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Are You Following Christ Or Something Else?

July 8, 2016

Greetings,

Question?  Are you free in Christ or are you following some other human philosophy?  There are a ton of other belief systems out there to follow.  Many of them even say they are “Christian”, but just who are you following?

” See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

Are you sure that it is Jesus that you are following?  Or are you involved in something else with a little bit of Jesus tossed in there to make it seem alright?  Many people follow things because of tradition, but Jesus warned us about possibly nullifying the Word of God for the sake of tradition. (Matthew 15:6)  Just because something is traditional that does not mean that it is a good or Godly thing.  Many “church” activities fall into this category.  Like sermons, tithing, building funds, and the Clergy/Laity division.

There are many teachings and philosophies out there that are based on the world’s principles and not Christ.  Like the prosperity doctrine of giving to God so you can get back more.  Or the church following a modern business model of CEO/Pastor Leadership instead of being equal sibling servant peers like Jesus taught.  Or having male only leadership and treating women as second class citizens in the Church.  Any top down pyramid structure is NOT of God.  Yet for the sake of fellowship and unity many fall right in line and start goose stepping away as they follow the ways of man right to the bitter end.

Hollow and deceptive philosophies, human traditions, and basic principals of the world, these phrases perfectly describe much of what we call “Church” in this day and age.  Ton’s of “Christian” bookstores peddle and sell these things every single day.  People buy into this stuff hook, line and sinker all the time.  And when anyone begins to denounce and challenge these evil and seductive wares, they are quickly labeled a “heretic”.  The world’s system always seeks to protect itself at any and all cost…while Jesus and His true followers “turn the other cheek”.

What are we to do in an atmosphere such as this?  We are to “look after widows and orphans in their  distress and to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)  My friends most of the modern “church” is neck deep in the ways and philosophies of the world.  What they call Gospel is a self serving way of life that devours everything in its path, but we are supposed to deny ourselves take up our cross and follow Him daily.  Plus we are to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)

QUESTION EVERYTHING!!!  Don’t fall in line and follow just because others have made that terrible mistake.  Be very careful of who and what you align yourself with.  We are called to be FREE in Christ.  So don’t allow yourself to be sucked into the methods and ways of the world just because it looks good from a distance.  Pray and examine everything!  There is still truth and love out there to be found.  True fellowship is also out there waiting for you to find it.  There are other “heretics” out there that love and follow Jesus and have avoided the world system.  But always remember, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Love and ……

Kirk Out !

P.s.  Jesus is the real thing, accept no substitutes. “A clean object can obstruct your vision as well as a dirty one.” Nee

 

 

 

 

 

 

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8 Comments
  1. Tom Ball permalink

    Hi Chris: I very much agree, it is Jesus we must follow, not someone or something else.

    I have appreciated your persuasive, indeed your often times eloquent, depictions of the sweet richness of free form worship. About this worship form I feel I have been well instructed. Experience has a way of making things crystal clear. For that, I thank you.

    I wonder now. though, who or what Paul was following when he appointed leaders over the early churches and wrote the congregations their leaders were “worthy of their hire.”
    … or when he wrote different people had different gifts from the Holy Spirit so
    some should teach, some, serve, some preach, etc.?

    Paul’s instructions seem to suggest there is at least room in the Church Body for both forms of worship. No?

    • Thank you for your very kind words of affirmation Tom. There certainly is leadership in the Body of Christ Tom, but that leadership is gentle and relational and not systemized in any way. Following others AS THEY FOLLOW Christ is key. And I would say that such servant leadership is recognized from within the Body instead of appointed from the outside. There is indeed room for all the gifts in the true Body of Christ Tom. It is just that EVERY member has gifts to share and NOT an elite few. “Worthy of their hire” is an interesting phrase Tom, but Paul makes it quite clear in other passages that taking salary from the church only serves to hinder or even discredit the Gospel. Plus Jesus called those who take pay “hirelings” that did not really care for the sheep. Tom, I think I believe in the same gifts in the Body as you do, but we may just differ in how they are supposed to work and be offered unto Christ and the Body. Once again I feel that EVERY member of the Body is gifted, called and valuable and that focusing only on a select few to minister in any gathering misses the point of 1 Cor 14. Thanks for taking the time to ask questions Tom. I hope my answers help some?

    • "BK" permalink

      Hi, Tom. I always appreciate when you ask a question or offer a constructive criticism because I never yet have felt like you were condescending or offering ‘baited’ questions. This time is no exception so I want to again say how much I appreciate your input. I waited on purpose to comment so I could have time to think about it and kind of hold it before the Lord. Then I looked up some of the verses. The first comment about laborer worthy of his hire that I found was in the gospels when Jesus sent out the 70. What I got from what He told them was ‘don’t bounce from house to house looking for the best deal, stay where you find My peace.” That was when I thought about the difference of culture in their time and ours. While I think that can be taken to a fault, I do think there is merit. Words like preaching and pastor and bishop and ministry have so morphed into ‘things’ rather than a way of life it is difficult to not read the modern day baggage into them. Preach simply means ‘announce’, not stand behind a pulpit and monologue. When Jesus ‘preached’ the entire beautitudes (if He did, indeed, monologue it) you could read the entire thing within 10 minutes….today men must leaven it all to make a nice long ‘sermon’ out of it, explaining every word and what it means (or what we think the hidden meanings are). My point being (I never seem to be able to say something in few words) it wasn’t so in the day when these letters were written. When I studied Ephesians 4:11 (and all the chapter) I find those not a list of offices to a special select few, but if you read the entire chapter carefully you will see it is to the ALL. Not offices, but giftings, manifestations of how the Spirit flows throughout the entire body as He wills. The word ‘gift’ in I Cor 12 is not ‘a present’ but a manifestation and it is recorded the Spirit gives (or manifests) ‘severally as He wills’, not a once for all time ‘now you have it’. At any given time through any member the Spirit can flow shepherding, planting, teaching, etc. Even teaching has such baggage…..Jesus didn’t get out a blackboard and give a point by point presentation as He taught. Neither did those teaching their sons a trade, or daughters to be chaste women. It was an ‘in life’ experience and instruction. The elders that were chosen and ordained didn’t go to school nor did the apostles choose them. Their peers chose them. When people are truely able to experience and hear Christ, they will choose those big brothers and sisters who demonstrate Christ to them. Having been a pastor in the conventional sense in days gone by; and now being what people call ‘itinerant’ (oh! I HATE labels) I have to say I never have taken a salary. As a ‘pastor’ I worked on a job full time and was perfectly capable of shepherding and sharing Christ. As one who traveled before retirement, like Paul, I always was able to find work and support myself and those whom I visited for whatever reason. Yes, at times a monetary gift is offered…sometimes I accept, often I decline unless they insist. Tom, there really is no room for either forms of worship. God is on record that He hates the Nicolaitan ‘form’ of worship. Nicolaitan…..clergy over laity. He really does hate it, Tom. I hope my spirit is as good as yours in this and that perhaps you can find some short of sense to my long post. With much love & respect in Christ, “BK”

  2. Dan permalink

    Here’s what Frank had to say about 1 Tim 5:18: (Copied directly from my copy of “Pagan
    Christianity?”

    First Timothy 5: 17 says that “elders who do their work well should be respected and paid well” (NLT). Doesn’t this support the idea of paying pastors? If not, what do you think this passage means? To begin with, this passage deals with elders, not with the modern pastoral office. The actual Greek says that the elders who care for God’s people well are worthy of double honor. The New American Standard, the King James Version, and the New International Version translate the text with the words double honor. In verse 18, Paul quotes the Old Testament to buttress his argument. Just as the working ox deserves corn, and just as the laborer deserves payment, the elder who cares for God’s people well deserves “double honor,” that is, greater respect. So the critical question becomes, what does “double honor” mean? Does it mean a clergy salary, an honorarium, or simply greater respect? First, the specific Greek words that the New Testament uses for pay or wages are not used in this text. Rather, the Greek word for honor in this passage means to respect or value someone or something. The same word is used four times in 1 Timothy. In every case, it means respect. Second, all Christians are called to honor one another (Romans 12: 10). It would be absurd to take this to mean that all believers are to receive payment from one another. Again, those elders who serve well are to receive more honor—or greater respect. Third, the fact that respect is what Paul had in mind is borne out by verse 19. Paul goes on to say that the elders are not to be accused (dishonored) unless there are two or three witnesses to confirm an accusation. Granted, double honor may have included free-will offerings as a token of blessing from time to time (Galatians 6: 6). But this was not the dominating thought. Scripture tells us elders deserve honor (respect), not a salary. Consequently, 1 Timothy 5 is perfectly consistent with Paul’s words to the elders recorded in Acts 20: 33-35. There he told the elders in Ephesus that he did not take money from God’s people but instead supplied his own needs. Paul then told the elders to follow his example in this. That passage alone argues against the idea of a hired clergy or a paid pastoral staff. Strikingly, 1 Timothy 5: 17-18 and Acts 20: 33-35 were addressed to the same group of people—the elders in Ephesus. Thus there is no contradiction. Because the elders were local men, they were not biblically sanctioned to receive full financial support like itinerant apostles who traveled from region to region to plant churches (1 Corinthians 9: 1-18). Paul was an itinerant apostolic worker. Therefore, he had a legitimate right to receive full financial support from the Lord’s people (see 1 Corinthians 9). But he intentionally waived that right whenever he worked with a group of Christians (1 Corinthians 9: 14-18; 2 Corinthians 11: 7-9; 12: 13-18; 1 Thessalonians 2: 6-9; 2 Thessalonians 3: 8-9). We wonder what would happen if more ministers today would follow in the steps of Paul. Paul’s argument in 1 Timothy 5: 17-18 is simply this: Just as the working ox deserves food and the working employee deserves payment, the elders who serve well should receive double respect. (In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul uses this same analogy. In that text, however, Paul is speaking of apostolic workers rather than local elders, and he makes it clear that finances rather than honor are in view.)

    • Dan, thanks for sharing Frank Viola’s work. He has been my friend for nearly 25 years now.

  3. So true! Are we preaching/teaching/proclaiming/declaring/receiving Christ? Or just tips for living? No – we are called to preach Christ! And Christ crucified. Amen brother.

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