Show It

Neil Girrard
Scriptures Referenced in This Article:
          (Follow the Scripture links if you want to study the Scriptures for yourself.)
Isa. 1:11-14 π Isa. 66:3 π Isa. 66:3-4 π Lk. 18:9-14 π Jn. 13:35 π Acts 7:52-53 π 2 Ths. 2:10-12 π Jas. 1:27

In Smith's book, John the Baptizer exhorts the people:

"It is time you begin to show some sign that you are God's chosen people," he cried out. "But you are just like your ancestors - you pay no attention to God. You don't listen to the prophets." (Men Called Him Master, Elwyn Allen Smith, p. 11)

This is an echo of Stephen's defense:

"You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it." ( Acts 7:52-53; top )

In those days - the days of John the Baptizer, Jesus and Stephen - there was no more socially-acceptable way to ignore and disobey God than the traditions various rabbis and schools had built up around the Jewish religion. That is, men could oppress orphans and widows, look down with hatred and contempt on tax-collectors and Gentile "dogs," amass great fortunes through devious means and then bring their sacrifices to God and all was well. Or at least, one could find rabbis to twist the Scriptures to provide a justification and, if one still felt guilty, well, bring another gift to the temple - all will be well.

But God was not interested in sacrifices, rituals and mere religiosity. ( Isa. 1:11-14 ) Also:

"The acts of the hypocrite's worship are as abominable to God as if they were offered to idols - He who kills a bull as if he slays a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, as if he breaks a dog's neck; he who offers a grain offering, as if he offers swine's blood; he who burns incense, as if he blesses an idol. ...they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations." ( Isa. 66:3; top )

There is nothing in the acts of religion that will cancel out or justify or condone or cover over the wickedness that comes from the heart of man.

Jesus told a story to some people "who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

'Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee [the strictest, most devout sect of Judaism] and the other a tax collector [a virtual traitor to Israel, these collected exorbitant taxes for the Romans and collected more than they were allotted for themselves as well]. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, "God, I thank You that I am not like other men - extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all I possess." And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.'" ( Lk. 18:9-14; top )

Today, there is probably no more socially-acceptable way to ignore and disobey God than the "Christian religion" - nor is any so well equipped with handy, twisted and distorted "proof texts" to justify the many and varied tastes and practices of the flesh. Those who practice the "Christian religion" in this manner should hear what God said to the hypocritical practicer of the Jewish religion:

"Just as they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations, so will I choose their delusions, and bring their fears on them; because when I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear; but they did evil before My eyes, and chose that in which I do not delight." ( Isa. 66:3-4 - emphasis added; top)

The New Testament warns that upon those who

"did not receive the love of the truth, by which they might be saved, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." ( 2 Ths. 2:10-12; top )

Too many "church"-goers count their visit to the "church" building to endure a lifeless and irrelevant speech ("sermon") and their donation to support "the man of God" and his building as the thing which keeps them right before God (righteous, justified). Those who also attend "Sunday school," the mid-week "Bible study" or any special-category fellowship are "the faithful" and too often this is equated with "extra" holiness. When it is stated this baldly, it is often denied but deep in our hearts where we stand alone before God we know this is the "subconscious" paradigm under which much of the "church" functions.

Jesus said,

"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." ( Jn. 13:35; top )

He did not say that our following Him would be demonstrated by our "church" attendance, ability to quote all the "correct" creeds, our ability to play Bible trivia or our "correct" practice of the "Christian religion."

James wrote,

"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." ( Jas. 1:27; top )

Paying for the "pastor's" and the professional staff's (too-often exorbitant) salaries and the (too-often) elegant, paganistic temple men call "church" competes with and most often excludes any real help and support the orphans and widows might otherwise receive. And demonstrating how "morally superior" one is because one attends the "right" "church" wearing the "right" clothes and shining forth a "Christian" smile is a most worldly characteristic. "Church" is most often diametrically opposed to that which God considers pure and undefiled religion.

As it was in the days of the Baptizer, it is now time to show some sign that we really are God's elect, chosen people. But most "church" people are too-well trained for that - they are just like the stiff-necked Jews who resisted the Holy Spirit and refused to hear what God was saying - first to their own hearts and second through his servants who speak prophetically (declaring the will and purpose of God for this time and season. And we would do well that God has always raised up His servants the prophets before He executes some dire judgment against men and whenever the priesthood were too corrupt to accurately speak the word of the Lord.

The adage "history repeats itself," while not completely accurate, has application here. The institutional "church" bears many deep similarities to the traditional Judaism which rose up and accomplished the execution of the Messiah. The group of people who claim to belong to God (but who show none of the signs that they do truly belong to Him) actually belong to the one who is filled with vile hatred for the Creator and His Son. These false followers will always do the will of their true father even as they mouth the words of the Father they falsely claim as their own.

Let he who has ears hear.

A Voice in the Wilderness
Men Called Him Master

I'd love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!

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