himself prepares for the future day on occasion. The Greek MERIMNESETE may be rendered anxious or worry. It is often used in the context of “concern” and thus the use of “overly concerned.” Some reasonable concern is necessary as shown in Jesus’ instructions regarding the colt and the upper room. Compare Job 14:1 and Exodus 16:4, 19: depression. Various renderings are: MOF: so never be troubled; KNX: do not fret.

Note a practical commentary on this verse at Philippians 4:11-13. It takes a certain natural or developed bent of mind to trust in God to such an extent and the majority of Christians who ever lived were not of this caliber. Paul, after the Nazarene’s model, was such a person who took the Lord’s word at face value and lived his life accordingly. An unnamed scribe, overcome by the crowds, and the healing works of this wandering Rabbi, offered, ‘I will follow you anywhere.’ Jesus’ simple reply pointed the difficult way,

‘Foxes have dens, birds have roosts, but I have nowhere to sleep. Come, follow me!’ (Matthew 8:18-22)

Words and promises are big but deeds and examples are few. Today millions are spent on treatment for anxiety and depression. It is obvious the more things one has to care for or worry about, the more anxiety occupies and distracts, leading to those modern ills. In the end, even the most security conscious have no control over his finances, his life, his inheritance. For an example, a commentary on this verse, there is none better than Luke 12:13-34.

‘Tomorrow will have its own concerns.’ You can rely on this as much as death and taxes! One day at a time, as the AA phrase goes, is right out of the Nazarene’s teachings. Most anxieties are not worth the time and energy wasted on them, for those real fears do not materialize in most cases; and in those justified cases, the majority of time there is little that can be done about them. Each day’s badness, evil, or anxieties is sufficient, so why fret about those which have not yet appeared? Why add to it all by anxiety and those attitudes and actions which it creates?

[25] Hardships of each day are enough: There are those “hardships” which are beyond our control, like an earthquake, or the outbreak of war, or a wave of persecution, or sudden illness. There are those hardships which we bring upon ourselves by bad decisions, laziness, stupidity, or poor preparation.

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Preceding articles

Back from gone #2 Aim of godly people

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 3 Forgiveness and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 4 Treasures’ and neighbour love

Man enticed to long for more

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Additional reading

  1. 19° century Londoners, religion and heretical opinions
  2. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  3. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  4. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
  5. When discouraged facing opposition
  6. Fearing the right person
  7. Dealing with worries in our lives
  8. Give your worries to God
  9. Look for today
  10. Rejoicing in the day
  11. God Feeds The Birds
  12. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #1 Prosperity

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Further reading

  1. Today’s Scripture – September 26, 2016
  2. Sermon on Matthew 6.24-34 (Audio)
  3. Two Masters
  4. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: God or Mammon
  5. Seek First The Kingdom Of GOD: Two Masters – What is Mammon?
  6. FAact Food #673 The English word ‘mammon’ is a direct rip-off from Latin’s ‘mammona’ meaning ‘wealth’. In the New Testament of the Bible, the term ‘mammon’ is associated with greedy pursuit of profit through …
  7. Seek First The Kingdom Of God: Two Masters – You Can Serve Only One
  8. The Idols of the Nations
  9. Mammon: Word of the day for September 13, 2016
  10. Do You Know The Word Mammon?
  11. “Mammon : The desire for wealth personified as an evil spirit or a malign influence. Often mammon:…”
  12. Mammon
  13. Mammon 2
  14. Mammon 3
  15. Mammon, Mountains and Donations
  16. God or mammon?
  17. God and Mammon (Revisited)
  18. God or Money
  19. 24 October: Mammon, money, need and greed
  20. Duchies of Hell: Mammon
  21. Mighty Mammon vs. Almighty God
  22. Christians Side With Mammon. Mammon Sided with Barabbas
  23. The Betrayal of Jesus: Then and Now
  24. Should Christians Buy Stocks?
  25. Immanuel Kant Interlude – Compulsory Idleness
  26. Daily Mass: Whom do you serve, God or mammon? Catholic Inspiration
  27. 12 April, Relics X: Blood Money
  28. James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 4:1-17
  29. Help Us Dear Lord Not To Call You A Liar – Part 3
  30. Money and Happiness
  31. The greatest world religion? – materialism!
  32. The Almighty Dollar
  33. Do You Love Money?
  34. Need
  35. God Almighty, or the god of money?
  36. God wants us to be free from bondage to greed
  37. You Cannot Serve Both God & Riches
  38. Christianity held hostage
  39. Propensity for Prosperity
  40. Oh Lord Won’t You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz?
  41. Christianity Targeted by Corrupt Government
  42. Worship only God
  43. Prosperity Preachers
  44. The False Doctrine of Prosperity Preachers
  45. I Wrestled With A Preacher In My Dreams

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Man enticed to long for more

From the onset of times the human beings showed the want for more. The woman was enticed by what God asked her not to touch.

Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden

Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For the first man and mannin the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, in the middle of the Garden of Eden, looked so attractive because they knew it could give something they had  not yet. They too wanted to have knowledge of good and evil like their Creator had. They longed for having as much knowledge and power as their Divine Maker had. This is their greed, because they had everything what a man needs. Everything was provide for by the Most Highest.

Though the thoughts of the man and mannin, Adam and Eve, was preoccupied with gain. They thought it could well be that God hold something hidden for them, which they too could use. As such they did not trust God and showed how they wanted to come on the same level as Him and that they wanted ore than He had given them.

The giving in to the temptation (the nachash) was bringing them to mutiny, revolting against their Divine Maker.

It is that revolt against the Divine Creator that still bothers mankind today. Today also the preoccupation with material things rather than intellectual or spiritual things brings people further away from God. Having received the knowledge of good and evil each individual should know what is good and what is bad. People who have come to the Christian faith for sure should know that when they are preoccupied with material things, that would be definitely wrong.

We do not say that you as a Christian may not have your own house, a car, a television or hifi set. There is no objection against having material things, but the obsession with acquiring and caring for “stuff” is a dangerous thing for the Christian.

Already in the Garden of Eden God gave a signal that He wants an intense connection with man. Man’s thought should go in the first instance to its Maker. After man got expelled from the Garden of Eden God insisted still to have a pure connection with Him, not giving more attention to material objects or subjects, not having idols placed in a higher ranking than the God above all gods.

Man has to be careful how he treats others and how he gives attention and obligation or glorification to others. Any preoccupation, obsession or fascination with anything other than God, man should know, is something what displeases God. He wants us to love us above all persons and above all things. It is with all our heart that we should give honour to the Most High.

“Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV)

Jesus called that love for God the first and greatest commandment. (Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27). All our passion and prayer and intelligence should go in the first instance to Jehovah God.  When we do that we shall be able to find life.

“”You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”” (Luke 10:28 NIV)

therefore we should be very careful and attentive into what we put our energy and for what we want to strive. It is what is deep in our heart that God knows. He knows what we rally want and wherefore we long.  In our heart should be the choice for God and not for material things.

The Elohim, Jehovah God should be our focus. Our eyes should be directed on Him.  He alone is worthy of our complete attention, love and service. To offer these things to anything, or anyone, else is idolatry.

We should recognise that when we are wanting for other things than those which are important in the Eyes of God, than we fall for the weakness of man.

The end of the Edenic period, Adam and Eve are...

The end of the Edenic period, Adam and Eve are thrust into a bleak Antediluvian world. Thomas Cole, 1828 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is true, man is caught up in the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things that have entered this world and choke it. But we should know that the material gain the world wants us to believe would make us happy, is just an empty soap bell.

“but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.” (Mark 4:19 NIV)

We should not be fashioned according to this world, but should listen to the words of the sent ones from God, like to Jesus Christ, and follow the examples of them, living in humility and simplicity, always following not our will but the Will of God.

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)

We must come to see that the word of material wealth proves unfruitful. We are cheating ourselves by thinking that we will be happy or more fulfilled or content if only we had more of whatever it is we are chasing. This is a lie from the father of lies, satan, which every adversary of God still wants us to believe today that we better not believe in God and try to earn as much money as possible in every way we can. Many are using bad ways to gain capital and do not mind what others may think of it or worse what God might think of it. Though for sure God shall take it into account. One day there shall be a moment of judgement for man. Then it will be time to justify for the actions that one has taken.

Those adversaries of God wants us to be chasing after something they know will never satisfy us so we will be kept from pursuing that which is the only thing that can satisfy — God Himself.

Many are blinded by those satans and do not come to see that the financial gain or the material wealth is the mammon, the killer of mankind.

All should know that one cannot serve both God and money.

“”No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”” (Luke 16:13 NIV)

When we put our eyes on that material gain we shall be deceived and disgusted to continually feeling dissatisfied, never feeling contented. We must seek to be content with what we have, and materialism is the exact opposite of that contentment. It causes us to strive for more and more and more, all the while telling us that this will be the answer to all our needs and dreams.

The infallible Word of God sheds light on how human beings best live and unto what they best give attention in their life. That life does not get its satisfaction in the abundance of the things which a person can come to possess.

“Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”” (Luke 12:15 NIV)

Man’s eyes should be focused on that what is much more important in life than the treasures of this world: the Kingdom of God.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

Long before the master teacher Jeshua was born there was a man who had enough material wealth as one of the richest kings of the world. King Solomon had no shortage of anything and had absolutely everything what he desired. Though he also came aware that was not really what brought him happiness.  He declared,

“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 5:10 NIV)

Be aware that whoever loves wealth shall never be satisfied with his income. Perhaps it can take a long time before we come to such awareness. In the end, Solomon came to the conclusion that there is one greater thing we do have to bear in mind.

“Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 NIV)

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Preceding articles

Building up the spirit of the soul

Back from gone #2 Aim of godly people

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 3 Forgiveness and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 4 Treasures’ and neighbour love

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Additional reading

  1. God above all gods
  2. An openingschapter explaining why things are like they are and why we may have hope for better things
  3. Bereshith 2 Man and Woman placed in a Royal Garden
  4. Orders for the first human beings and Rebellion against their Maker
  5. The figure of Eve
  6. Moment of getting knowledge and its consequence
  7. Scattered, broken, thwarted reflection of God
  8. Sources of evil
  9. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #4 The Fall
  10. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #5 Temptation, assault and curse
  11. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #6 Curse and solution
  12. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #8 Looking for the 2nd Adam
  13. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  14. Faith and trial
  15. No good thing will he withhold

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Further reading

    1. Living
    2. Need and Want
    3. Livable Wages
    4. Greed
    5. Vanity and Greed
    6. Thingamabobs? I Got Twenty… I Want More!
    7. The Price Of Keep Wanting More.
    8. Greed for money
    9. An irrational reward system
    10. Our Entire Economy Is Based On A Massive LIE That Is Killing People
    11. Greed is God: How economics became a religion
    12. How much is enough?
    13. Too Much Stuff (Part 2)
    14. Enough by John C. Bogle
    15. They Deceived Him
    16. A Holy Judgement 
    17. When Does It All End?
    18. That there are people who are convinced they can give more to their family and should not bother about it proves Jack Bennett with his text: No Shame In Wanting More
    19. But that there are some things we can do without and some things we cannot do without, such as a clean conscience and a useful life, may give to ponder you the text:Quotes of Note #9 On Money & Wealth
    20. The power of greed’: Greed is one of Christianity’s seven deadly sins, and it predates capitalism. In our society, who is greedier – the consumer or the capitalist? Are there any positive aspects to greed?
    21. The Price is Wrong: No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Mat 6:24, ESV)
    22. Rich Toward God While they may not be mutually exclusive, if we are honest with ourselves, they frequently are in competition. Pursuing possessions on earth often has a way of cutting into laying up treasures in heaven.
    23. Avoiding covetous distractions
    24. Quick Thought – Monday, July 17, 2017
    25. Jesus Was Out
    26. Four things that kill the fire of God 
    27. Stop The Greed
    28. Starve the beast
    29. Self-discipline: How Much Land Does a Man Need? by Leo Tolstoy
    30. The Rich Man and Lazarus
    31. Generosity by Johannes Brahms
    32. 2 Kings Chapter 15
    33. No Other Gods
    34. Idols In The Temple, Part One
    35. Why Is God Jealous?
    36. 3 Kinds of Idolatry
    37. Patriotism — self-examination losing out to self-infatuation? “Patriotism is the go-to religion of those who would worship a super-sized version of themselves and seldom quibble to persecute non-believers, foreigners and conscientious objectors. It is a grandiose
    38. Depravity may lie in two extremes
    39. Conversion
    40. Whose God is it anyway?
    41. Modern Romans
    42. Why Make Idols?
    43. Evangelicalism’s Golden Calf
    44. Shabbat Balak: the Holy and the Idolatrous
    45. Weekly Torah Commentary – Mattot-Maasei July 21, 2017
    46. The Problem of American Worship
    47. Whom are you serving?
    48. Verse of the month: July 2017

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  1. Related articles

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 4 Treasures’ and neighbour love

Matthew 6:19-23

d) ‘Treasures’ and neighbor love

|| Luke 11:34-36

MT6:19 “Do not[1] treasure[2] up for yourselves ‘treasures’ on earth where moth and rust consume[3] and where thieves break in and steal. MT6:20 But, treasure up ‘treasures’ in heaven[4] where neither moth nor rust consume and where thieves cannot break in and steal. MT6:21 For where your ‘treasure’ is there your heart will be also.[5] MT6:22 The lamp of the body is the eye.[6] So, if your eye is focused right[7] your whole body will know the Way. MT6:23 But, if your eye is focused wrong[8] your whole body will be blind.[9] So, if the ‘Light’ in you is ‘Dark’[10] – O, how much darkness!

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[1] Do not: The negative commands of the Nazarene. The phrase “do not” occurs over 200 times in the Gospels. The Nazarene says,

‘Those that love me, my true friends, will keep my commandments.’ (John 14:15; 15:12, 14)

There about 60 “commands” of the Nazarene in the Gospels, some negative, some positive. In the 600 laws of Moses it is estimated by some that 60% are negative and 40% positive. For a complete consideration read Nazarene Commandments©.

[2] Treasure: This is the Greek word from which the English thesaurus comes. The word occurs 15 times in Matthew and Luke. A more modern word for it would be “save” or “store.” Compare Luke 12:20: savings. Various renderings: store up no treasures for yourselves; don’t pile up treasures on earth. Is it fair to state that the Nazarene discouraged “savings” in a material sense? In all the Christian Bible there are only two exhortations to “save.” (1 Corinthians 16:2; Ephesians 4:28) Both deal with “saving” in order to give to those in need. One cannot “save” and at the same time ‘sell belongings to give to the poor’ (Luke 12:33). Unless this be a brief and momentary storage in preparation to give to the needy.

Stop saving! is a Nazarene command not to horde or store despite any supposed encouragement in the Solomonic Proverbs to the contrary. Whatever the Proverbs might counsel, ‘God now speaks by His Son.’ (Hebrews 1:1) This is a severe test of faith when the Western or Capitalist World is encouraging exactly the opposite.

The Nazarene and his disciples lived what he taught. Ghandi noted that Jesus was the only religious leader who actually lived what he preached. Solomon had a yearly income of 666 talents of gold. But, Jesus and Peter were unable to come up with the Temple tax, something like two-bits, and had to resort to a piscerian miracle to pay their proper debt so as not to stumble any (Matthew 17:25-27).

Money, material things, possessions and property (riches) can have a powerful influence on love of neighbor. Nothing can injure relations between friends or brothers more than riches. Seldom do the rich or propertied socialize with the poor or needy. These two classes have been separated from that first moment money was invented.

[3] Consume: It is true that in modern times rust and moths do not have the same affect on money as in the First Century. However, there are still thieves, and more importantly there is always the danger of electronic viruses, or transmission failures, or banking collapses that endanger hard earned savings. There is a prophetic warning in The Apocalypse about a future world power with the capacity to enforce the entire globe to use an “engraving” in order to “buy or sell.” (Revelation ch. 13) So, there are other forms of “moths” and “rust” and “thieves,” as property and financial accounts exist in an electronic atmosphere of computer wizardry always dependent on electric power, and totally under the control of economic powers, constantly manipulating stock markets, and materialistic institutions under the control of greedy persons world-wide.

[4] Heaven: The Celestial Bank protected by God! (Note Luke 12:33, 34: sell and heart; Luke 16:9: friends) Various renderings: WMS: keep on storing up your riches in heaven. Heavenly treasure is God’s view of what is valuable (Proverbs 2:1-9: treasure) and it includes the “gold” of faith founded on Christ (1 Corinthians 3:12 and 1 Peter 1:7: tested faith). The Greek for “treasure” is the English “thesaurus” which is a dictionary of words. This is apropos with regard to the Divine Thesaurus found in the Holy Scriptures (2 Timothy 3:16: inspired).

[5] Where your ‘treasure’ is there your heart will be also: It is left to the heart of each Friend of the Nazarene to determine the degree these teachings will be followed. Each person is in a different set of circumstances. However, the spirit of all of this cannot be ignored (1 Timothy 6:9, 10: materialism). There is no better indicator judging a person’s heart than how one uses and views money (1 John 3:17; James 2:15, 16; Matthew 25:31-46). This is surely “the bottom line” with most persons concerned about earthly credits and debits, unaware of the Divine Accountant who is keeping a perfect set of books (Revelation 20:12-14). Most will find themselves in the “red” with God, and unless they repentantly plead their cause and admit their materialism as a desertion of Christ, they can expect no payment except that gleaned from earthly coffers.

One way to judge the “heart” is what a person talks about. That is, what are the main subjects that occupy a persons dialogue and communications? Is the central topic those things of a spiritual nature, or do material matters dominate speech? (Consider Ephesians 5:3-5, 12)

[6] The lamp of the body is the eye: Still on the subject of earthly or celestial treasures, the Nazarene turns to the eye: what and how it looks at various matters. Light enters the eye as an opening to the body or the entire person as a physical entity. However, spiritual light imbues the inner person, the Nazarene Saint’s Transformed Mind. The purpose of this divine illumination is to direct each footstep in the direction of God’s path (Psalm 119:105: lamp).

[7] Focused right: The Greek involved here is APLOUS and is variously translated “simple, sincere, generous, single, unclouded.” The word occurs in various forms in contexts of simplicity and generosity (Romans 12:8; 2 Corinthians 8:2), sound or sincere (Matthew 6:22; Luke 11:34), and, liberal (James 1:5). It seems to us the Nazarene’s subject is how we view matters and if our eye is healthy, and therefore focuses well, we will look properly on things and persons. The simple eye is generous in giving because it does not fret or worry about tomorrow’s anxieties, and so the view or focus on the morrow is bright with gleaming hopes of that “real life” only God can give (1 Timothy 6:19: real life).

Adam’s “eye” was focused wrongly and rather than see the Tree as harmful he viewed it as good (Genesis 3:6). Note the Nazarene’s offer of “eyesalve” to the materialistic in Revelation 3:17, 18. Compare the beloved Apostle’s thought at 1 John 2:16.

Luke 11:33-36 puts the subject of the well-focused eye in the context of the light hidden under a basket. Verse 34: ‘When your eye is single (simple, sincere, generous, focused) your whole body will be illuminated.’ There are various warnings in Proverbs about eyesight and how one views or does not view something (Proverbs 4:25; 23:31). The Bible provides numerous real-life examples of the improper “eye”: Eve (Genesis 3:6); Achan (Joshua 7:21); David (2 Samuel 11:2).

The association of the eye with the word “generous” is a good one when considering Jesus’ sub theme of neighbor love and charity. Note the word “beholds” at 1 John 3:17 (James 2:15, 16). Note also: ‘The generous eye will be blessed, the one who feeds the poor’ (Proverbs 22:9); and, ‘Eat not the bread of the one with a selfish eye, nor desire his delicacies, for he inwardly figures the expense.’ (Proverbs 23:6)

[8] Focused wrong: Various renderings: KJ: evil; TCNT: diseased; MOF: if your eye is selfish; NOR: if you have poor eyesight. The wicked eye, which is wrongly focused, is the envious one who cannot be satisfied with those things already possessed, but must have more than his neighbor. Such a wrongly focused eye is covetous. The Nazarene warns at Luke 12:15:

‘With eyes wide open, guard against covetousness, because Life does not come from possessions.’

The “evil eye” is greedy and desires more of what his neighbor has and is stingy when it comes to showing love to his neighbor.

[9] Blind: The Greek literally, ‘The whole body will be dark’ inferring blindness.

[10] If the ‘Light’ in you is ‘Dark’: Various renderings are: TCNT: inner light is darkness; WMS: the very source of light in you is darkness. On the exterior there is the appearance of light as an illuminator of souls (Romans 2:19) but inside the divided heart is bedarkened by choices between God and Riches. No greater darkness can there be than the person who thinks by his riches to serve God with extravagant contributions to holy orders – often with show and often with the purchase of another Saint’s soul – believing by such charity the way into the Kingdom of God is purchased.

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Preceding articles

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 3 Forgiveness and neighbour love

Written down for God to bring us up to a virtuous life

A look at materialism

There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving

Next:

Man enticed to long for more

Anxiety and neighbor love

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Additional reading

  1. Your position about materialistic desires having conquered the world
  2. Increasing wealth gap of immense proportions in the Capitalist World
  3. Capitalism
  4. The Proper Place of Excess
  5. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  6. Charity & Egoism
  7. Learning that stuff is just stuff
  8. The Culture of Excesses- Losing Humanity
  9. Summermonths and consumerism
  10. How to Find the Meaning of Life and Reach a State of Peace
  11. Material wealth, Submission and Heaven on earth
  12. Material gain to honour God
  13. Stop and Think
  14. The Giant evil and danger for the country
  15. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  16. Not holding back and getting out of darkness
  17. Faith Over Fear
  18. Beginning a Path toward Distributism: A Brief Definition
  19. American Christianity no longer resembles its Founder
  20. How do you define religion?
  21. Reflect on how much idolizing happens
  22. From Winterdarkness into light of Spring
  23. Looking to the East and the West for Truth
  24. Message of Pope Francis I for the 48th World Communications Day
  25. Preparing for the Kingdom
  26. A way to prepare for the Kingdom
  27. Four Pressing Needs in Rural Communities, and How the Church Should Respond
  28. Trusting, Faith, calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #3 Voice of God #2 Instructions and Laws
  29. Blindness in the Christian world

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Further reading

  1. Consumerism
  2. Damned Acquisitiveness
  3. Because we are living in a material world, but I refuse to be a material girl.
  4. Materialism Today
  5. Materialism: Why happiness eludes us
  6. A message about materialism
  7. He is a slave of materialism. Dont buy things you cant afford.
  8. Materialism and the Church
  9. What is Important to You?
  10. Life, lost
  11. The Price is Wrong
  12. Ep 13: Christianity and Socialism
  13. Intro to Minimalism
  14. Our culture is damaging our well-being
  15. Quick Thought – Monday, July 17, 2017
  16. Truth lies not in the middle
  17. How Simple is Living Simply?
  18. What Did the Poor Ever Do to You?
  19. Materialists, their eye on the rear view mirror
  20. What is Right What is Wrong
  21. The Absolute Laws of Science Refute Atheism and Materialism.God scatters
  22. How some rich people are trying to dismantle inequality
  23. charity:water
  24. What would Jesus have us do?

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Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”

Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”

LK3:10 So the crowds asked John: “What shall we do?”[1] LK3:11 John told them: “The person with two outer cloaks should share[2] with the person having none, and the person with food should do the same.” LK3:12 Then tax collectors came to be baptized and they asked John: “Teacher, what shall we do?” LK3:13 John told them: “Do not collect more tax than is required by law.”[3] LK3:14 Now soldiers also asked him: “What shall we do?” John answered them: “Do not extort money[4] from anyone, and do not slander any person.[5] Be satisfied with your wages.”[6]


[1] What shall we do: Likely the question is in response to the “fruitage that befits repentance.”

[2] Share: It is interesting to note the first answer to the question, “What shall we do?” The spirit is at the center of what the Nazarene is to teach later. [Luke 6:30-35] The early Christians did this in great measure. [Acts 2, 4, 5] For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on “sharing” at Romans 12:13 and 2 Corinthians 8:14.

[3] Do not collect more tax than is required by law: Or, WMS: stop collecting any more than is prescribed for you. Compare an example at Luke 19:8.

[4] Do not extort money: Or, molest no one, rob no one, don’t use threats. It is interesting John does not tell them to leave their military service.

[5] Do not slander any person: Or, blackmail, false accusation, informing. [Exodus 23:1, 7]

[6] Be satisfied with your wages: Or, supplies, provisions. The military is always under paid for what they do.

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Preceding articles:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

Connecting articles:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

Nazarene Commentary Mark 1:1-8 – The Beginning of the Good News

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:15-17 – The Baptisms of the One Coming

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Additional reading:

  1. Creator and Blogger God 4 Expounding voice
  2. Missional hermeneutics 4/5 call to repentance
  3. Bearing fruit
  4. Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful
  5. God showing how far He is willing to go to save His children
  6. God receives us on the basis of our faith
  7. Breathing and growing with no heir
  8. Repentance and conversion are not milestones which we pass on the way of life and never see again
  9. Words to push and pull
  10. The Ecclesia
  11. The Ecclesia in the churchsystem
  12. Fellowship
  13. Re-Creating Community
  14. Bloggers for Christ and Bloggers for Peace
  15. A man who cannot forgive others
  16. God should be your hope
  17. He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

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  • Preparing the Way (graceofourlord.com)
    If this writer kept a “top ten list” of the most important chapters of scripture in the Bible, Luke Chapter 3 would almost certainly be in that list, for reasons that will hopefully become apparent by the end of this blog.
    +
    All of these things together make up the crux of what John’s commission by God is all about, as far as “to prepare the way” is concerned. This is part of what makes this chapter of Luke one of the most important in the New Testament. There has been no word from God for 400 years – since Malachi foretold the coming of John the Baptist in Malachi 3:1 and 4:5. Now comes John the Baptist, filled with the Holy Spirit and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
  • Leviticus 3-4, Luke 3 (vesselsofclay.org)
    He told them that their lives needed to reflect a passion for the things that pleased God. “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise” (Luke 3:11 ESV). He told the tax collectors to “collect no more than you are authorized to do” (Luke 3:13 ESV). He told the soldiers to “not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14 ESV).John was demanding life change. He was letting them know that their lives were going to have to be distinctively different than what they had been. It wasn’t going to be business as usual. They were to “bear fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8 ESV). Things were about to heat up. Expectations were about to ratchet up. He warned them, “even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:9 ESV). God’s expectations for holiness hadn’t changed. His demands for a people who would live holy lives and act in accordance with His Word and in keeping with their character as one of His children, had not changed.
  • Matthew 3:1-10, Mark 1:1-6, Luke 3:1-14 (oh-mag.com)
    Now as John sees the Pharisees and Sadducees coming he is indignant and asks who warned them to flee from the coming wrath. He calls them a brood of vipers – not very complimentary – likening them to a mass of evil creatures who have seen the fire approaching. John tells them to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. This is a weighty command. Later in the New Testament we see what this fruit looks like: love, joy, peace, perseverance – all of these things come from a desire to continually repent and seek God in all matters. It is the ultimate way we can know Him as Lord. John then accuses them of their thinking that just because they are Abraham’s seed they will be safe from the fires of Hell. This would have shocked not only the teachers, but the Jewish people as well.
  • Fruit of Repentance (mfmdelaware.wordpress.com)
    The fruit of repentance should be seen in you as a Christian; this is the demand of John in Matt3:8. Ceremonies are by the way, fruit yielding is more important. Through fruits, you salt the world and give light to those in darkness. By your fruit Jesus derives satisfaction, Mark11:12-13. He made them to know that He never came to abolish the law but to fulfill it. In addition, He made them to know that doing the commandments will give you the status of heaven. These are to prepare them for what He was about to teach them; immorality, divorce, tolerance, anger, lack of love, worries etc. these are the areas where human logics are being utilized to excuse the law. He gave detailed explanation to all these areas.
  • “Bear Fruits In Keeping With …” Bible Reading Thoughts for March 12th (therugbychristadelphians.wordpress.com)
    What an incredible impact the preaching of John the Baptist had!  We do not realize this at first – but there are clues here and there – look at Acts 18 v.25 and 19 v.3.  Paul comes across those at Ephesus who knew only the baptism of John– a vast distance from the Jordan.     What stood out in our chapter 3 in Luke today was the bluntness of John’s message; it was far from being simply an appeal to love your neighbour as yourself – which is the substance of the preaching in many churches today.  They had to examine themselves and change their ways and “bear fruits in keeping with repentence” – to put it bluntly, to show they were repentant by actions – not just words.
  • The Gospel of Matthew: The Messiah of Promise 3:1-12 (anchorlongbeach.wordpress.com)
    Although the Greek word for “Repentance” is Metanoia, which carries the idea of a changed mind, theologian D.A. Carson writes; “What is meant is not merely intellectual change of mind or more grief, still less doing penance…but a radical transformation of the entire person, a fundamental turnaround involving mind and action and including overtones of grief, which results in ‘fruit in keeping with repentance.’
  • – The Baptism & Death of Jesus – (hiseternalword.wordpress.com)
    Believer’s baptism is not an act of repentance but an expression of personal identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. By being baptized, those who are born again announce their severance from their former lives of sin and their possession of a new life in Christ.
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A Society pleading poverty

It is incredible how many people can get enthusiast to do the work Jesus had asked from them. All those who call themselves Christian should go out in the world and preach the Gospel of the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. Though we are afraid we can not find many Christians bringing that Good News worldwide. But it is also wrong of the Jehovah Witnesses to think they are the only ones who bear witness. We do agree the other groups, like Mormons, Abrahamic Faith, Church of God people and Biblestudents and Christadelphians are minority groups. But they also try to bring the Word of God to as many places as they can. Those groups are by a lot of people considered to be sects or cults, because they do not adhere to the mainstream believe.

Politics and acceptance

In the world it can go very strange with ideas about those preaching groups. As soon as one of the groups becomes more powerful or has something to offer politicly it can be changed. For example the Baptists in Belgium are a sect or cult according to the State committee about sects, while in the United States they are one of the mainstream churches. The Mormon Church in Belgium and the United States are also mentioned under the list of sects. But recently the Billy Graham group threw his support behind Mitt Romney due to his clear support of biblical values of marriage and opposition to abortion and lots of Americans suddenly do not consider the Mormons a cult but the best Christian value. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association seems to find Mormons being Christians like they are, and a group they do not need to evangelize, while the others are non-trinitarian and therefore not Christian and in high need to get to know Christ. The only thing is that they forget that they themselves are not following Christ Jesus as it should and that they believe other values than thought in the Holy Scriptures, the Book of books which Bible Sudents,  Jehovah Witnesses, Christadelphians, Church of Abrahamic Faith and others like Messianic Jews take as the Book to follow.

Jehovah's Witnesses House Bratislava

Jehovah’s Witnesses House Bratislava (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we can not only see hiding the light of the Gospel under a bushel in the name of politics, some groups do not mind bringing cover-up policy, like the Roman Catholic Church and the Jehovah Witnesses about the paedophilia acts of their preachers. The ongoing ‘accidents’ and ‘files being lost’ in the court case of the archbishopric Mechelen and the diocese Bruges show clearly how politics and Roman Catholic Church are still interwoven in the jurisdiction system of Belgium, though the last few years the Roman Catholic Church had to give the power over the country to the Banks. The Witnesses kept all the time quiet about the matters that went wrong between youngsters and people in charge of certain Kingdomhalls.

Sanctity of life and love

The sanctity of life is extremely imperative to our foundation of love and creation and the last few years many so called Christian organisations are making a joke out of it. The main motivating factor to do missions or to proclaim the Word of God needs to be love. This love in-comprehends the respect to others, also other believers. But those who want to proclaim the Word of God do also have to live according this Word of God. They should be an example for all people, believers and non-believers. They also should be honest to all people, believers and non-believers. It can not be that they would fool their own believers and do wrong to their own congregation. But this is what we have seen happening the last few years with the Roman Catholic Church and by the Jehovah Witnesses.

Energy, time and money spend

The apostle Paul may perhaps have written that he suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, but that does not mean that the church or organisation should take as much as they can from their followers because they should count it as of no value and have to consider any worldly material as rubbish.

Photos by Patrick Dove/Standard-TimesSan Angelo members of the Jehovah's Witnesses faith walk into a new Kingdom Hall built on Pullium Street across from the Shannon Health System's St. John's Campus. The new building can hold both English- and Spanish-speaking services at the same time.

San Angelo members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith walk into a new Kingdom Hall built on Pullium Street across from the Shannon Health System’s St. John’s Campus. The new building can hold both English- and Spanish-speaking services at the same time. – Photo by Patrick Dove/Standard-Times

For years the people who followed the Watchtower Society gave all of their best to the Society with the idea they where giving everything for the Work of God. And yes it is good that we can give to the work of God, and we should do that. But when we give our time and money to an organisation to do the work of God, they have to value it and make good use of it. Lots of Jehovah Witnesses have been motivated by love, when they did their preaching work. From door to door they went and offered leaflets and Watchtower brochures to the people to whom they could talk to. Several did it for many years without regretting the work they do or did. Others you can see at their faces  or at their customary uniform clothing that they are not so interested any more and that it has become a burden. With other organisations mostly the people quit if things get tough, but we must say that those Jehovah Witnesses, no matter what happens, continue in their ardent task of telling others about the end times.

A heart for work

The church is the tool God uses to push his good news into every hidden corner of the planet to shine his glorious light and God uses many people all over the world to do His job on earth. those who can do such work in love of the Almighty should be pleased to do it. Organisations who can have enough people willing to join the work should be glad and thank God for them.

“Do You Have ‘a Heart for Working’?” has been asked worldwide at the three-day conventions of the Jehovah Witnesses.

Nehemiah made many sacrifices to see that the walls in Jerusalem were rebuilt and the gates remade so as to give God’s restored people a secure future. There is an article regularly featured in the Watchtower magazine entitled “Learn from God’s Word.” It helps others and the faithful to deepen their knowledge of God, His Will and purpose.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, (Colossians 3:23) is written in the Holy Scriptures, so many Christians do their work for their church heartily as though they were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people. So the work should be done not by mere force and necessity, grudgingly, and with murmurings, but from the heart, and with good will, having a true, real, and hearty affection for their masters, having their good and interest at heart, and a delight in their service; like the Hebrew servant, that loved his master, as also his wife and children, and therefore would not depart from him, see Exodus 21:5.

Christian empires

As such many people also devote their time for their organisation to build up a congregation. Over the years the Watch Tower Society could build up, like the Roman Catholic Church did in previous centuries, a great empire. They managed to buy lots of grounds and buildings. All over the world the organisation did find enthusiast hands who could construct in a few days time a new Kingdom Hall. Often they are able to build a Kingdom Hall in less than three weeks, thanks to hundreds of volunteers who descended on the work site as part of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Regional Building Committee. People come from all parts of the country, working with members of the local congregations. It is great to see them at work and to see them so organised. People that have registered with the Regional Building Committee are put into a database according to what department they would work in. Like roofing, concrete, trimming, painting, the kitchen, electrical, plumbing, bricklaying, welding, everything is notated, registered and taken care off by volunteers. to clear such huge projects in such a short time it would cost a lot of money.  Here for those projects it are all the people of the congregation and others who voluntary give money and time to the organisation so that it may grow. and it has grown enormously.

Assets

Strangely enough, the organisation pretends now that it has not enough assets to help out on those in affliction because certain things went wrong at certain of their congregations.

For more than 70 years, the Watch Tower Society has prided itself on its clean legal record, although this has now collapsed in dramatic fashion after a jury at the Alameda County Superior Court found Jehovah’s Witnesses legally responsible for the sexual abuse of Candace Conti, who suffered repeated molestation at the hands of a member of her congregation when only nine years old. Candace Conti, now 26 and living in Stockton, is one of the rare courageous girls who dared to take legal action against the organisation. As in many other cases the congregation and the Watchtower Society concealed the important information from her parents. In showing such shocking negligence, a jury has found that the Fremont elders were acting under the Watch Tower Society’s instructions. The elders failed to report these incidents to the authorities, or warn parents in the congregation.

The Watch Tower Society has therefore been held to account for the abuse suffered by Candace, and has been ordered to pay millions of dollars both in compensation and punitive damages. Compensatory damages of $7 million have been awarded, of which the Society must pay 40%. A further $21 million is due to be paid by the Society in punitive damages. On its official website, the Society has announced it will appeal this decision. It is feared that such an appeal will potentially drag the case out over a considerable period.

Attitude taken

Worse is also the attitude the organisation further takes.

Like in the Roman Catholic Church the than still Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001 issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church’s interests ahead of child safety the Watchtower Society have seem to have like to do the same way, not loving God’s people but loving more the organisation structure and income.

In a remarkable twist, on June 20th Judge Robert D. McGuinnes ruled that the real estate assets of the Watch Tower Society were to be effectively frozen pending the outcome of the Society’s appeal against the judgement. This would mean that, for a considerable period, the Watch Tower Society would be powerless to buy, sell or exchange property without first seeking the permission of the court in Alameda. It is estimated that the total value of the Watch Tower Society’s remaining Brooklyn property portfolio alone is a staggering 1 Billion dollars.

The Watch Tower Society has been ordered to pay millions in damages for their part in the abuse suffered by Candace Conti (pictured) – Photo jwsurvey.org

Now the Society appears to be pleading poverty, indicating that it cannot afford to produce the required $17.3 million dollars by way of surety without using property instead of cash. Amazingly, the Society is prepared to put their Patterson complex (The Watchtower Educational Center) on the line over this judgement, offering it as surety rather than starting the payments. However, this remarkable proposal has been blocked by Candace’s legal team. They understandably want cash to be paid as surety, not shaky property assets during times of economic uncertainty.

The Society has described the payment of $17.3 million in damages along with the premium as something that would cause them “immediate irreparable harm and hardship”.

It is normal that such a huge sum is going to do a certain damage, but trying to get rid of the fine is not an attitude which we would like to see from an organisation who, at first got all the money from its members, and secondly has done grave mistakes. Weekly lots of magazines and other publications or distributed worldwide. For the printed work they receive cash money which is partly also transferred to the headquarters. They should bear the consequences of their acts, like they so often tell others to do, and should bear the fine.

Meltdown

We totally agree with the Jehovah Witness Cedars who writes on his blog Jehovah’s Witnesses Survey:  “Many Witnesses will no doubt be shocked to hear that the organization, said to be enjoying Jehovah’s blessing, is in such a perilous predicament that it is seemingly only $17.3 million dollars away from meltdown! They will be just as amazed to learn that the Society is seeking to effectively put Patterson on the gambling table, to be given to Candace Conti if Watchtower loses its appeal.”

The whole problem is that even ordinary members of the “anointed class” do not have a voice on decisions involving ways to go or legal and doctrinal matters, despite the Governing Body’s claim that it serves as a “representative” and “mouthpiece” to the “Faithful and Discreet Slave” anointed remnant and lots of money is involved in the structure of this worldwide organisation which has become very powerful at the cost of ‘poor’ believers.

We can wonder if it are really Jehovah Witnesses who dare to come out of one’s shell to take care that Jehovah’s name shall not be dragged through the mud by an all-powerful organisation which has become blinded by its worldly and economic power. In case those whistle-blowers are really Jehovah Witnesses, than we wish them lots of courage and appreciate it that they are trying to save all the good work that many Jehovah people have done by the years gone by. In such instance they probably shall have to play a more important  role to safeguard the name of the people who really love God and are spending so much time on the streets to get Jehovah been known all over the world.

The Watchtower Society shall have to show her real face and show the world if it would like to to save face over their doctrinal stance on child abuse, or for their very survival as a global organisation willing to keep the power over many persons worldwide!

Good reason to have cleansed the name of many preachers

In several countries elders have done things which are humanly and legally not right. Not to recognise such faults of those humans or even worse, to punish victims by humiliating them or by putting them out of the organisation is not respectful to those who have given their love and time to Jehovah and to the organisation they sincerely believe to be Jehovah’s Organisation. Many more people should have to see in the handling of these matters that it clearly shows that it is an organisation which may have the luck to receive a lot of God’s blessing, but that it is a human organisation like all the churches here on earth, and as such have humans ruling it who can do also faults like any other human being.

It can happen that people do something wrong. Not one person is without sin. So people should recognise that also in the organisation of the Jehovah Witnesses there can be people who do serious sins. what surprises us is that the people in charge of the organisation prefer covering up certain sins of elders, while the ordinary people are easier expelled and punished in a way that they even cannot have contact with family members any more.

The value and sincerity of the preaching is also pulled down. The action of the Board of Directors makes that outsiders who hear the news in the media are going to shit on the Jehovah people even more. The preaching wich is necessary shall be done a lot of damage, because the faithfulness or fidelity of the followers of the Watchtower and Tract Society shall not be appreciated by the general public.

The world needs a lot of preachers to proclaim the Word of God. The Jehovah Witnesses may have been the most known preachers who dare to tell others the Name of the God of gods. Hopefully those who leave the organisation on matters of the above mistrust shall stay convinced that Jehovah is the Only One God they should go for, and that we have to let the world to get to know His son Jesus and have to look for his return. That they shall stay clear and eager to tell the world the Truth.

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Please do read:

  1. A discussion of theology among friends What’s up with this???
  2. Jehovah’s Witnesses convention kicks off on high note
  3. It takes a village to build a kingdom
    Several years ago, the four congregations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses cq in San Angelo had a dream of building a new Kingdom Hall.
    +
    The spacious, 8,900-square-foot brick building has matching auditoriums with plenty of room for worshippers. There’s also a library, conference room, literature room, restrooms and other support rooms.
  4. The Girl Who Took On The Watchtower – Candace Conti Speaks Out
  5. The Watchtower Punished: Society loses legal battle over child abuse case
  6. Patterson on the line: Watchtower claims that paying cash bond would cause “immediate irreparable harm and hardship”
  7. “We will decide who is a predator!” – New Watchtower Instructions to Elders on Child Abuse
  8. Manifests for believers #1 Sex abuse setting fire to the powder
    In the 50s and 60s of the previous century many acolytes and young boys became confronted with not such a nice site of human nature and his urge to have physical contact. Growing older and not having been able to cope with the old trauma some got up from their quit seat and started to tell tales out of school.
  9. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
    For decades, the problem of paedophilia has been badly managed within the church and now that everything comes out of the cesspool this brought the church in discredit and got even more people leaving their church and their faith. Some wonder if you can you blame Catholics for leaving the faith when these types of attitudes run rampant in the church?  The problem becomes bigger when they do take it that “the Church” is bad and that they should not go to any church or return to the Catholic Church because they get the impression that nothing is being done to prevent abuse from happening.  It certainly doesn’t seem that the Catholic church has a screening process that will eliminate paedophiles and child molesters.
    +
    With all the tribulations and sex scandals many have lost their faith. Many do claim God for what happens in the world, but then they forget that at the beginning of the world-existence God had given men liberty to go his own way.
  10. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
    The sex-scandals in the Roman Catholic Church did already too much damage. The clergy as well as the believers needed the commotion like they needed a hole in the head. They want to adhere to the Catholic teachings but would prefer to go back to the first century church. They do think they have enough teachings provided in the Holy Bible so that men do not need to bind others to man made teachings or to restrict others by their own teachings.  They just wanted to go back to the teachings which were already part of the church life in early centuries. They also found that the church had to put away certain teachings which where brought into existence for all sorts of reasons, of which some were financial (as protecting the church property).
  11. Roman Catholic Church at war
  12. Breathing to teach
  13. Representatives of the “Slave Class” or the Real “faithful and discreet slave”
  14. Breathing and growing with no heir
    Some may think we aren’t called to just preach. Jesus has given the major task to his followers to go out in the world and to let the Good News be known wherever they go. We also as followers of Christ Jesus should let others know that marvellous Good News.We have marvellous tools which brings us very easily much further than the doorstep.
    Jehovah Witnesses for a long time took it for granted it was the best way to reach people by bothering them at any moment of the day, ringing the bell and talking to them at the doorstep. But it seems that they today, also have found the modern means of the computer and internet. On the internet they now seem to have opened up and present more literature to the general public. Which is nice, because they also have very good literature, which can bring many more people to God.

    But, we should not let them do all the work, and let them get people in their Kingdom hall, while we have other thoughts of which we are sure they are also valuable for the people and leaving them more free. We should get others to know that there are other places of worship where honest God loving people can come together as a congregation.They may offer over there Theocratic Ministry School with a common global curriculum and nest to the weekly services with Watchtower-study they also may offer Pioneer Service School for full-time preachers, and the Kingdom Ministry School for elders and ministerial servants. The Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah Witnesses should be known as the only sort of kingdom hall the world offers good Bible teaching and worship to the One and Only God.

    We should be more conscious that we also have a lot to offer to the unbelievers and those looking for the Truth. We Can offer the Truth, but than we may not stay in our little cocoon of our armchair at home. We should get off our ass and do something.

    It is more than high time that more people would come out of their house and take up the task Jesus has given them.

  15. Which back voters in the US wants to see
  16. Mormons, just an other faith

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  • Cult or True Religion (wordsonsergebenhayon.wordpress.com)
    “…if you believe in it, it is a religion or perhaps ‘the’ religion; and if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect; but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult.” Leo Pfeffer.
    +
    Call someone a name and you don’t have to refute their argument – it makes it easy to toss it aside as the workings of a potentially crazed mind rather than something that may be of value, truth and substance.Why are there two separate words in the English language – cult and religion – that are understood by most to refer to two separate things. Calling new religions ‘cults’ is a very clever scare tactic used by the older religions in order to protect their market share. Christianity sees other religions that do not follow its version of doctrine as cults… so that makes all Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, followers of Islam plus all other religions, and thus a very large proportion of the population, cult members on those grounds.
  • Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
    it seems that Mormonism is no longer a “cult”
    +
    now even the walking-Evangelical-saint Billy Graham has sacrificed doctrine for politics, that his desire for a Republican in the White House has transcended his commitment to the distinctives of his Southern Baptist religious faith.
    +
    The Graham definition above—”any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith”—is similarly problematic. How would this definition include Jehovah’s Witnesses but not Roman Catholics? How would it include Unitarian Universalists but not Mormons? Isn’t it true that all of these groups (and many more) would deviate from most Evangelicals’ understanding of “the biblical message of the Christian faith”?
  • Defining Christianity (reneland.wordpress.com)
    I recently had a very good friend of mine who is Catholic and went to a Catholic school until the 9th grade say to me that she wasn’t a Christian, she was a Catholic. She said that the nuns told her she wasn’t Christian.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses (calltoprayerministries.wordpress.com) {the writer of this article does not seem to see what it really means to be a ‘Christian’ and wants to take hold only on a sort-sighted vision.}
    Jehovah’s Witnesses come up in conversation more times than one might think. I guess that it’s because there are many people who know JW’s and there don’t seem to be many obvious differences between their faith and ours. Many JW’s are nice people, talk about Jesus, share their faith, and care about their families… just like Christians. So what are the differences? Are they just a different kind of Christian?
  • ‘Mormonism’ Taken off Site’s Cult List (abcnews.go.com)
    The prominent Christian evangelist Billy Graham has taken public steps to embrace Mitt Romney for president this week, removing Romney’s Mormon religion from a list of cults on his website and taking out an advertisement that appears to urge people to vote for Romney.
  • Billy Graham Offers To Help Mormon Mitt Romney And Then Removes Section From Website Calling Mormonism A Cult! (soulrefuge.org)
    The scriptures make it very clear that true believers in Jesus Christ should not be “yoked” together with unbelievers. Why would any true Christian want to help and support a Mormon who teaches that Jesus Christ is the spirit brother of Lucifer?
    +
  • Billy Graham Risks His “Legacy” By Scrubbing His Website Of Mormonism Cult Reference, But He Also Changed His Views About The Cult Of Rome Over 50 Years Ago (soulrefuge.org)
  • Grahams tighten Romney ties (newsobserver.com)
  • Mormons off Graham’s ‘cult’ list (upi.com)

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