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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday message: Judaizers and others distracted

The one thing that jumped out of my Bible reading this week is the simplicity of what God expects from us.  It is a simplicity that would have been lost on the Judaizers of Paul's day.  You see, they had the comfort of 1,000 years of ritual-  they didn't have to "think" or "search" to know God, He was written right into their rules and regulations.  And as time went on, men- some holy, some not so much- interpreted those rules and regulations FOR them, so that God became not someone you knew, but something you were taught, and knowing the lessons became far more important than the Being they were supposedly emanating from.  And some of them were good rules, and we strive to live by them yet today, like the Ten Commandments.  But just like today, the "tablet" became more important than the words it contained.  What do I mean, "Just like today"?  Well, think about the battles we are having over the Ten Commandments being posted in courtrooms, and Christmas scenes on "public property" (Quote marks indicating that Christians ARE also part of the public), and what have you- and then follow the simplicity of what God wants.

It starts out in Deuteronomy 11:22, where God outlines the three simple things He wanted from them, and wants from us- 
Deu 11:22 "If you carefully observe all of these commands that I'm giving you to do—to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, and to cling to him..." #1, Love God.  #2 Walk in His ways, AKA obey.  #3 Cling to Him- come to Him as a child to a parent in all things.   Pretty simple, right?  Then came the next step, at Jesus' baptism:

Mat 3:16 When Jesus had been baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Suddenly the heavens opened up for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him.
Mat 3:17 Then a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love. I am pleased with him!"

And followed up at the Transfiguration:

Mat 17:5 While he yet spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. And behold a voice out of the cloud which said, This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear Him. Okay, so now we have the fourth command- hear Jesus.  But what was it Jesus was saying?  He summed it up in the most famous verse of all:

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

So now we have Jesus' game plan.  But how do we get on the winning side?  Paul, if you would:

Rom 10:9 Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.

And that's all there is to it.  Simple, right?  After that, any discussion of how to do it, where to do it, with what words to do it SHOULD be secondary.

I have tried to convey this on a FB friend's Catholic posts, and for 95% per cent of it, it is well received.  But there is one- maybe two, different accounts but the same words- person, a modern day Judaizer if you will, that cannot conceive of thinking beyond the comfort zone of what "the Church Fathers" have taught him/her.  As a result, when they enter the conversation, I get a lot of:

-You are a heretic (and when you point out "Judge not lest ye be judged", he merely puts some scriptural polish on, "It ain't judging if I'm right.")

-You follow a 500 year old religion, while we date back to Peter (IOW, Martin Luther apparently was the first one to conceive of the Bible as something to be read and studied).

-If not for the Crusades, we'd all be speaking Arabic (as a historian, I really enjoy when he gets to this point and I can totally embarrass him- sad but true).

- Oh, and my favorite- Even when the Church had bad popes (i.e. guys that were holding orgies in the Basillica like Alexander VI), they could DO NO WRONG if speaking FOR THE CHURCH.  Uh, yeah, not real convinced on that one.

Not all of his arguments are so far off the deep end- for example, his taking, as the Church does of the wedding at Cana as the proof for going to Mary first (rather than noticing that Jesus TURNED HER DOWN, and then she said, "Do what HE tells you"; or questioning the logic of Jesus coming to earth as man to not only die for our sins, but to establish a woman as the best way to get God's attention).  I've said many times- I do not believe these to be salvational issues, and I believe you can be a Catholic and be saved...  scroll back up to John 3:16 and the part about WHOEVER believes in Him.  Or if that isn't good enough,  How about this:

Mar 9:38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out demons in Your name, and he does not follow us. And we forbade him, because he does not follow us.
Mar 9:39 But Jesus said, Do not forbid him. For there is no one who shall do a work of power in My name who can lightly speak evil of Me.
Mar 9:40 For he who is not against us is for us.
Mar 9:41 For whoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in My name, because you belong to Christ, truly I say to you, He shall not lose his reward.

But, of course, the person in question would give a long drawn out explanation that boils down to 2 things:  You can't listen to the Bible because it was written by men;  You must get your truth from the Church Fathers, who were men who know better than you.

So he will continue to put up barriers.  You must believe in Child baptism.  You must confess to a priest.  You must believe that the wafer supernaturally becomes flesh.  You must not eat pork, you must be circumcised (Oops, how did THOSE get in there?)

But God didn't put up barriers.  Jesus said,

Mat 11:29 Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.
Mat 11:30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
Love.  Obey, Cling. Believe.  Confess.  All there is to it.

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