Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)
I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:4-5)
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.(Mt 5:13-16)
. . . be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Phil 2:15)
When evil is good and good is evil, where are those called to be the salt of the earth and light of the world?!
“I went at your bidding, and passed along their thoroughfares of trade. I ascended their mountains and went down their valleys. I visited their manufactories, their commercial markets, and emporiums of trade. I entered their judicial courts and legislative halls. But I sought everywhere in vain for the secret of their success, until I entered the church. It was there, as I listened to the soul-equalizing and soul-elevating principles of the Gospel of Christ, as they fell from Sabbath to Sabbath upon the masses of the people, that I learned why America was great and free, and why France was a slave.” – Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian reporting to the French Senate, 1800s
A few years before Dr. D. James Kennedy passed away, I spent an afternoon with him at his church in Florida. Dr. Kennedy is the founder of world-renown Coral Ridge Ministries, known for…
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What kind of Christian are you? Am I? Are we Hot, Cold, or Lukewarm? Are we being the light of the world and salt of the earth? Are we teaching and preaching a true or false gospel? Are we ‘going with the flow’ with the world, or are we ‘separated unto God’ and living to serve and please Him only?
Greg Laurie notes, ‘you can’t have your own Bible. You can’t edit God’
Today there are a lot of people living a watered-down version of Christianity. What concerns me is that many of these people who are running around and saying they are Christians do not have lifestyles that back it up.
Here is what Jesus says: “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!” (Revelation 3:15–16 NLT) A more literal translation of the word “spit” would be vomit.
I remember a time when my wife and I and our son went to a fast food restaurant and ordered some fries. When we got them, they were wilted and lukewarm.
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Somebody said, “You can’t be SERIOUS?!” Another said, “I want to throw up!” I saw two Asian men in what I thought to be a COMICAL GAG– like you gotta be KIDDING! No, this is TRUE AND SERIOUS! We cannot put our heads in the sand. The reality of evil and corruption in society is with us and is not going away too soon. It’s in our face and cannot be ignored! We will likely have to live with it as many of the homosexuals pushing their gay agenda have said, “We’re here to stay!”
SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT? Let GOD be the judge of those OUTSIDE of the church, but we should most definitely judge what is going on IN the church. 1Peter 4:17-19 in the Amplified Bible says:
“For the time [has arrived] for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will [be] the end of those who do not respect or believe or obey the good news (the Gospel) of God?
And if the righteous are barely saved, what will beome of the godless and wicked?
Therefore, those who are ill-treated and suffer in accordance with God’s will must do right and commit their souls [in charge as a deposit] to the One Who created [them] and will never fail [them].”
The church cannot continue to be negligent in teaching against sin and indulging in the same things that the world loves. Ungodly behaviors that are displeasing to God cannot be ignored and should not be found among us like
- fornication-premarital sex and shacking up, adultery of church members;
- divorce and dysfunctional families;
- jealousy, envy, and strife in the church and especially in church board meetings;
- indulging in life styles of the opulent- fashion and fads and worldly music;
- lack of compassion for the poor and homeless in our communities; etc.
We cannot win over anyone to God’s kingdom if we have nothing attractive or better to offer them. Unless we start to live our faith and make a difference, beginning in our own homes and churches, we will not be the salt of the earth and light of the world to anyone! It is not only the wicked who are on the fast track to hell, but also a whole bunch of others who will not inherit the kingdom of God. These are so called ‘Christians’ who Paul says in 2Tim 3:5 “have a form of godliness” BUT ARE:
“lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemous, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent/scoffers, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (vs 2-5)
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (vs 13)
In Galatians chapter 5, (please read the whole chapter), Paul exhorts ‘believers’ to “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (vs 16) The following are what were being manifested as ‘works of the flesh’ among the ‘believers’:
“Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal 5:19-21)
As can be clearly seen, Satan has made great inroads into the church to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). God will judge those outside of the church. We need to clean house and judge what is going on IN God’s house among those who claim to be His children, especially because they are in great danger of hell fire and perdition as well. So, are those of the LGBT community worse sinners than we? Jesus said:
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3)
I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:5)
Yes, Jesus repeated the same words TWICE. After He said this He spoke of the FIG TREE PARABLE which I paraphrase like this: God is doing a work in our lives with the purpose of producing Christians who have good fruit to show. If we are not the light of the world and salt of the earth that we should be, we will stand a good chance of being rejected by God.
A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard: and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
And he answering said unto him Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou SHALT CUT IT DOWN. (Luke 13:6-9)
Satan’s job is to destroy lives and the churches, to take as many people, including Christians, to hell with him. Satan looks for opportunities to sow division and strife among the brethren through the worldly carnality of its leaders and/or members. The Bible tells us ‘neither give place to the devil’ (Eph 4:27), and that Satan can ‘take us captive at his will’ if we give place to him (2Tim 2:26)! Here is an example of how Satan has infiltrated the churches causing strife and dissension among the members!
I have been following a blog site by a group of believers in Asia whose mega Christian church of several thousand members has been undergoing a major financial and spiritual battle for the last few years. Great controversy has arisen because the senior pastor, his associate pastors, board members and deacons have tried to force a very expensive- tens of millions of dollars, church building project upon many dissenting and unhappy members. Plans for building a world-class landmark church complex have not met with the consensus of its membership who have been pressured into funding the project through their tithes and sacrificial giving.
A blogsite by dissidents of this megachurch clearly shows how Satan has sneaked in and is destroying the church from within. The kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom14:17), has been replaced by suspicion, carnality, envying, strife, and division among its members. Fundraising and pleas for money- ‘give so God will bless you kinds of messages’, guilt-trips, have become common, and are subtle and rife. Ugly power struggles relating to money management issues and spendings are at the forefront.
The Bible declares ‘For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work’ (Jas 3:16).
This is a standard ploy of Satan working in many churches! The love of money, the root of all evil (1Tim6:10) is often the focal point of many church problems; how to raise more money, how to support the extravagant lifestyle and travels of the ministry and leadership, how to keep the church growing, and the people returning to church through worldly promotions and entertainment, high-powered guest speakers and televangelists, and how to keep the people giving!
Jesus said ‘My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves’ (Mt 21:13).
A few hundred of their members have been disfellowed or not allowed to vote because they do not support the building project. Many have left the church, and some are encouraging on the website that others should also leave. The question arises among themselves- why should they remain and hope that something will happen to halt the costly construction of the project running in the tens of millions. Some who have left the church continue to blog to report how they are blessed attending another church. Others hope that the pastor may repent, apologize and admit to his wrong doings, which does not appear likely to happen anytime soon. Collections have dropped drastically presenting great difficulties for the church to meet its huge loan payments, including thousands of dollars for monthly interest alone.
Some of their blogging has gotten pretty nasty; the tone is very ugly interspersed with some four-letter words and name-calling. There are constant demands that the pastors and leaders step down, trade in their luxury cars and downsize their standard of living, in the same way that they are calling their members to sacrifice in order for them to give more money!
Their worldly and intransigent pastor is said to once have had an anointed ministry, but now lives like a millionaire, following mammon instead of God, as one blogger writes. He is criticized for living like the rich and famous with $2,000 suits and $500 shoes, pocketing and using church money for his own and his family’s lifestyle. He also kept designated mission funds and transferred them into his own personal overseas account. After the impropriety had been discovered, to appease the members, he returned some money back into the church treasury. Many of the posts reflect angry and hurt people; venting and calling their pastor a false prophet, a swindler and embezzler of sorts, a charlatan and a wolf in sheep’s clothing misleading the dumb sheep. Others express concern of an inevitable bankruptcy down the road as in the recent case of the Crystal Cathedral in California.
This church is a prime example of the grave apostasy in many churches today, and it shows how Satan has made great inroads in causing church splits and disunity. Often many churches spend more time on crisis management than on seeking God for guidance and/or preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This church scandal is a poor testimony of Christians to the world, with comments from believers and non-believers alike coming from all over the world! Satan has succeeded in bringing reproach to the Church, and to Jesus Christ, making both of them a laughing stock!
Satan is doing a great job “to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10).
Jer 23:1 states “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD”.
Rev 18:4 warns us “..Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues”.
Jesus said “..except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5).
Finally, many of you may have listened to Pastor Rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s keynote address at the Presidential Inauguration Prayer Breakfast in Wash. D.C. or looked at the links on his book, The Harbinger. As a prophet and watchman to the church Cahn calls us to repent and return to God, as individuals and a nation that was founded on Godly principles. The message of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a message to the church to get our act together! At the end of his speech, Jonathan Cahn implored us to be ‘the salt of the earth’ , and ‘the light of the world’ Mt5:13,14. We can do this by recognizing and fighting with the real enemy of our souls which is Satan!
Recently I’ve been thinking about John 3:16 and how it relates to the ‘Great Commission‘ as it is known and taught in most Christian circles. I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that “All scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness: so that the servant of God may be perfect, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16 NIV).
The Great Commission refers to Jesus commissioning His followers to reach the world with His teachings about salvation and eternal life by believing in Him. It says in John 3:16-17,
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
The Great Commission can be found in each of the four Gospels and in many other places in the Bible. This means that it is an important Biblical teaching.
- Matthew 28:19,20 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
- Mark 16:15 “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. . .”
- Luke 24:27 “repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem”.
- John 20:21b “as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.”
“For God so loved the world”… These words are so profound. The Bible tells us that in the Lord’s prayer, in John 17:9, Jesus tells His Father that He prays for us, his disciples, who already believe in Him that we would be protected and be safe from evil. But Jesus also said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” John 17:20-21. Jesus’ prayer was a prayer for unity among those who would believe in Him.
The main point I want to make is that the gospel of salvation is for all people in the world, not to be confined within the four walls of churches, or reserved for Christian believers only. I wonder how many Christian churches even make evangelism and mission and outreach work a priority in their church budgets. And I wonder how many folks are willing to be doers of God’s Word rather than hearers only. We who call ourselves Christians, who are to be the salt of the earth and light of the world have not done our jobs well when we consider the state our society, nation and world is in today. Jesus is the light of the world and we should be His light bearers.
“For God so loved the world”… How can the people in the world- in our community, state, nation and world know about God’s love if we don’t share the Gospel with them? The world needs JESUS, not man’s ideas and philosophies, outward forms of religiosity, denominationalism, traditions of man, programs and entertainment, etc. that divide us. Our prayer should be the same that Jesus prayed- that Love, Peace and Unity would prevail among ALL peoples. If we can learn to love one another as God loves, then there is hope for a better future for every man, woman, and child in this lost and suffering world.
I hope that I can do my small part to spread the message that “God so loved the world”. Since I started blogging a little over a month ago, I’ve reached viewers in the US, Canada, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Guatemala, New Zealand, UK, and India, with many more countries to go. Please reach out to others with the love of God and join me in the Great Commission by proclaiming, “God loves you. And I love you, too!”