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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Shame on the Church!

Pliny the Younger (c. 62 - c.113 AD) was the Roman Governor of Bithynia (present-day northwestern Turkey). Around 111 or 112 AD, he wrote the following letter to Emperor Trajan of Rome asking for advice on how to deal with Christians. 

    It is a rule, Sir, which I inviolably observe, to refer myself to you in all my doubts; for who is more capable of guiding my uncertainty or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials of the Christians, I am unacquainted with the method and limits to be observed either in examining or punishing them. Whether any difference is to be allowed between the youngest and the adult; whether repentance admits to a pardon, or if a man has been once a Christian it avails him nothing to recant; whether the mere profession of Christianity, albeit without crimes, or only the crimes associated therewith are punishable -- in all these points I am greatly doubtful. 
     In the meanwhile, the method I have observed towards those who have denounced to me as Christians is this: I interrogated them whether they were Christians; if they confessed it I repeated the question twice again, adding the threat of capital punishment; if they still persevered, I ordered them to be executed. For whatever the nature of their creed might be, I could at least feel not doubt that contumacy and inflexible obstinacy deserved chastisement. There were others also possessed with the same infatuation, but being citizens of Rome, I directed them to be carried thither. 
     These accusations spread (as is usually the case) from the mere fact of the matter being investigated and several forms of the mischief came to light. A placard was put up, without any signature, accusing a large number of persons by name. Those who denied they were, or had ever been, Christians, who repeated after me an invocation to the gods, and offered adoration, with wine and frankincense, to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for that purpose, together with those of the gods, and who finally cursed Christ -- none of which acts, it is into performing -- these I thought it proper to discharge. Others who were named by that informer at first confessed themselves Christians, and then denied it; true, they had been of that persuasion but they had quitted it, some three years, others many years, and a few as much as twenty-five years ago. They all worshipped your statue and the images of the gods, and cursed Christ. 
     They affirmed, however, the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food -- but food of an ordinary and innocent kind. Even this practice, however, they had abandoned after the publication of my edict, by which, according to your orders, I had forbidden political associations. I judged it so much the more necessary to extract the real truth, with the assistance of torture, from two female slaves, who were styled deaconesses: but I could discover nothing more than depraved and excessive superstition. 
     I therefore adjourned the proceedings, and betook myself at once to your counsel. For the matter seemed to me well worth referring to you, especially considering the numbers endangered. Persons of all ranks and ages, and of both sexes are, and will be, involved in the prosecution. For this contagious superstition is not confined to the cities only, but has spread through the villages and rural districts; it seems possible, however, to check and cure it.
Consider what Peter wrote in (1Pe 4:12-19).

Notice some things Piny said in his letter:

First Paragraph
He wasn't sure if there should be any difference in punishment between the young and adults. 

He wasn't sure if the punishment fit the crime.  WHAT CRIME?!?!  Christianity?

Second Paragraph
Those who refused to renounce Christ were executed.  No specific crime, but the Christians expressed inflexibility the Roman cause and faithfulness to Christ.  Keep in mind that Tacitus writes that Christians were wrapped in skins of wild beasts and allowed to be killed by wild dogs.  They were also clothed in flammable material and used as lights in his garden or lights at his circus.

Third Paragraph
Anyone who denounced Christ and worshiped an idol God was set free!

Fourth Paragraph
Does this not sound like what we do on the Lord's Day?  We sing hymns to worship and take the Lord's Supper.

What Pliny calls, "depraved and excessive superstition" I call FAITH!

Fifth Paragraph
Again, what we know as faith is superstition to Pliny.

Notice what the goal was to do with Christianity.  To "cure" it.  

     In conclusion, I read what the early church endured for their faith and I compare that to the 21st century church and I am appalled.  We won't even miss a football game to worship God today.  We put off worship for work.  We put anything an everything before the Lord's Day!  In doing so, we still feel like God owes us something because we are there once a month or every other week.  That's OK though.  The "By-Laws" of our congregation says we are still a member as long as we come once a month!  SHAME ON THE CHURCH TODAY!  (Mt 16:24,25)  These verses are not suggestions.  Satan must only make God second in your life not last!  (Mt 22:37,38)

Have a red letter day!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Are you a Daniel?

     I hear people say, "We can't allow people to remove God from this and that."  I do agree.  The problem is that there has always been people trying to remove God from things.  There always will be people who will attempt to remove God. The problem is God's people run around throwing fits and complaining.  They click "LIKE" on Facebook to these things.  They even forward emails that say these things.  That sounds great.  We take action into our own hands.  Everyone says, "We can fix this.  Our country is going down the tubes and it is all this particular political parties fault.  We can fix it by voting the other way!"  Sure, people voted the other way and things may slowly get better, but are we missing the point?
     In the Old Testament God used others to accomplish things with his people.  It is all through our Bibles that we lay on the counter after a service and pick it up in that same spot for the next service.  Read the Bible, you will see what I mean.  God sent struggles not to punish his people, but to call them to repentance!  (Amos 4:10)  God sent pestilence and war as a call to repentance!  Maybe, this country needs to repent. 
     Are we repenting to God or striking out at those who threaten our way of life?  Some guy says we can't do this or that because it has to do with God so we plan an attack on we can stop them.  God says he will avenge us when we suffer for him!  (Rom 12:19)
     Consider Daniel, he was told by man not to pray. (Dan 6:6-9)  This sounds similar to us being told not to pray in schools and court proceedings, does it not?  Daniel didn't fight the injunction.  He didn't rally all his friends together and cry about what was done.  He just kept doing what he always had done.  He prayed! (Dan 6:10)  Take special notice that Daniel DID NOT open the window.  Thus, the window of prayer is always open!  Daniel remained obedient no matter what man said.  He continued to pray.  God used that obedient man in a mighty way.  We all know about the miracle of Daniel and the lion's den.  The thing that is never mentioned is Daniel's willingness to pay a price prior to this miracle ever taking place.  Today, we want the miracles, but we are not willing to pay a price.  
     We must turn to God in repentance and prayer.  We must remain faithful.  God, will heal this country not a new political party!  People will always be trying to remove God from his people.  The question is will his people trust God and remain obedient?  Do you witness to others when you are told not to?  Do you confess Christ when people ask you not to?  Do you take God with you all week or leave him wherever you worshiped him on the Lord's Day?  Are you a Daniel?
     Everyone wants to be saved.  So many men say, "This is what the Bible says to be saved."  For the most part they are partly correct and you must remember this saying, "A HALF TRUTH IS A WHOLE LIE."  The Bible is a complete work.  We must look at the entire body of work to see what we must do to be saved, not just one or two parts.  Consider the following illustration.
     You want to be a mechanic so you buy a book called, "Be A Mechanic."  Does just owning that book make you a mechanic?  No, certainly not.  The first section says you must have tools.  The second section says you must have a shop to use the tools.  The final section teaches you how to use the tools. You then go out and buy tools.  Are you now a mechanic?  No, just doing part of what that book says does not make you a mechanic.  You must do what the rest of the book says right?  The same thought applies to our salvation and the Bible.  Just owning a Bible doesn't save you.  Having a place to worship(shop) doesn't save you.  You must do everything the Bible says in order to be saved.
    Let's look at the phrase "be saved."  The Bible says the following:
BELIEVE:              Jn 3:16,17
REPENT:                  Acts 2:38-40
CONFESS:               Rom 10:9
BAPTISM:               Mk 16:16

     Now, if you must to everything a mechanic book says to be a mechanic. Wouldn't you have to do everything the Bible says to be saved?  Yes, you sure would.  Remember the quote, "A half truth is a whole lie."  
     Today, I ask you to be a Daniel.  Today, turn to God and allow him to heal you and this country!

Have a red letter day,