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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Disrespect for the Word of God is Disrespect for Jesus

There is little respect for the word of God in America today.  It is now common to hear the term post-Christian used to describe our society and the West in general.  Of course, if we are post-Christian it necessarily follows we have also become post-scriptural, people who no longer value the things of scripture, believe them, or abide in them. 

The liberal secularists and progressives in America who have come to dominate much of the media, politics, academia, and the sports and entertainment industries see this as a positive thing.  We are growing up, outgrowing silly myths and superstitions, becoming at last mature adults able to deal with reality—God is a myth. 

With such a mindset obedience or disobedience to the word of God as found in the Christian scriptures means nothing.  The scriptures are not to be taken seriously.  At best they teach good life lessons on how to order your own personal life but if you follow them too meticulously they will lead you into intolerance and judgment.  You will become a despicable bigoted person for after all not everything the Bible calls sin is actually sin.  Modern man is a better judge of sin than the scriptures. 

Accordingly, modern man has, so he thinks, refuted outdated ideas like there being any sin in adultery (as scripture defines it), fornication, abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, attempting to change one's sex, etc.  Since discarding scripture is now in vogue one must ask what we have in place of it to guide us through life?  The answer is nothing other than whatever the latest fashion is.  Our values and ethics change it seems like the passing seasons of the year.  Anyone now living who can remember just fifty years ago can tell you we are no longer the same people we were then.  

In modern thought what one needs to do is embrace everyone in whatever lifestyle they engage in, meaning you remain uncritical of it and accepting, and it will be okay with you.  Be a good person as judged by society’s standards and it will go well with you in whatever life is to come--if there is a life to come—which, by the way, we don’t believe.  But even if there is a God he thinks the same way we do so don’t worry, it will go well with you.  So we think, so we live our lives. 

Did Jesus teach any of this?  No he did not, none of it.  First of all he never believed nor taught it was going to go well with the majority of society based on being a good person in society.  “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:14 NKJV)  The few is not the many.  Do not be misled by those who seem to be teaching or implying that all is going to go well with the mass of humanity, those judged good by society’s standards; unless Jesus is a liar that will not be the case.  A good Roman citizen in the first or second century was still lost unless he/she was also a Christian.  The same can be said of citizens in all societies since then. 

Secondly, Jesus never had the attitude that one could be indifferent about scripture; one cannot be indifferent about doing God’s will.  "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matt 7:21 NKJV)  If doing the will of the Father is necessary, as Jesus says, the will of the Father must be discerned.  That necessarily implies that God’s word is of utmost importance as it is the vehicle by which God’s will is made known to man.  

Did Jesus respect scripture?  If he did how can we say we respect him while disrespecting what he honors?  In John 5:45-47 Jesus rebukes the Jews he is speaking to for not believing the writings of Moses, “if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:47 NKJV)  Earlier in John 5:39 he says the scriptures are “they which testify of me.”  In John 10:35 he says, “The scripture cannot be broken.” (NKJV) 

In just these three passages alone from the book of John we see Jesus’ respect for Moses’ writings and the trustworthiness of scripture as it relates to the testimony of and about himself as well as the fact that scripture is rock solid; it cannot be broken.  This is Jesus’ view of scripture.  

One is reminded of Jesus' comments about creation in the book of Matthew when he said, "Have you not read (read what?—scripture—DS) that he who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?” (Matt. 19:4-5 NKJV)  Jesus quotes Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24, Moses’ writings, and in doing so is telling us he respects what was written and with the direct implication that we should too.  Jesus destroys any thoughts about the evolution of man from lower life forms in this passage and establishes marriage as being between a man and a woman by accepting what Moses wrote. 

Moses’ writings are reliable but our culture does not want to accept them or what Jesus said about them for if Moses’ writings are true it means that marriage is between a man and a woman and our culture is no longer willing to accept that kind of a restriction on God’s institution.  God institutes marriage but he has no right, as we see it, to be exclusive about it.  It is his institution but we are determined to grasp it from him and rule it ourselves.  God has no right in the matter. 

We will not respect the scripture.  Jesus did but we won’t and many of us want nothing to do with a Jesus who will not endorse and celebrate gay marriages.  God has no right to regulate sin.  Thank you but we can very well do that on our own (we think).  If we don’t want it to be sin we will not allow it to be.  We have that much power?  Wow!  Impressive! 

Jesus also spoke of Noah, the flood, and the ark as historical fact (Luke 17:27), of Moses and the burning bush (Mark 12:26, Luke 20:37), of Jonah being in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights (Matt. 12:40), of Sodom and Gomorrah (Mark 6:11, Luke 17:29), of Daniel’s “abomination of desolation” (Mark 13:14), and of David saying "have you not even read this, what David did when he was hungry?” (Luke 6:3 NKJV) 

Jesus endorsed the scriptures as authentic, historical, and reliable.  To cast aspersion upon the scriptures is to reflect upon the knowledge and wisdom of Jesus, to make him out a fool for accepting things we will not accept.  Our society is no longer willing to believe and laughs at divine creation, a worldwide flood, Jonah (a fish story), Sodom and Gomorrah, homosexuality as a sin, etc. 

Let me drive a point home here.  We sometimes make a distinction between what we believe (believe in the sense of having a strong opinion) and what we know.  We say we do not believe a thing—we know it.  So the question arises did Jesus believe the things he spoke of, that is just have a strong opinion, or did he know them? 

If he just believed them like you and I believe things when we speak that way then he was just a man and could not be God and man’s savior.  If on the other hand he knew as fact the things of which he spoke then we enter into the realm of his being more than just a man.  He spoke as one who knew.  So where do we stand?  What do we believe about Jesus?  Did he speak as a man or as God?  Will we believe Jesus?  If so it forces us to believe the scriptures.  When we doubt the scriptures we doubt Jesus and doubt is not faith. 

Jesus spoke of Old Testament scripture as the New Testament scriptures had not yet been written.  How important is not just Old Testament scripture but also New Testament scripture? 

Jesus said, “He who rejects me, and does not receive my words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken on my own authority; but the Father who sent me gave me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that his command is everlasting life.  Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told me, so I speak." (John 12:48-50 NKJV) 

Jesus spoke the word of God (John 12:48-50, 14:10, 24, 17:8,14) but lest we think that means we need only a red letter edition of the New Testament where we can pick Jesus’ words out by the red print and can ignore the rest of the New Testament we need to read further.  Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to the apostles.  “I will pray the Father, and he will give you another helper…even the Spirit of truth…he dwells with you and will be in you…I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:16-18 NKJV)  As Jesus and the Father are one so are Jesus and the Holy Spirit. 

When the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles it was the same as if Jesus had come back to them in person.  This is clarified in Jesus’ own words in John 16:12-14, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  However, when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak; and he will tell you things to come.  He will glorify me, for he will take of what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:12-14 NKJV)  Jesus still has many things to say.  When is he going to say them and how?  He will say them through the Holy Spirit when the Holy Spirit is sent to the apostles (and granted as a spiritual gift to others in the scriptures after Pentecost). 

The apostle Peter spoke of Paul’s writings as being twisted by some to their destruction comparing Paul’s writings to “the rest of the scriptures.” (2 Peter 3:14-16 NKJV) 

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” (2 Tim. 3:16 NKJV)  Jesus is God (John 1:1, 1 Tim. 3:16, Heb. 1:8, Acts 20:28).  Jesus is the one of whom John proclaimed, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1 NKJV)  To disrespect scripture, to belittle passages, make light of scriptural teaching, etc., is showing disrespect for the author of those scriptures, the one who said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matt. 4:4 NKJV) 

This Jesus is the one Peter was referring to in Acts 3 when he quoted Moses saying, “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren.  Him you shall hear in all things, whatever he says to you.  And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’” (Acts 3:22-23 NKJV)  Jesus is a prophet, priest, and king but above all he is a part of the Godhead.  We can hear him or we can be “utterly destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:23 NKJV)     

Jesus says many times, “if you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15 NKJV) or words to that end (see John 14:21, 23, 24, John 15:10, 14).  He is “the author of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” (Heb. 5:9 NKJV)  How does one obey Jesus while disrespecting the scriptures that teach us his commandments that we are to obey?  “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” (1 John 5:3 NKJV)  Disrespecting the word of God is not an ingredient in the love of God and it certainly does not show respect for Jesus. 

America is truly becoming an anti-Christian nation or should one say an anti-Christ nation?  The America we once knew where God-haters and Bible haters were rare is disappearing and I think most Americans know that and would no longer disagree about it.  We are becoming Europe but we saved Europe twice from themselves last century.  Who will save us from ourselves when we have to reap what we are now sowing?

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