Just Give me that Old Time Religion – And Don’t Bother me with Truth

Joh 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Because the devil is the father of lies, whenever he speaks – he lies. There is NO truth in him. None. Even the half-truths he uses to deceive are lies because a half-truth is no truth at all.

Now, one of the most common characteristics of the evil one and his agents is that in their lying they avoid coming directly at a subject. At least at first. Satan told Adam and Eve for example “you shall not die,” but only after he had first fogged their minds with “has God said?” The serpent is quite slippery and so are his servants. Let me give you an illustration and then I will show you how the very same avoidance of truth and facts is the spirit of the age in most every local church.

In the years prior to the second world war, Sir Winston Churchill stated facts and truths head on with directness. Those who did not love the truth (and that was the majority) rejected what he said and sometimes even mocked him. So it was when he was warning the English people that if India were given dominion and Britain largely withdrew from the country, a horrible bloodbath would ensue. Winston of course was “the last lion” as William Manchester called him and wanted the British empire to endure. But whether you agree with him or not on the issue of self-government for India, you must acknowledge that Churchill put it right out there, saying plainly what he meant. With that background in mind, listen to the historian Manchester [The Last Lion, Visions of Glory, 1874-1932]:

No one can doubt that he (Churchill) was moved by genuine conviction. That cannot be said of those with whom he was parting company. The Tory leaders were uninspired by Indian nationalism (ie, India’s desire to be free of Britain). One searches in vain for ringing affirmations of freedom or admiration for Gandhian saintliness in their speeches, letters, and diaries. What comes through, like the pounding on a wall of a man who wants the party in the next apartment to quiet down so he can sleep, is a determination to avoid discord, unpleasantness, or any rude interruption of long serene weekends in the country.

Confused in mind about everything, except the main chance – its own preservation – it survived from year to year, from month to month, from day to day, by blurring the clarity of all issues, even the most dangerous – that of the nation’s safety; it maintained its enormous majority by electoral trickery, it spoke and perhaps thought in the language of humbug, it hoped to stave off conflict….by offering appeasement.”

When a victim of evil steps forward in a local church (or in most any setting for that matter, but then, the church is supposed to be different from the world, right?)…the very same dynamic and mentality kicks in. Here a poor, oppressed woman cruelly abused by her wicked hypocrite husband, or someone who blows the whistle on a child molester hiding in sheep’s clothing, comes forward. They speak the truth. What happens?

Church leaders and members show that they do not hunger and thirst for righteousness. They do not race forward to effect justice for the victim and upon the perpetrator. Rather, they are motivated by what so many of Churchill’s countrymen were – their own preservation. The preservation of the entity they call “the church.” There are no ringing affirmations of truth and justice as Jesus declared in the Sermon on the Mount. No. They simply want the party to quiet down so they can sleep. They crave to avoid discord, unpleasantness or rude interruption so that they can continue enjoying those serene weekends in the country that characterize “the Lord’s work” they claim to be doing. “Go away, victim. Stop complaining and be quiet. You are being quite too specific here. You exaggerate.”

The exposure of evil, you see, requires specifics. Facts. Definiteness. Names must be named, times and places identified, and charges stated in detail. Evil does not like such blinding light of truth, you see. Sermons are quite fine as long as Pastor Pleasant skirts around the specifics adequately so that any mention of sin from the pulpit could apply to all, or to none. The serene weekends are enabled to continue undisturbed. “Wasn’t that a great sermon” the people remark as they head home to their pot roasts.

I have been contacted more than once by professing Christians who complain to me that I am too judgmental. They do not like me to say “thou art the man” by naming names, no matter how idolized those names might be. To such people, I say just as I am sure that Winston Churchill would respond – “You simply want the noise of the party next door to quiet down so you can go back to sleep. You have determined to avoid discord, unpleasantness, or any rude interruption of the fantasy land which you call ‘Christianity.'” And in the end, such people have resolved to reject God’s truth. They become a hot tub society where evil thrives while their only real concern is that the temperature of the water stay constant and those jets keep caressing their flesh. Scripture has a sober warning for anyone of that ilk-

2Th 2:11-12 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, (12) in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

In other words, choose to remain in your truth-rejecting hot tub religion long enough, and the day will come when you will no longer be able to discern the delusion of Satan from the truth of the Lord.

 

 

What if we all just Stopped………?

Psa 46:8-10 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth. (9) He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. (10) “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Busy, busy, busy. This seems to be the widely accepted trait of a “successful” church and the life of a “successful” Christian. Most people select a church that has plenty of things happening.

  • Men’s ministries
  • Women’s ministries
  • Youth and children’s ministries
  • A network of cell groups
  • Choir
  • Worship team
  • Missions
  • Committees
  • Social activism programs
  • Denominational membership and leadership
  • Conferences and seminars
  • Counseling departments

Those pastors who head such structures are deemed to be “doing the Lord’s work” and are touted as models of success for all the rest to emulate. See what the Lord has done, they say.

But over the years I have come to doubt that the Lord is in much of this kind of thing at all. That the vast bulk of it is the work of man’s hands. Why do I say this?

I say it because of the fruit that I have seen these things produce. I have seen what goes on “behind the scenes” in the ruling council meetings. I have seen how such places treat abuse victims and enable abusers. I have seen how the wicked, wearing a cloak of wool, find such environments very easy to hide in. And I have seen how God’s truth is discounted and rejected by people who claim to be steering a flagship of the faith.

And I have seen something else that leads me to these conclusions.

I have seen that entities such as these churches stand in graphic contrast to what we see in the Scriptures. People and churches truly raised up, indwelt by the Spirit of Christ, are humble places. Often quite small. They are people hated by the world and persecuted by the counterfeit church. The real deal is a place where Christ’s people fully know that unless the Lord builds it, man labors in vain. The true body of Christ is characterized by contented waiting for the Lord in faith rather than a constant “we must stir it up. We must make something happen.” Because the true church is energized by the Holy Spirit, not by man’s own doings.

Is this not true? Do I exaggerate? I think not:

Heb 11:35-40 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. (36) Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. (37) They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated– (38) of whom the world was not worthy–wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. (39) And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, (40) since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Christ’s real people walk by faith, not by sight. They do not need to be constantly pushed and re-booted by “new things” with catch-phrase names stamped with some leader’s assurance that “it is all of the Lord.” They do not demand a sign like an evil and adulterous generation craves. No. Faith simply trusts and waits, assured that in His time the Lord will surely act.

The hypocrite, who is devoid of faith, cannot abide by such quiet waiting. He will, in short time, leave such a place and search out the beehive of activity offered by Babel. In such places, evil finds a reception.

 

Let Me not be Put to Shame

1Pe 2:6-7 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (7) So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”

One of the favorite weapons of the wicked is shame. Shaming its victims. Shame has a proper role (for the guilty who repent), but evil ones never use it properly. They, the ones who should be ashamed, work to shame the innocent. Reviling. Slandering. Accusing. Humiliating. They are of their father the devil who is known as the accuser of the brethren.

But Scripture affirms that the righteous will not be put to shame. Ultimately, on that Day when Christ comes in judgment, it will be the wicked who are shamed in front of all creation. Shamed for their shameful deeds. Shamed as they are exposed and judged for what they truly are. Any thread of honor and glory they may have enjoyed in this life will be taken away. We see a glimpse of it in this account given by Isaiah:

Isa 14:3-17 When the LORD has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, (4) you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased!

(5) The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers, (6) that struck the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, that ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution. (7) The whole earth is at rest and quiet; they break forth into singing. (8) The cypresses rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you were laid low, no woodcutter comes up against us.’

(9) Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. (10) All of them will answer and say to you: ‘You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!’

(11) Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers. (12) “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!

(13) You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ (15) But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. (16) Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, (17) who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who did not let his prisoners go home?’

The prayer of the righteous, so often falsely shamed in this life by the wicked, will be answered in full:

Psa 25:1-3 Of David. To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. (2) O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. (3) Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Surely, as our Lord has promised, the first shall be last, and the last first.

Why was Billy Graham Popular with Presidents, Popes, and Other World Leaders?

As most all of you know by now, Billy Graham died this week. You can find any number of news reports detailing his evangelism crusade achievements throughout the world for these many, many years. I remember attending one of the crusades in Portland, Oregon with my grandmother in about 1969.

This post is not written with the intention of criticizing Graham, though there certainly were methods he used that I strongly disagreed with. I concur with Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones who refused to participate in Graham’s London crusades because Graham had Roman Catholic bishops or cardinals seated up on the platform with him, thus endorsing them as Christians.

But I simply write this post to encourage all of us to think about how the Bible portrays the relationship of God’s spokesmen (prophets, apostles, and God’s Son Himself) to kings and rulers. Is there a typical pattern? In other words, how do we see the Old Testament prophets, the New Testament apostles, and the Son of God speaking and relating to the civil, pagan rulers of their time?

I address this issue because Billy Graham was known as “the” preacher, the “go-to” Christian leader who met with (generally at their request) just about every United States President during Graham’s ministering lifetime. I saw a picture of him sitting with Bill Clinton when he was President, and there was Hillary right beside him. Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, the Bushes – Billy mixed it up with them all. Politicians of course are always after votes, and Billy Graham was seen by them no doubt as a man with a considerable voting following.

Now, I don’t know what Billy Graham told these Presidents in these meetings. But I do know what God’s prophets and apostles and Son told the kings of their day. Here are some examples:

1Ki 18:17-18 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is it you, you troubler of Israel?” (18) And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you have, and your father’s house, because you have abandoned the commandments of the LORD and followed the Baals.

1Ki 22:8-9 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah, but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” (9) Then the king of Israel summoned an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah the son of Imlah.”

Mat 14:2-4 and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” (3) For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, (4) because John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”

Luk 13:31-32 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” (32) And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course.

Need I go on? I certainly could. But you see the point. In Scripture and down through the history of the church (think of Martin Luther, John Bunyan, Wycliffe, William Tyndale, and on and on) the norm has been for God’s preachers to be hated and imprisoned and even killed by the kings of this world. Why? Because they confronted these rulers with their evil, and the kings hated them for it. This is the norm. This is what God’s preachers are called to do. Such confrontation of evil in high places is part of preaching the gospel, you understand? You cannot call someone to faith in Christ unless you first show them their sin and call them to repentance.

And so I wonder. I just wonder, and I think it is quite a fair question for me to ask. How is it that Billy Graham was “the Presidents’ preacher”? How is it that he enjoyed audiences with bishops and cardinals and even with the Pope who are leaders of a counterfeit church that has murdered countless true Christians? Why wasn’t Billy hated by them? Did he actually call out their sin and tell them God commands them to repent?

This blog is about evil. Evil hiding in churches disguised as a saint. Wolves in wool. And I can assure you that whenever Christ’s people are popular with the world, something has gone quite wrong. In such an environment, evil wrapped in wool thrives in the pews and in the pulpit.

1Co 2:6-8 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. (7) But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. (8) None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

 

 

If We are not Wise About Evil, Evil Will Conquer Us

Joh 15:19-20 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (20) Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

Joh 16:1-3 “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. (2) They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. (3) And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.

My old friend Henry disappeared last December 11th. Weeks later, his body was found in the river. All indications point toward suicide. Henry had been persecuted at work and, as he had said in the days before his death, “my dream job has become a nightmare.”

Henry was a very kind person. I met him in Bible college many years ago. Henry loved people. He grew up in a Christian family on the family farm, surrounded by Christians.

But I believe that Henry was naive about evil. And it seems to me that as a result, evil conquered him. I believe Henry is with the Lord right now – I never doubted is profession of Christ and I still don’t. I do not believe that suicide is the unpardonable sin. I think that somehow, when confronted with the evil of this world, Henry’s worldview, his paradigm for processing things, came up short. Henry was not wise about evil and it undid him. That is what I think happened. It is just my opinion.

The Lord Jesus, in the verses quoted above, clearly and plainly warned us about this evil world. He gave us a heads up. He said that the world hated Him and that is why it will hate all who follow Him. The world HATES us. The world tries to destroy us. To shut us up. To put out the light of Christ’s truth that is shining in us. And the god of this world, the devil, has many agents available to aid him in this diabolical work.

What we absolutely must understand is that not only does the world hate us, the world most often operates as wickedness clothed in righteousness. As the Lord put it, the wolf comes dressed in sheep’s attire. Human beings are not “basically good.” The human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, as the Scripture says. The mouth of the wicked is an open grave spewing forth deadly, destructive poison. And most often, that poison is aimed at Christ’s people.

Notice in particular the sentence I have highlighted in the verse above. Jesus tells us WHY He warns us about the hatred of the world. To keep us from falling away. So that we are not surprised. So that we will understand that we have done nothing wrong. That being hated is not our fault. Rather, it is all due to the fact that the world hates Jesus Christ and thus all who belong to Him. But if we fail to fully grasp what Jesus meant in this warning, well, when the hostility and hatred come our way, there will be a danger of “falling away.” That is, of giving up and no longer following Christ.

I don’t think that Henry fell away in the sense of his soul being lost. I do not believe that a real Christian can ever be lost – “no one can pluck them out of my hand.” But I do think that a Christian can become very, very confused when the devil comes around with his lies and persecutions. We can fall away from the truth of Christ and start wondering, and even believing the devil’s filthy lies. We can grow depressed and hopeless. And yes, I think in such a condition a Christian could even choose death.

Therefore, Christian. Do not be ignorant of the devil’s devices. Do not assume that this world is basically a nice place populated with nice people. Do not be surprised when the world hates you. Because if we do not get these things right, if we fail to heed Jesus’ warnings on all this, then when the pit of hell touches us, we will have no adequate life lens through which to see what is really happening. It will be blurred to us. We will be confused, And we will feel like just giving up.

 

When we Call Evil Out, We Will be Accused of being “Radical” and Faithless

Joh 8:12-14 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (13) So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” (14) Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.

Years ago when I was a police officer, smoking was allowed in the workplace. The chief’s secretary had ashtrays on her desk right outside his office and chain smoked there throughout the day. So it was all through city hall and even in the police cars. You went home having breathed all that corruption and your clothes smelled like stale smoke.

One day a lieutenant approached me (himself a non-smoker) and asked me if I would like to sit on a city-wide committee that was being formed to formulate a new policy about smoking in the workplace. I said that I would, but that the fact was the solution was plain and simple – no smoking would be allowed in offices, in city vehicles, or anywhere else that second hand smoke would be sucked up by others.

He told me that I was way too radical and that he had better find someone else.

Years later, what conclusions have we arrived at? No smoking in the workplace, unless it is at some designated area out of breathing shot from others. My “radical” idea was in fact the solution.

My point is not to tell a story showing you that “see, I was right,” but to illustrate for you what happens when an issue is seen for what it really is and a real, proper solution is proposed. Those who are, shall we say, ahead of their time and who understand what must be done are typically criticized and shut down for being “too radical.”

And this is exactly what you can expect is going to happen when we call for substantive, corrective action in dealing with evil among us. Let me give you another example.

Winston Churchill understood early on in WWI that the horrid policy of winning the war by “attrition” (ie, wearing down the enemy over the long haul) was totally wrong and would lose the war for the allies if persisted in. He called for action to break the stalemate in the trenches on the western front. He wanted tanks designed and built. He wanted new weaponry for cutting through the barbed wire. He wanted a new air ministry established. But at each point he was shut down – for years. All the while over one MILLION English soldiers (not counting the French or Americans and other allies) perished, went missing, or were horribly wounded.

Guess what was ultimately one of the key factors in giving the allies success (besides the arrival of the American “doughboys”)? Tanks. Tanks that were finally built. Tanks that should have been built years before. The tanks for which Churchill was called a crazy man.

And I will give you still another illustration. Years ago I told our church that we needed to have armed (yes, armed) security in our building, particularly on Sundays. Having been a police officer, I was quite comfortable with this measure and I implemented it. We had one elder at the time who loved to play the “most holy saint” role (we removed him years ago and sent him down the road). He mocked. He criticized. He accused us of not “having enough faith” or of being “afraid to die for the gospel.” He said, in other words, that we were too radical. But what has time demonstrated? It has vindicated our policy as we read far too often not only of school shootings, but of murderous invasions of church services where people find themselves at the mercy of an evil devil set on killing.

And here then is my point in the article. You can expect, when you confront evil and call it out and call for proper measures to deal with it, to be accused of being foolish and extremist. When this happens, you must not yield to those charges. You must cling to what you know is right and proceed. Evil uses these accusers to protect it and let it continue to have unhindered access to innocents. You will run into the very same thing when you call for your church to do background checks on newcomers, especially those who want to “serve the Lord” and work with children. We have had some newcomers never come back once they learned that we do such background checks. “It just isn’t faith. It isn’t Christian” they say.

Really?

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

A Common Accusation Made by Evildoers Against the Righteous

1Co 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Isa 28:13 And the word of the LORD will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little, that they may go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

In my three decades plus years as a pastor, I have experienced a particular phenomenon numbers of times. It took me quite a long time to sort it out and see it for what it really is. It is evil.

Let me explain. Listen to “Jack” as we will call him as he comes into my office. “Pastor, you are very difficult to talk to. You won’t listen to me. And I am not the only one in this church who feels this way.”

There it is. Jack would lay that same accusation on me in a hallway, at a social event at church, sometimes at an elder board meeting. But generally he would level this charge when I was the only person there besides himself.

Now, when you are young and you really want to serve the Lord, when you want to be humble and be a true shepherd of Christ’s people, you are open to examining yourself. To hearing criticism. But this can be taken way, way, way too far. In fact, this is what I was taught in seminary, in “Christian” books I read by supposedly experienced and godly people and so on. Always listen, they said. There is always, always, always something of truth in any criticism that comes against us. No matter who is saying it, you need to listen.

And so, I did. For years. And years. And years. Just like so many of you who have been targets of wicked, evil, domestic or other kinds of sociopathic abusers. We listened. And that was our problem. The result? Discouragement. Feeling like you just want to quit. Feeling like a failure.

It makes me angry at myself now when I think how foolish I was to listen to that garbage for so many years. But then, evil is quite deceptive, isn’t it?

Ultimately as the Lord “turned on the lights” in my mind (in the course of my study of domestic abusers hiding in the church), I realized what was really going on. YES! I WAS hard to talk to! At least it was hard for Jack. Why? Because I would not just obey him. I would not do what he said. There was still within me this dissonance between the words he spoke and how I felt about what he was saying in my spirit. That is to say, Jack was not able to control me like he wanted. And that is why he would regularly accuse me of being “hard to talk to.” What Jack really meant, let me translate, was – “Jeff, why won’t you just do what I tell you to do?”

Ultimately, as so often eventually happens, Jack’s real motive spilled out of his mouth. We had to deal with a wicked sin in our church that was very devastating. As I look back on it, I know we did what was right. But what we did was not what Jack had insisted we do (namely, feel empathy for the perpetrator and tell the victim to suck it up and get over it). And as is so typical in such situations in a church, some people (already alienated by Jack) left the church. At a subsequent meeting, Jack announced to me and the rest of our leadership team, “You never listen to me. You never do what I say. If you had only listened to me and done what I said, everything would be much better now.” Yeah, right, Jack. The victim would be further blamed and victimized and the perpetrator would be embraced and “forgiven.”

See it? Jack’s habitual accusation that I am difficult to talk to stemmed from several planks of Jack’s worldview rolling around in his head:

  • Jack knows.
  • Jack is more godly than anyone else
  • Therefore, everyone must listen to and obey Jack

A “Jack-o-Centric” worldview, you see.

The righteous are indeed hard for the unrighteous to talk to. Our words are stinging to the wicked. The truths of Christ’s word that we proclaim expose the darkness of evil.

And the Jacks of this world hate us for it. Do not listen to their accusations.

 

Evil Has no Shame – An Identifying Mark of the Evildoer

Jer 6:15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the LORD.

Rom 1:32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

The wicked have much to be ashamed of. The domestic abuser, for example – particularly the one who has claimed all along to be a Christian yet has carried out years and years of constant abuse upon his victim. How, we ask, can such a person even show his face at church? And yet he does. He even seems to thrive at doing so.

It is because he has no shame. If you have been the target of such an evildoer, you know this very well. Shamelessness. Just like the wicked ones Jeremiah rebuked, such people do not know how to blush. God promises that in the Day of the Lord you can be sure that these creeps will finally experience true shame. Oh, not for repentance, but they will be shamed by the Lord for all creation to see.

Over the years, I have seen this shamelessness in domestic abusers and other wicked hypocrites. Once they are called out – perhaps by a victim whose eyes are cleared of the fog abuse produces – they often grow even more bold. They have no shame to keep them from demanding court appearances where they stand up in front of the judge and lie and deny and accuse. They have no shame to prevent them from persevering in contacting their victim – even after the divorce. They have no shame to dissuade them from marching into the local church on Sunday, standing and weeping and praying and using the Lord’s name in efforts to deceive and garner pity for themselves.

These evildoers will insist on contacting their victim. Proper shame would cause a person to hang their head and be too ashamed to push themselves upon the person they had wronged. But not so with these shameless ones. They email. They telephone. They send cards. They insist on seeing the children. Understanding this, I myself always mark “return to sender” on any such shameless communiques I might receive without ever reading them.

On one occasion long ago a person who had acted very, very wickedly – to the point of being put out of the church due to unrepentance – telephoned me and began to question me, carrying on in conversation as if nothing had happened at all. I finally interrupted and said, “you have no shame.” Click. End of conversation.

This shamelessness is a common and regular mark of evil. Think of the pastor or elder who is an abuser for instance. How in the world could anyone, you ask, stand in a pulpit and preach every Sunday when all the while he is cruelly abusing his wife behind the scenes? Answer – no shame. No conscience. In fact, not only is he unashamed of his evil deeds, he is proud of them. As Paul told the Romans as quoted above, he even encourages others to jump right into the pool of evil with him.

Where there is no shame you can be sure evil is lurking and practicing its wickedness. When you see someone who has done great evil, who it turns out has been walking habitually in that evil for years without repentance yet all the while masquerading as a Christian, you can be sure that shamelessness will evidence itself. This is still a further confirmation of the kind of person you are dealing with.

 

Many of Today’s “Christian” Counselors are Descendants of the Sons of Sceva

Act 19:13-16 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” (14) Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. (15) But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” (16) And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Like these strange Jewish exorcists, we have many people in our own day who claim the name of Jesus Christ for themselves and their “ministries,” but who are unknown to Christ and whose “power” is non-existent as the devils well know. As a result, they are not empowered by Christ’s Spirit and all of their works are a sham, leaving the oppressed in worse condition than before. Let me illustrate.

One of the words I watch for is “redeem.” You see it thrown around all the time, particularly in the “Christian” counseling arena. Redeeming marriage. Redeeming anger. Redeeming finances. Yada, yada, yada. Words like this are so over-used in so many areas that they become meaningless. So it is with the word “redeem.” Modern day counselors (or better, conjurers) publish their books and give their conference talks on “redemption.” Their purpose, they say, is to redeem your domestic abuser or your sexual predator child molester. Listen to them. Follow their formula and incantations and you will be redeemed from….whatever. Are you listening CCEF bigwigs?

But Jesus does not know them. And even the devils know they are powerless fakes.

Redemption is effected only by Jesus Christ – and He has already pulled it off on the cross. Christ died to redeem, to buy back, to set free, HIS people. The Christian is redeemed. Fully and completely. But Jesus did not die on the cross for your marriage. He did not shed His blood for your reconciliation with your rapist. He did not give Himself on the tree for your finances. No, He died for YOUR redemption from sin, from bondage to the devil, from the power of death. He redeemed you by effecting a perfect righteousness that becomes your righteousness through faith in Him. That is redemption.

Christ alone is our Redeemer. Christ alone is THE Redeemer. No one else.

So when these “biblical” counselors come along, as they so often do, promising to exorcise most anyone from their various ills, they come preaching a different gospel, a different Jesus, evidencing a different Spirit. Jesus does not know them. The devils laugh at them.

Only in this case they aren’t the ones who end up naked and wounded. Oh no. It is the oppressed, the downtrodden, the victims of evil that are injured. Of course, say these Scevites, it’s not their fault. The victims didn’t follow their incantations and formulas correctly. Guess these “redeemers” better write some more books for us so we can get it right next time. Oh, that will be $19.95 plus shipping.

The Bible Emphasizes “Being” – We Must not be Satisfied with “Doing”

Eph 4:20-24 But that is not the way you learned Christ!– (21) assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, (22) to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, (23) and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, (24) and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Consistently the New Testament reminds the Christian that he/she is a new creation and therefore is to live consistently as that new creation. Be who you are. That is the Bible’s instruction to us. Realize who you now are and don’t live like the person you used to be. Being, you see. Not just external doing.

The false Pharisaical religion of course was all about doing. Do this. Don’t do that. The heart remains hard and unchanged, desiring evil but man-made religion says “I know that is what you really want down in your heart, but don’t do it. Do this instead, even though you would rather not.”

It is this second false religion that is characterizes most professing Christians today, and that is a main reason they turn out to be dens of evil.  And most churches are satisfied with it. Let me give you an example.

Let’s say a local church decides steps should be taken to prevent pedophiles from molesting the children. That’s a good thing to do. Yes it is. Background checks are required for volunteers in various ministries. Windows are installed in classroom doors. More than one adult is required to be present in a class. Staff is trained in these procedures. All well and good.

The problem is, everyone is satisfied. “There, we have placed constraints in our programs so that molesters cannot harm our children.”

Or, another example. To help ensure that adulteries and fornications don’t flame up among church members, certain rules are put in place. Some formal and written. Some unwritten and informal. A man is never to be along with a woman not his wife. A woman is never to be alone with a man who is not her husband. Husbands and wives are to have full access to one another’s email accounts. Computer software is to be installed that will prevent going online at a porn site. Women are to dress in a certain way. The “six-inch” rule of no touching is taught and enforced among the youth.

And again, the problem is, everyone is satisfied. “There, that should do it.”

But it won’t. In fact, if the power of sin is the law (as Paul told the Corinthians) then these kinds of rules often simply dump gasoline on the fire.

So what is the biblical way of handling such things? Be who you are. This is who the Bible says you now are, Christian. Be that person. Be led by the Spirit. Put to death the deeds of the flesh, by the Spirit. Any other means of “mortifying” the flesh simply feeds the flesh.

This requires, therefore, a congregation of Spirit indwelt people. In other words, a church where the people are actually Christians!! Pretty radical, huh? But that is NOT the case in most local churches. No. Someone is a Christian if they say a prayer and get baptized, either as an infant or adult. No matter really how they are living the days of their lives (none of us are perfect, after all) or whether they show any spiritual growth or not. They are pronounced Christians. But you’ve just got to keep these “christians” in tow – and thus the rules like the ones I mentioned above. John may be an adulterer at heart (well, in his “flesh” as they say) but as long as we make John follow the rules, he won’t adulterize. If he does slip, well, we are a forgiving bunch here, you know.

And the child molester? The rules. Make everyone follow the rules and all will be well – they say. But, let me ask – “just how well is that working for you all?”  Answer: It isn’t. Why? Because your “church” is full of people who aren’t saved at all – they don’t know Christ and He does not know them. They are still slaves to sin and Satan.

And this is why I am always highly suspicious of local churches that seem to grow in numbers so easily. What this most always means is that the unsaved are being pronounced saved, welcomed into the church, and held to a very low standard of holiness in the name of “love and grace and forgiveness.”

The proper course? The biblical one? People who claim to be Christians must evidence they are Christians if they are going to be in the local church. Well, there is one other category that is welcome – those who openly confess they do not know Christ but are seeking Him. NO third category of person is to be in the church!! Have your rules for children’s ministry and so on, but if anyone thinks that the key to Christ-honoring local churches is “be sure everyone follows the rules,” you are grievously mistaken.

1Co 5:11-13  But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one. (12) For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? (13) God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

“But,” you say, “that will mean that local churches will be quite small in number.”

Yep. They will be. They should be. That, in fact, is what you consistently see in Scripture. A body of believers that is called, “the remnant.”