Are You Bitter and Angry?

Are You Bitter and Angry?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

You know there are a whole lot of people out there that are bitter and angry. Can a person like this truly be a Christian? I submit that Peter tells us that if a person is this way then they may not be a Christian! A bold statement I know, but stick with me on these thoughts.

 (1:22) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, (23) having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, (24) because

          “All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away,
(25)But the word of the LORD endures forever.”
Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

(2:1)Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, (2) as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
-1 Peter 1:22–2:3 (NKJV)

In verse twenty-two through twenty-five Peter doesn’t just stop at what we call the Gospel message, but goes on to write about how we should respond in the Christian life. Too often we forget the Gospel is about an individual, Jesus, what He did and what our response should be in order to walk the Christian life. Peter starts out by saying that Christians should be obedient to the message that saved them (That message being the good news of the Gospel. i.e. the giving your heart and life over to Jesus by inviting Him into your heart). Now they are to carry that obedience over into life. They are supposed to allow God to help them clean their lives, and walk according to the truth. Far too often this doesn’t happen.

In this passage Peter admonishes us to purify our hearts. How does one go about doing this? Is it something we must work toward? No. You were not saved by works but out of an outpouring of God’s Spirit. We are to reflect the image of God in our actions. If we try to clean our lives up, we fail. We cannot clean our lives up any more than we can fly without the aid of technology. It is about as useless as flapping our wings and hoping that we will someday fly. So how do we reflect God’s image? We do this by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our actions and motives. This sounds easy, but isn’t. It requires the daily reading of God’s Word, attempting to apply it life and praying until something happens (P.U.S.H). I am not talking about “warm fuzzies” that run up and down your spine. I am talking about the evidence that your life is changing because you are displaying love to others, out of a pure heart. This is the only way we can reflect Jesus accurately in our lives.

Peter reminds us in verse twenty-five that this is the message that has been preached and we should yield to the Holy Spirit to have our lives changed. He does this by reminding us of how quickly we fade away. We are born, live, and die; just like the grass of the field.

Now in Chapter two verse one, Peter starts this with the word we translate “therefore” meaning that what he is about to say references all that came before the following statement. Peter is about to say something that is important. Peter says that we should lay some things aside. This phrase “lay aside” carries the idea of taking off clothing. Peter is saying we should lay aside deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking. He says that if we are a Christian, like a newborn baby, we should desire the good milk of God’s Word and grow from it in our spirituality and conduct. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who won’t. They want to hold on to those things because they revel in them. The problem is, are these kinds of people truly Christians? Peter questions them. He says if you have tasted the grace of God, should you be acting like this? In other words, if you are acting like this then are you truly a Christian? This is a question that each one of us must answer as we move along in life.

So what must we do today? First we need to do a true spiritual inventory. We must sit and examine our lives to make sure we are growing and reflecting the image of God. How do we do this? We need to first get away from all distractions and ask God to show us two things (1) Are we truly a Christian because of the evidences in our lives? If not we need to surrender to God (2) Are we truly walking in love, getting rid of all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking. If these things are present then you seriously need to ask yourself if you are a Christian. A bitter person has these things on their lips and in their mouth. If any one of these rules your life to the point that you are bitter, you need to seriously ask yourself if you are a Christian. How about you today? Will you surrender to God and get these things out? Or will you just do the same things you have always done, getting the same results. The choice is up to you.

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Too Many Christians are Out-of-Order

Too Many Christians are Out-of-Order
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Today we go around being so busy that we tend to compartmentalize everything. We allot so much time to watch TV, so much time to work, so much time for dinner and so much time for God. Did you ever think that maybe God doesn’t want to be put into some kind of allotment of time? Perhaps God wants more than that from you!

11 “Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, 12 lest—when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; 13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; 14 when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;
-Deuteronomy 8:11-14 (NKJV)

Today Christians have become guilty of this very thing. We are told to beware in verse eleven to not forget God. It means by not living out what we say we believe. How does this happen? We find that in verses twelve and thirteen we find that this happens because people begin to get blessings and are doing well and they feel as though they don’t need Him. So when that happens, in verse fourteen, people become prideful and forget God, who gave them all that they have.

To put this into perspective, in America we have wonderful churches! They are beautiful and clean with power, water, electricity, and (in most cases) computers with internet access. Now go overseas. Most of the churches in Africa, for example, don’t have all these amenities. They are lucky to have buildings with some kind of water. People walk for miles to come to church. If people in America today had to walk for miles, they just wouldn’t go! What does that say about you and I? Perhaps we need to thank God for what we have and give Him a priority in our lives.

Israel became guilty of this time and again. You know what happened? God allowed hardships to come upon them so that they would recognize Him. Do you think that this could not happen in our country today? In our state? In our personal lives? Yes, while God won’t purposely send evil to you, He may just remove His hand of protection to get your attention. If you get rid of God’s hand you can find yourself in a world of hurt!

Now let us turn our attention to something Jesus said.

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’
– Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)

We tend to not only forget God when we are doing well, but we forget that everything we have came from Him and it is temporal, meaning He can allow it to be taken away it is not permanent. We should be like the Apostle Paul. He stated that he had learned in all things to be content. We need to remember that the most important thing in our lives today is not what we have. It is not even what we have in our churches! It is what we have in our Bibles. God’s Word is the only thing that brings true and truly satisfying life to our lives. We must remember to keep Him first, and in so doing we will stop things from being out of order in our lives. What is the proper order for life? (1) Our Personal relationship with God is first. (2) Our relationship to our families is second. (3) Our relationship to our daily work is last. This includes “your ministry.” If you keep this in mind you will find God’s blessing in your life.

How about you today? Have you forgotten God? I can hear it now! People yelling at me, “NO!” Really? Remember that actions speak louder than words! What do your actions say? Perhaps you have forgotten where all good things come from? Perhaps because of your attitudes today your life is out of order. If this is the case then you need to repent! If this is you, ask God for forgiveness today. The choice is yours.

Don’t be MEAN!

Don’t be MEAN!
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Christians are supposed to kind hearted and tender toward one another. When someone has done wrong to us we are not supposed to repay them in kind. No, we are supposed to be above that kind of behavior. The Apostle Peter in our passage reminds us of how we are to treat one another, not as the world treats people but as God would have you to treat each other. How? Seeking forgiveness when we are wrong and pursuing peace amongst ourselves (believers).

 

(8) Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;[a] 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. (10) For

“He who would love life

And see good days,

Let him refrain his tongue from evil,

And his lips from speaking deceit.

(11) Let him turn away from evil and do good;

Let him seek peace and pursue it.

(12) For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,

And His ears are open to their prayers;

But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
-1 Peter 3:8-12 (NKJV)

 

In verse eight Peter is tying up everything he has said before (see previous) about submitting to authority. He is bringing his thoughts to a close on the subject of submission so he starts by saying ‘finally’ (depending on your translation, some say ‘in conclusion’ or ‘to sum up’).

He is addressing the whole Christian community. He gives them some commands on how they should behave toward one another. He tells them to be of one mind. This does not mean that they will not disagree on certain things that are not central to the Christian faith (i.e. peripheral issues). That will happen, but how should we treat one another? He says to have compassion and love toward one another and be tenderhearted toward each other. Too often when people disagree they tend to be evil toward one another, God tells us to not behave that way and to act the opposite way.

In verse nine Peter continues this sentiment with reminding them that while they are suffering persecution they should not repay evil with evil, but endure it as Christ endured suffering on our behalf. We are told that Christians are called to behave differently than the world behaves. Even in the midst of trials Christians must continue to behave as Jesus did, in love. We know that at the end of this present time that there is inheritance that awaits us in Christ, in heaven.

Verses ten through twelve is actually a quote from Psalm thirty-four. In this quotation there are three specific behaviors we are told to practice. (1) We must keep ourselves from speaking any kind of evil, which includes lying and gossiping. (2) We must run away from practicing and being a part of anything evil. (3) We must be peacemakers, in Christ. This does not mean peace at any cost, we cannot compromise our Christian faith and witness; but it means to keep ourselves from pointless and fruitless actions and activities that will only enrage and inflame passions that need not be stirred.  Also in these verses there are three reasons as to why a believer should keep the previous three commands. (1) The Lord takes a notice of our actions and is pleased when we honor Him. (2) The Lord hears the Christian and is intimately interested in us. (3) The Lord is against those who are wicked and is our protector.  Just remember that the last three things are conditional on the first three things. Keep in mind that chapter two verse twenty says that is not commendable to receive punishment for some evil that we have committed (been a part of), but only if we are punished unjustly. Therefore, the promises of the last three only apply to those who are practicing the first three.

How are you today? Have you repaid someone who has been evil to you, with evil? Have you not been living out of a pure heart and tenderness toward those whom you call brothers and sisters? Then you should repent and attempt to make things right. I know I can hear it now, “But Brother Joe you don’t know what they did to me!” Listen I have been around church people for over twenty five years and have been in the ministry, in some kind of way, for ten years. I know how “Christians” can be. I know the church is the only army that shoots its’ wounded (pardon the old analogy that has been in churches for years).  You know what I also know? That God has called us to act and react better. He has called us to make amends where we can and forgive in our hearts. Won’t you do that today? Won’t you do the three things that Peter says and receive the three blessings that God gives? Remember that bitterness can grow and it will turn into a cancer that will harm your soul! The Choice is yours today. Let God work in you anew.

Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future!

Don’t Let Your Past Dictate Your Future!
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Far too often people don’t own up to their own actions about a given situation. Far too often they let people and happenings from their past dictate their future! Will you be one of those? Or will you move on with YOUR LIFE.

 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
– 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NKJV)

You know Christians often complain about the circumstances they find themselves in and we have all been guilty of it at some point. The problem is that with this culture we forget that it is not the circumstances that brought us here but how we respond in them as to how we will be judged by God.

Too often Christians want to be liked so much (by their peers/other Christians) that they compromise and play the political games of their circle of influence. A lot of them end up being puppets for whoever the “alpha-dog” is in the group. They are too scared to stand up for what they know is right, honest, and true, even though the Bible tells them to focus on those things. Why are they scared? Because they are afraid they will lose what little influence they currently have within the group (Note: By group I mean any group or click. It could even be where you work, if they claim to be a Christian place of employment)! The sad part is that this is the mentality and actions of the unbeliever, the un-churched! This is transplanted in a place where love should reign supreme, Christianity.

Now there is a catch with this! Some people think they are standing for truth when they aren’t. They don’t follow scripture, because they don’t know scripture! A Christian should stand for what is explicitly written as right and wrong in the Word of God, not fringe/peripheral issues. A Christian should call a spade a spade from God’s Word. If there is no repentance and the politics get played, let the chips fall where they may. Remember to stand up means that a lot of times you are going to get bitten by the “alpha-dog.” When that happens you are supposed to trust in God and no one else.

Look at Elijah. He did wonderful acts for God and called down fire from heaven! But where did he end up? He found himself in a cave all by himself. Why? Because he was running for his life, and when God protected him did he thank God? No! He whined and complained about being in that cave and that he was the only one left in Israel who truly worships God! So God reminds him of all that He has brought Elijah through and tells him there are seven thousand people in Israel who have not abandoned God. Far too often Christians who have been wronged by God’s “people” end up blaming God, even though they stood up for what is right. You know what? God has not forgotten you Christian He is right there and if you listen He will tell you that you need to get busy serving Him no matter what situation you find yourself. Remember God is bigger than you circumstances.

God knows where you have been and where you are going. Just let Him work all things out for you. Also remember to take responsibility for your own actions in any given situation, because more than likely you have some blame in the situation as well. God cares more about how you act than about how you were acted against.

How about you today? Are you blaming someone else entirely for some kind of situation in your life? Then stop and REPENT! Are you looking up and whining about a situation to God? Then stop and REPENT! It is time to move on in God and get your hands to the plow and start working for Him again! Will you be dragged down and turned bitter against someone? Or will you REPENT of your actions before a loving God and let Him deal with the past, while you move on with what God has for you? The Choice is yours.

Christians Say They are Free, but Most Are Not

Christians Say They are Free, but Most Are Not
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

What is true freedom and does someone who calls themselves a Christian achieve this so-called wonderful life? Find out today how Christians should overcome habitual sin. Will you do the hard work, or just remain a Christian in word only?

Charles Spurgeon said, “If God does not save a man by truth he certainly will not save them by lies, and if the old gospel is not competent to work a revival, then we will do without the revival; In our churches, there are three kinds of people. There are spectators, anticipators and participators. The spectator is just there to observe; the anticipator is expecting real blessings but not doing anything about it; and the participator is busy singing, praying, ushering, planning and doing the work. The participators are the minority, the sacred few who are doing more than others.” Many times when a message is about breaking free of bad habits people think of someone else that needs that message. Today this message isn’t for anyone else but you. Some people are a slave to work, some people are slave to jealousy, some people are slaves to gossip, and some are slaves to anger, pornography, various drugs, and many other vices that hold us in bondage. So today I want us to take an inventory of the Controlling NEGITIVE HABITS we allow in our lives, that needs to be broken.

Many notable Biblical scholars now agree that Paul traveled in southern Galatia during his first missionary journey during which he visited Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe (Acts 13:1-14:28).  It is believed that Paul went through northern Galatia on his second missionary journey (Acts 15:36-18:22) after passing through southern Galatia.  On his third missionary journey Paul visited the disciples in northern Galatia that had been converted on his second journey (Acts 18:23).  It is noteworthy that in the book of Acts Luke uses the word disciples rather than the word churches in connection with this visit.  The implication is that the Galatian churches were in southern Galatia and that there were only scattered disciples in northern Galatia.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
-Galatians 5:1-2 (KJV)

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
– 2 Peter 2:19 (KJV)

If we are going to overcome habitual sin then we must identify a controlling habit, find out why it is so powerful, and follow the principals of breaking free. There are Three areas that we are going to hit quickly and move along.

 

Identifying a Controlling Habit

A controlling habit is something you find yourself doing even though it is destructive ether physical, mentally, emotionally, relationally or spiritually. Or you consistently do something you wish you wouldn’t do, but you find yourself doing it any way. The apostle Paul fully understood his dilemma even though he had good intentions. He called himself a wretched man. You must understand many good people are bound by bad controlling habits. Denial is not the way to deal with the problem. Be honest, look at your life and like Paul, evaluate the things you find yourself doing that you hate. Realize the importance of the identification process and then submit your own inabilities to make the necessary changes to God. I ask you to take a moment sometime today or tonight and write down the habits in your life that you want to see absolute victory over.

 

Understand Why These Habits are so Controlling

They slowly bind you like a chain around your neck that slowly and painfully chokes the life out of you. Life controlling habits are formed at a pace almost unnoticeable. Usually the person doesn’t even know they have formed a habit in their life. And if someone asks they say, “I can quit at any time. This isn’t a problem.” Yeah, right and I can go to the moon anytime, it isn’t a problem!

Habits are like a cable. Each day we do something in a pattern, we intertwine one thread with another. As the threads are woven together a cable is formed. On any day, the threads we added were too small to be noticed. But, after many threads have been woven together, we find that together they have become an unbreakable cable. This describes a habit, daily practices over time become habits that are unbreakable.

The person who smokes isn’t addicted on the first pack of cigarettes. It takes time after time, smoke after smoke before the body becomes dependent upon nicotine. Habits are formed through willful behavior. The person has given in so many times to this thing that they are now addicted. This is the reason a habits is so powerful, because it begins so subtle.

Habits will break your strength, your will. Once you have allowed a habit to control you the Bible says, “That habit is your master.” That habit breaks you down to the point where you don’t even try to resist because you feel like you can’t break free. Your attitude becomes on of not trying to break free again. A sinful habit will break your will to fight.

Have you ever been to a circus and seen a giant elephant with a small rope around its ankle? Physically speaking, there is no way that small little rope can hold back that giant elephant! Here’s how it works. When trainers begin taming a baby elephant, they place a heavy chain around its ankle and stake the chain into the ground. Day after day, hour after hour, the baby elephant struggles to escape. But his efforts are in vain. He simply cannot break free from the grips of that powerful chain. Eventually he surrenders. He resolves in his mind that there is no possible way he can escape that chain. So he relinquishes forever the struggle to be free. Then when he has given up trying, his masters replace that giant chain with the small little rope. If the elephant ever opened his eyes to the truth, he could break free at any moment. All it would take is one try, but since the elephant doesn’t know that, he doesn’t take a step in the right direction of freedom. And so it happens that ten, twenty, thirty years later, the giant elephant remains held in bondage by something that really has no power to control him, except the power he chooses to give it.

Is this true with you as well? The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians 5:1 ”It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” Some of you are sitting here right now feeling like you don’t even have the will to fight, because the habit has broken your will. Once a habit has broken your will to fight you wallow in hopelessness. At this point the habit itself owns you because you have allowed it to own you. Maybe some of you feel like you have lost the will to fight because your will has been broken. That is the power of a sinful habit.

Why else are habits so powerful, they destroy your life? Sinful controlling habits will destroy you and others along with you. They destroy you in many different ways: Physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and relationally.

 

How to Start Breaking Free

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
-1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV)

To break free from the grip of a sinful habit from the least to the greatest, God lets us know that in every situation with every temptation he provides victory.

Steps to Freedom

Admit you have a problem.

Everything starts with confession and accepting the responsibility that you have a problem. They say in the Twelve Steps program, that you cannot win until you know you have a problem.

1Jn.1:9 “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” True healing starts with confession. Many people give in to a state of denial, they never admit they have a problem therefore they never break free. Alcoholics who never admit they are alcoholics won’t find freedom. People filled with anger, gossip, or any other sinful habit who won’t admit they have a problem won’t get freedom. The first step is recognizing you are bound and you have a problem.

Depend on God’s Power

Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all thing through Christ which strengths me.” When it comes to being set free from habits that bind, Jesus can do more in a moment than doctors can do in a lifetime. God must become your primary source of strength. Start your day off with God, and He will help you through the day to overcome and show you a way out. The more you allow God to be part of your life the more you will see Him working in you. You have to stop trying to do this by yourself. In James 4:7 God didn’t say do the best you can, “but draw near to me.”

 

Sinful Habits Must be Replaced with New ones

God told Moses that before the Israelites settled in the promise land, they should drive out the wicked inhabitants and destroy their idols. In Colossians 3 Paul encourages us to live as Christians in the same way: throwing away our old way of living and moving ahead into our new life of obedience to God and faith in Jesus Christ. We can destroy the wickedness in our life, or we can settle down and wallow in it. To have new life we must drive out the sinful thoughts and practices that are in our lives in order to replace them with good and Godly thoughts. The battle is either won in the mind or lost in the mind.

Remember you can’t do it alone. In the Garden of Eden God said that it wasn’t good for man to be alone. Nor is it good for you when you are struggling with something, not matter what that may be. You need to find an accountability partner; someone who will ask you the tough questions to keep you accountable to God and yourself; to that end in James 5:16 we are told to confess our sins to one another for the sake of healing.

Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Victory very often doesn’t come all-of-a-sudden but through hard work while trusting Christ to work in you. We are co-laborers with Christ. In Matthew 6:11 it says to give us this day our daily bread. Take it one day at a time.

How about you? Want freedom, then today can be your day to head in that direction. The choice is yours.

Christians Just Don’t Belong in This World!

Christians Just Don’t Belong in This World!
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

Christians, with all of their faults, just don’t belong here! Why? Find out today!

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
-1 Peter 2:11-12

 

Peter in verse eleven tells us that, depending on your translation, we are sojourner or aliens in a foreign land, after we have become Christians. As aliens in any land we have limited rights because this is not our home; no, our home is with God in the kingdom of God, in heaven. Peter gives us this to frame our minds for what he is about to say. You see he is about to address something that is very important; something Christians need to keep in mind, which is still important today.

Peter tells them to abstain from the lusts of the flesh. He has reminded us that we don’t belong here and as such we should not revel in debaucheries like those who belong in this world, but need to remember how we are to behave as those belonging to another kingdom. Why? Because these things go against an individual’s soul that has been regenerated (created anew) by the Holy Spirit. Now in our current culture when we talk about the lusts of the flesh we equate that with sex. But this is not the case. There are others lusts, like the lust for power, the lust for money etc. Peter is reminding us to not get caught up in the things of this world, as they are temporary. We must remember that while the body isn’t evil, it is a battle ground for satanic and self-centered lust. We are always being influenced by something, either influenced by Scripture or by the World. We have to decide which we will be influenced. How? By every choice we make. As Christians Peter warns us that we must not yield to these lusts, because doing  so will not feed our spiritual natures but the carnal parts of our beings.

In verse twelve Peter talks about how we behave amongst the Gentiles. Is he talking about the Gentile Christians? No. He uses this word to mean those that are without God. Notice he says that those in the world will speak evil of you. Not if, but when. You see the kingdom principles are pretty much the opposite of the world’s principles. We see this in our world today, and this was especially true in the first century, where Christians were belittled and killed due to their stances. They refused to bow to idols; refused to bow to Caesar (Caesar worship was common amongst the people. They had to bow to Caesar and declare Caesar as Lord.), and were called cannibals because of the Communion terminology that Jesus laid down for all Christians. If we are to be Christians then we need to remember that this is no longer our world, we are just passing through.

Now Peter also says that by Christians good works the unbelievers may glorify God. If we don’t compromise our faith then the way we live will be a great witness to the unbelievers. How can one proclaim Jesus but not even live the way He wants you to live? Unfortunately today too many Christians have compromised their beliefs. Christianity is not just an intellectual exercise but a way of life.

So, with these two verses Peter sets up what our mindset should be I our daily living. We must always keep in mind that this world is temporary and we are just passing through it on our way to heaven. Our job is to take as many people as will go with us on our way. The way we do that is by living our faith out in front of others. We should ask ourselves with every action/thought, “Does this have any eternal value?”

If you are a Christian what do your actions say about you? Are they honoring to Christ? Or will people look at you and say, “You act LIKE I DO! Why would I want to add more drama to my life?” Unfortunately a lot of Christian’s attitudes and the way they live are less than honoring to Christ. Folks if this is you, you need to repent! What will you do today? The Choice is yours.

Which Side Are You on?

Which Side Are You on?
By: Rev. Joe Kramer

There is a problem in Christendom! Christians/Churches are (generally speaking) split right down the middle of emotionalism and intellectualism. What do I mean by this? Some are interested in what they can learn, others are interested in what they can feel, but both are just going through the motions.

 

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
-2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)

God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
– John 4:24 (NKJV)

In our first scripture we are told to be diligent in the study of God’s Word. Yes we should! We definitely need to study God’s Word and apply it! I am not saying we shouldn’t. I am saying that there are entire churches so devoted to Bible Study that is all most of them will do; they won’t witness, they won’t minister, they won’t show up for anything at the church except for Bible study.

When music is being played in service you have to ask them to stand. They won’t worship God through music. They constantly use the excuse that the Bible is our authority, SOLO SCRIPTURA is their mantra (Solo Scriptura basically means that the authority of the Bible trumps all other authority)! They are right about the Bible and its authority, but they neglect the other parts of Christianity. They have become similar to the Pharisees! They study the Word so diligently but neglect Justice and Love. As Christ said to the Pharisees, I say to them, “You should do one and not neglect the other.”

What these people need is a little dose of the Holy Ghost (to borrow a cliché). They need to remember what it was like to have a passion for the indwelling presence of God in their lives! They need to let go and let God (to borrow yet another church cliché)! They need to be brought to their knees under the presence of God that makes them remember that God is powerful, loving, and personal. These people talk a talk about a personal God and remember fondly the presence of God from years gone by, but they need a fresh anointing (anointing, meaning the power and presence of God, it is a churchy word)! They need a fresh touch from God.

Now let us turn our attention to the churches that are all about feeling. These churches are exciting! There is a lot of feeling and passion in them. These people love Jesus and they are going to whoop and holler and let you know it! Their favorite verse tends to be our second verse. They say they are going to worship Him in SPIRIT! Yet they forget about the second part, TRUTH. One of the major problems with these churches is that they don’t want to hear about the history of the church, how we got the Bible, how theology is formed or any other thing. All they want to know is how God is going to bless THEM. These Christians also won’t show up for anything other than what they are going to feel. They aren’t against Bible study so much as they are really into experiencing God.

These people’s Christianity is often marked by drama and, to a lesser degree, selfishness. What these Christians need is more Bible and less emotions, less about them and more about Jesus! They need to learn what scripture tells them to do. They need to be about the Lord’s ministry and helping others.

So what is the result that both of these groups have in common? They both are weak on witnessing! They both believe they are doing things God’s way. The problem is that they are, for the most part, ineffective! You can tell by how many of these Christians/Churches are committed to telling other people about the good news of Jesus Christ! If Jesus is soooo good, why aren’t they sharing Him with others? The whooping and hollering crowd will point to their numbers, but those aren’t new Christians they are people from other churches. A lot of the time this crowd is just stealing sheep (another cliché, I know). The other crowd will point to their intellect and point to how many people they have taught, but how many are new converts (This is generally speaking, not every church ignores witnessing)?

Our God is a God of balance. Both of these types of Christians/Churches need to meet in the middle. We need both to truly serve God.  We need to remember the following passage of scripture. Some churches are so descent and in order, they order God out of the service and others are so wild, God wouldn’t join in anyway (yet another churchy cliché, I am on a role today)!

(26) How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. (27) If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret.( 28) But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. (29) Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. (30) But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. (31) For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. (32) And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. (33) For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
-1 Corinthians 14:26–33 (NKJV)

How about you today? Are you on one extreme or the other? Are you just going through the motions of either group, not being effective in your witness? Maybe you need to make it a matter of prayer. Maybe God wants you to be stable and well balanced. What do you think? I think this is one of those times when you need to sit down and do a true inventory of your spiritual life and make the changes that need to be made. The Choice is yours.