Archive for April, 2012

The Friends and Followers of Jesus

April 10, 2012

Well, it’s happened again. Someone calling themselves a “follower of Jesus” chose to follow me on Twitter. In case you hadn’t guessed by now, I really resent this sort of thing.

Understand that, since I can count my friends on the fingers of one hand, writing about this will, more likely than not, be very costly for me. It’s not pleasant being unwelcome in places where many Christians congregate; Being told, in no uncertain terms that your words are of no value. But, that’s okay. I believe that I’m in good company, as I read Hebrews 11, which teaches that, those who decide that following God is better than pleasing Man, are usually rejected and ostracized by almost everyone they know, even by those who profess to serve God.

So, let’s get on with it.

No, I don’t resent the Twitter followers. What I resent is the tag some of them have been hanging on themselves lately.

“Follower of Jesus.”

What does that mean? Are these “followers” like the “followers” we read of in John 6?

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” John 6:66 (KJV) [Look at that! I’ve never taken notice of that before. Is that possibly or coincidently, a characteristic of those who will become followers of the Beast?]

This happened after the worldly “followers” of the Lord Jesus found that the spiritual truth the Lord was trying to teach them was just a little more than they could swallow. “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” John 6:60 (KJV).

And, what, pray tell, was this spiritual truth these “followers” found so distasteful? You may be asking.

“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” John 6:53 (KJV).

These “followers” couldn’t, with their worldly eyes, recognize a spiritual metaphor.

Why? This is the first scripture which comes to my mind: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Cor. 2:14 (KJV).

So, those people in John 6 were so worldly-minded they were unable to grasp the metaphor the Lord Jesus was using. The only thing His words brought to their minds was cannibalism, which was scripturally forbidden. Gen. 9:2-6 (KJV). They were offended by His words, and turned away from the Lord of Life.

Fast-forward to 2012 A.D.

Being called a “Christian” has become politically incorrect. Secular society has, in the minds of many, successfully associated the word “Christian” with child molesters, right-wing radicals, the socially intolerant, the scientifically ignorant, and a host of other “nasties” that offend popular society. Sometimes, being a Christian, even in the West now, comes at a cost. That scares the Professors out there. Sadly, corrupt doctrine comes to their rescue, teaching that the Church needs to make accommodation for the world if it hopes to be relevant and reach the lost with the Gospel. (Actually, it’s so the Church Growth Movement hucksters can enlarge the borders of their tents and expand the capacity of their purses, but that’s another story altogether.) So now, the Professors have chosen to twist and ignore scripture. Compromising their faith to avoid what the Lord Jesus said would be one of the characteristics of a faithful Believer:

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (KJV).

Compromising with the world, to gain wealth and avoid persecution. That’s the fruit of this corrupt neo-orthodox Christianity of the West. It’s a Christianity that requires nothing nor does it demand anything from it’s adherents.

So, what does all this have to do with the “friends” question above?

“And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Acts 11:26 (KJV)

The Bible, the complete, inspired, fully authoritative, inerrant, Word of God, is made-up of “words”. That should come as no surprise to anyone. What seems to escape a lot of Christians, especially those who are employed by Bible translation societies, is that the WORDS of the Bible were CHOSEN by GOD to communicate a particular message to those who were to read it. While changing those words to make the Bible support a particular theological, social, or political agenda, using texts found in some ancient archaeological trash bin, virtually guarantees the one committing the act, a one-way ticket to the Lake of Fire, Rev. 22:18-19, there is a deeper issue of Professing Believers IGNORING the CLEAR direction of the Word of God, because they”re offended by the Word or fearful of persecution because of the Word, and they’ve been given the “all clear” to do so by their “leaders”.

That is the problem I have with all these people running around calling themselves “friends” or “followers  of Jesus”.

The Word of God teaches that people who have become disciples of the Lord Jesus, are to be called “CHRISTIANS”. Not “followers” or “friends”, (that relationship is reserved for only a few of the original disciples, not everyone who claims the Name), of the Lord Jesus, but CHRISTIANS. The word was chosen by God to communicate a particular message. as were all the rest of those words. Just because that message offends the world:

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Mat. 24:9(KJV);

That does not mean we have the authority to change or alter either the context of the message, or the biblical designation of the messenger.

Some of you know me better than others. You know that, where Scripture is concerned, I am uncompromising, and I don’t care if feelings are hurt over it or not. I know, as Isaiah knew that “… I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips …”. I know that the world is full of false prophets; wolves in sheep’s clothing, who teach damnable doctrines of demons that can even deceive the Elect. So, when I am accused of being judgmental, because I am critical of those who treat the Word of God too lightly, I warn those accusers that they will be held responsible before God for the loose way they handled the Word of Truth; for their failure to rightly divide that same Word, thereby teaching and adhering to doctrines which arose from corrupt sources. My defense before God is that, to the best of my ability, I heard all that God had said, I believed all that God had said. I repented of my sinful life, and I trusted God for the rest of it. That’s the narrow gate, and adding to that, frequent self-examination, II Cor. 13:5, I John 5:15, I trust God to keep me on the narrow way. Matt. 7:14.

Are Professing Christians so ashamed of the Lord Jesus that they reject the title by which the Word states His disciples are to be known? How does that affect one’s unique relationship with the rest of the Body of Christ? I believe that such people are walking on deadly ground. I don’t believe these are actually saved (the “gospel” preached in most Western churches over the past 40-years or so, couldn’t save Green Stamps, let alone sinners and that’s what most Professors heard and believed). I do believe, however, that these Professors are running the risk of having their hearts hardened and their minds closed to the extent that they may never comprehend what God has said. That makes it difficult to comprehend and believe in the need for repentance unto salvation.

If you’re a Christian, embrace the title. God gave it to you. The sacrifice of the Lord Jesus made it possible for you to receive that righteous title and the salvation that goes along with it. Wear it in humility. You don’t deserve it. You didn’t earn it. It was a gift. It’s worth far more than any moniker you could invent out of your own imagination.