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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Marcus' response to Monica's cousin's circle letter concern

Anna used a few excerpts from Melvin Burkholder's recent sermon on the covering, as a springboard for her concern.

Anna, I sure wanted to respond to your comments on the covering. So I asked my husband... This is what he said.

#1. "Why must it be such a radical style?" I question, Who has a radical style? Set a drawing from the catacombs of an early Christian woman with her ample flowing veil beside the picture of a neat little Easterner with her beautiful hair showing on the front, and maybe or maybe not a tiny strip showing of her little transparent cap sticking somewhere on the back. And now tell me, who has a radical style? Who would be more socially accepted in this world? Who would be more socially accepted to get a job at Good's Store?

Or consider this - Which cloth of the two would work to cover the rest of the body? The Bible says, "Let her be covered!" Shouldn't we use something that actually covers? Now we would never dis-fellowship someone with the Eastern-style covering. But actually commanding this transparent style before having communion with them?? Come on! And the same expression fits for going so far as to call it an ideal style.

#2. Then Melvin's one statement - "Any pattern allowing a great deal of personal variation degenerates into female vanity" - I respond, Yes, it certainly does, when people are used to being governed instead of governing themselves. A church relying on a rigid discipline besides the Bible invariably results in people getting used to being governed, instead of governing themselves. See any danger there? Being governed by others instead of governing ourselves? Truly deciding to follow Jesus goes along with a desire to please Him, with our veils, our dresses, and our entire lives. And when a group of people come together with that kind of desire, and break bread together, and appoint a faithful leader or two, that's what a CHURCH is. And of course we check with the brethren where it is fitting and delight in submitting one to another in the fear of God. But right now any of the families, at any time, at the husband's call, of course, can change their women's veiling style. Sure, they can go ahead and change it for the worse. But here's the key - they're completely free to totally overhaul their coverings for the better! Look at this - this is a vital ingredient for any church that is to be called alive. Choose this, or choose programmed robotism.

People who are used to being governed by rules already made for them in regards to biblical areas that are left rather open can never excel. Old Tertullian said, "All proof of abstinence is lost when excess is impossible." Virtue is no longer virtue if its opposite is not accessible. Sure, robots can perform beautifully, but there is no beauty in their surrender to their service. There is no cross that has been taken up, no self-denial, the whole thing is just as natural as being born into a Mennonite family.

I'm talking about the problem of Anabaptists accepting the fact that "any pattern allowing a great deal of variation degenerates into female vanity". Do Christians automatically degenerate to that which is evil, or do they press toward the mark? Do they love the world that dearly? Early Christians and early Anabaptists were guarded from disobeying Jesus' teachings by a true surrender to all of His teachings. And that included continually going out and reproving this world of sin. When the men in a church are in their work places, and in their preaching time on the streets and in public places, continually reproving women of immodesty, jewelry, and uncovered heads, as being a part of what it means to follow Jesus, are their wives' coverings going to get bigger or smaller? You judge. I guess sometime their coverings might get smaller, or they might lose them altogether, but I promise you, their continual reproving of this world shall have ceased first.

Do not interpret these sayings as arrogance. This is how simple the Gospel really is, and it should scare us to death, to think of what will be left when Jesus comes back, and gets through pulling off all the things holding up this big structure of ours - covering strings, suspenders, hats and bonnets, plain suits, black paint, beardlessness, homeschool-lessness, and fear of excommunication for lack of these things... What will He find remaining?

Some of these things we never think about until we Truly open ourselves - open ourselves to truth outside of the zone we always knew and held dear. So Daniel and all other men, come to Monett, and get an eyeful. Go along with the brethren to the street on weekends, or in front of evangelical church events, reproving of divorce and remarriage, lack of covering, you name it. There's a REAL battle to be fought!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Message to Anabaptist families who are interested in a church that is more alive

Dear Michael and all,

Where should I start?

Well, It starts with following Jesus. I make a decision to surrender to whatever He asks. Then I find fellowship with a few others who have decided the same thing. We have fellowship one with another. We encourage one another to obey the Lord. We break bread together every week during a love feast or fellowship meal- whatever you might call it. Our time spent together consists largely of rejoicing in the work of the Lord, receiving admonition from a faithful servant whom we have chosen for our elder, and hearing and telling the brethren of the things that have happened to us through the week in our preaching of the gospel.

This is our simple life. We don't live together, ( though a number of the single brethren do, in and around our meeting place. When we started, we ABANDONED our mold of what we thought our church should look like. We only remained convinced that if we are not obedient to Christ and his apostles teachings, we have nothing.

So, we called ourselves only followers of Jesus - church of Monett. Lightly casting aside even the name anabaptist, because we knew that their story was written already- it was not ours to take for our own. We allow Jesus to build our church while we remain loyal to Him.

...and being loyal to Him includes going into all the world and teaching men to observe all the things He commanded us. So we go out into the highways, byways, and churches and universities in our land and into many foreign countries, wherever there are people, preaching the things Christ taught about how we should live that the churches of today are hiding from people - the cross, the things He taught that bring a cross. And we found that occupying ourselves in that business keeps us fighting real battles instead of fake ones, and needing to stay alive and kicking. Then lo and behold, it results in a unity among brethren that we never quite envisioned before. And that without any written standard, but the standard of our Lord.

We're not bragging, we're in awe. There are people in places here and in Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela, DR, India, and Philippines who hear the Word, take up their cross, (meaning separating from an adulterous marriage, women dressing modestly and covering their heads, stopping the laying up of treasures on earth, giving instead of defending themselves, and forsaking worldly education for the school of obedience to Christ). They become baptized,(often Rebaptized) And then they go right out on the streets and in front of churches and preach it to the world, at the cost of spouse, family, and friends and all they held dear, in esteem for the reproach of Christ. And they become a church. They and a few others who cast their lot with them.

All this makes our lives not so simple anymore, we find ourselves being spent for the kingdom of heaven. Any extra funds that we can spare in our individual labors and savings we voluntarily give to the kingdom whether for trips or another brother in need.

There are weaknesses we see in communal living, we've done it enough to notice the subtle removal of a father's leadership in his own life, home and family-- something we find to be very necessary if a man is to be a strong preacher of the Gospel in this world, or leader in the church.

We've also seen the inability to each lay by in store for the Lords work, or to give individually to him that needeth.

A little experience has also shown that a rule book or standard list apart from the bible where one can resort when questions come along, is a crutch that WEAKENS more than strengthens the feeble knees. Predecided manmade guidelines are prescribed often where the Great Commission is neglected. The world lover among us is admonished, but not spoonfed. He is welcome to leave and eventually does. If he has a heart for the Lord, he makes decisions on his own to separate himself from the world. And with time we find him becoming truely a part of us. Sadly,too, rules often hinder the Sincere from going BEYOND the accepted practice in their desire to be true to Gods word.

I mention these observations to encourage you to abandon, like we did, the particular pattern of church or community in history you would like to emulate, and take the risk of failure while SIMPLY FOLLOWING JESUS, and loving Him enough to obey His Words, cost what it costs.

...and to tell you a little secret... We then pick up the early Christian writings, or the martyrs mirror, the secret of the strength, or any other history of some hated, dispised, but faithful-to-Jesus group, and our hearts quiver with the realization that our spirit bears witness with their spirit, and with God's Spirit; and that we have " mystic, sweet, communion with those whose rest is won." We find that exchanging anabaptism for JESUS results in an uncanny resemblance to that same persecuted group from the past.

Not to say that if you surrender to Jesus' leadership you"ll NOT live in community. Just surrender all your ideas to Him and let His Bride be HIS. Allow Him to be the Founder and Fashioner the whole way! What if he doesn't highly esteem all of our historic practices.

Wherefore we labor, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. Yeah, to please Him!

By the way, we're here to encourage you in any way we can. I'd like to talk with you on the phone, too. My number is 4174898648 God bless you.

-Marcus and the brethren at Monett

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Encouragement for Mothers

“Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9)

The Lord has been reminding me lately, through my husband and others, that I must continually be on my toes, watching and training our children. As a mother, I don’t have a break from my responsibility – I must be “on call” 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thankfully I have a husband who is serving the Lord, and carries more than half of the load. (My husband even works at home most of the time, which is such a blessing!) But I also know that a lot depends on me. “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” (Prov. 14:1)

I thought I’d share with you other mothers these verses from the Word, that have been an encouragement to me in my child training responsibilities. I have them up on my refrigerator, where I can see them every day.

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Prov. 13:24)

“Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.” (Prov. 19:18)

“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Prov. 22:15)

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Prov. 23:13, 14)

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Prov. 29:15)

“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.” (Prov. 29:17)

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Heb. 12:11)

God’s blessings rest upon those who follow His way. The world today has ideas completely opposed to the way of the Lord. But “the Word of God… liveth and abideth forever.” (1 Peter 1:23)

The Lie

Here is a message by our brother Johnathan Hopper. He is a missionary, and lives in the Philippines with his wife Becky and two sons, Lincoln and Wyatt.

Have you ever been deceived?

Have you ever been lied to or deceived? All of us have been. The problem is we don't know it at the time, because most lies contain a certain amount of truth. This is why it is so difficult to know when we are deceived. What if you were deceived right now? How would you know? I suppose you wouldn't. That is the irony of deception, you don't know it. Let’s apply this to Christianity.

Suppose that someone told you, that in order to be saved you need to "accept Jesus as your personal savior", "believe in His work on the cross" and "receive His promises". Would you believe this; how would you know this wasn’t a lie? Right, we would compare it with scripture. If you wanted to find out if this was the truth or a lie you would simply need to consult the scripture to get to the bottom of it.

If you grew up like me, in the evangelical church you were probably taught something very similar to what was stated above in regard to salvation. This is because it is the accepted model, or teaching. What if we told you that the modern teaching of salvation was a lie, what would you do? Would you quickly close the browser and shrug us off as heretics? Well, it is a lie and most professing Christians believe it.

The Lie

The New Testament talks about something called "the lie". We read about it in Romans 1.25 and II Thessalonians 2.11. What is the lie? The first lie in the Bible was when Satan told Eve "you will not surely die". Or in common English he told her "You can go ahead and eat that fruit, there will be no judgment to follow". Perhaps Eve thought something like: "Yeah that’s right, God is loving and kind. He wouldn’t do anything like that to me". There it is... "The lie". The lie is..... "You can live any way you want"..... "You can make your own decisions”..... "You can sin; you won't die”..... "No judgment will follow".

What we want to do in this article is compare "the lie" with the modern "gospel" or salvation message. The modern Gospel is claiming to save men in their sins. However Jesus taught that man has to repent and make some serious changes before he can be right with God.

The book of Jude tells us that there will be certain men who creep in unaware that will turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. A synonym of lasciviousness is loose living, lawlessness or disobedience. If we compare "the Lie" that Satan told Eve with the modern "gospel", we get a lot of striking similarities.

Lying to yourself

Is it possible that you could lie to yourself? You may think this is absurd, but have you ever seen an obese person dressed in an extremely tight pair of pants, or a young white male dressed up like a gang member, or perhaps a young lady dressed up like a movie star? These people want so badly to be attractive, tough or famous that they have learned to play pretend with themselves. People

In the same way let us suppose that someone has "received Jesus", they go to church, they have been baptized, they are involved in church activities and give tithes. As Christians we would never think to question this person's faith. Rather we would think this person is very faithful, but are all those things really what faith is? Does someone have faith because they have been baptized and go to church? The truth is anyone can do those things and not have any faith at all. Most people's "faith" is nothing more than make-believe. They are playing pretend with themselves like an obese person in a tight pair of pants.

How do you know you have faith? Because you believe you do? Because you believe God's promises are true? Do I have faith just because I believe I do? The Bible tells us, "By faith Abraham obeyed God". Did Abraham have faith simply because he acknowledged God's promise? Imagine that Abraham didn't leave his home, but he did believe in God's promise, he believed it so much that he went all around his hometown telling everyone about the wonderful promise God was going to give him. If this were the substance of Abraham's faith would he have received God's promise? No... Because, "Real faith is my obedient response to God's demands on my life".

Even the demons believe

We are all familiar with John 3.16. It is one of the most popular verses the modern church uses to teach about salvation. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have ever lasting life" When I was 7, I was told to believe that Jesus died on the cross, and rose again making Him God, and that if I believed this I would receive the promise of salvation. Is that really believing?

Let us suppose that my name is Earl and I drive a taxi. I pull up next to you in my taxi on a dark night and ask if you want a ride. Although you may believe that my name is Earl and that I drive a taxi, if you question my integrity and don’t get into my car do you really believe in me? No. If you believed in me you would have gotten into my taxi. Do you see the difference in the types of belief? Just because you believe my name is Earl and I drive a taxi doesn’t mean that you trust me to get you home.

We can think of belief in Christ in the same way. Just because we acknowledge that Jesus died on the cross, rose and resurrected doesn’t mean we believe in Him. The word believe means: to adhere to, to put one's trust in, to cling to, and to obey. Truly believing in Jesus is trusting in him, clinging to him, adhering to His words, and obeying them. Just because I believe He died on the cross and rose again doesn’t mean I trust in, cling to, and obey Him.

The Bible says "You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the devils believe and tremble". In other words, even the demons believe in Jesus and tremble at the thought of Him. Even the demons believe Jesus is the Son of God and that He was crucified on a cross, died and rose again making Him the Son of God. Even the demons believe in Christ. Do you see the lie in the way we are taught to believe?

Twisted Grace

Most of us are familiar with Ephesians 2.8. This is another popular scripture the modern church uses to "suave" people. ”For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast". The modern gospel has put a twist on this scripture. Like any good lie there needs to be some truth attached to it. It is true we are saved by grace, but what is grace

What do you think of when you hear the word grace? Unmerited favor, mercy, pardon, immunity? All of these things are what the modern gospel teaches about grace. We are taught that grace is God overlooking man's sin. We are taught it is something like a handicap in golfing. Sometimes when people of unequal ability golf together the person who is a better player will "handicap" himself or lower his score to allow the other person a winning chance. This is how we are taught about God's grace; it is Him lowering His righteousness because we aren’t able to achieve His standard.

To take the twist out of this, simply look at the Titus 2.11. "For the Grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." Does this scripture say that God's grace is unmerited favor, mercy, pardon or immunity? It does say that His grace is teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Do you see the difference? God's grace is doing the complete opposite of what the modern gospel is teaching. God's grace isn’t Him overlooking our sin; it is Him teaching us not to sin! It isn't Him looking over His shoulder when we sin. Grace is God teaching us to attain to His standard.

Romans 10.13

"For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" This is another popular scripture the modern gospel uses. Often they take this one scripture and use it by itself. I am not calling this scripture untrue. I am simply trying to weigh this single scripture against the rest of the New Testament.

"Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven". Mathew 7. 21. Will simply calling on the Lord's name save us? Jesus said not all who call Him Lord will be saved. Is Romans 10.13 wrong? No, but if you weigh it against Mathew 7 suddenly it doesn’t mean what the modern gospel teaches it does. If this is all we do to be saved we will be greatly disappointed when we stand before Jesus and He tells us "Depart from me, you never did the will of the Father".

Many people call Jesus their Lord, but if we do not obey Him and His teachings our profession means nothing because He isn’t truly our Lord. If Jesus is our Lord He has to be the Lord of our lives. To give an example of this read Mathew 5.39. Jesus said if someone slaps you on one cheek we are to turn the other. If someone slaps you on one cheek what do you do...? If you hit the other person back is Jesus really your lord? Are you doing what He has commanded you to do? If Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek and we don’t, he isn’t truly our Lord.

The Upside-Down Gospel

The problem is the "modern church" has the Gospel upside-down. For example, when I was 7 years old I was "saved" and told I needed "accept Jesus as my personal Savior". I was told that Jesus died for me on the cross and gave His blood for my sins. I was told that if I accepted this and believed in it, then his blood would cover my sins. I did accept these facts and I did believe Jesus shed his blood for me. I had already been attending church at this time and would continue to go to church until I was 15 or 16. However when I was 14, I questioned whether I was saved. I knew I was walking in darkness. I knew sinned a lot. I asked my mother if God would save me even if I didn't live like a Christian. She told me,”Yes, salvation is a gift, it can’t be taken away". I still questioned.

"But if we walk in the Light as he is in the Light we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His son cleanses us from all sin"

1. If we walk in the light

2 We have fellowship one with another

3 The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin

We all want to be saved. We all want to claim Christ’s Blood. However, Christ’s blood is conditional.
In order for Christ’s blood to cleanse us we have to walk in the light first. "If we walk in the light, then...” The modern Gospel turns this upside- down. It would teach...

1 The blood of Jesus Christ covers us from all sin if we just accept it (get saved)

2 We have fellowship with one another (come to our church)

3 Clean up the bad things you do and straighten up (stop going to the)

Do you see how it’s upside down? We can’t claim Christ’s Blood until we walk in the Light. Walking in the Light isn't just stopping the really bad things we do. It is Repenting.

Another example of the "modern gospel" being upside-down is in Acts 26.17-18

" open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to Light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me."

1 To open their eyes

2 To turn from darkness to light

3 From the power of Satan to God that they

4 may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance...

Do you see how it’s upside down? We can't receive the inheritance until we are forgiven. We can't be forgiven until we turn from Satan to God. We can’t turn to God's light until we turn from darkness. We can’t turn from darkness until we have our eyes opened.

The "modern gospel" would teach...

1 You already have the inheritance (you're already saved)

2 You're already forgiven (you just have to accept it)

3 Forget turning from Satan to God and from darkness to Light (this is never taught)

Jesus is telling us right here we have to do something in order to be saved, He cannot accept us "just as we are". We have to turn from darkness to light. We have to turn from Satan to God, so that we can receive forgiveness and the inheritance.

If you want to be saved you have to turn from Satan! You can’t be forgiven until you turn from darkness and repent! You have to have your eyes opened in order for any of this to happen! We cannot be accepted by Jesus as long as we choose to serve Satan. This was the Gospel Jesus gave to Paul. This is the Gospel in the simplest form. If what we preach does not align with this message it isn’t the Gospel.

The conclusion

The "modern church" is lying to people by telling them "you can live any way you want". This was the lie Satan told Eve: "Go ahead and sin. No judgment will follow. You won't die". The "modern church" is telling people the same message. The prophecy Jude gave to the Church has already been fulfilled and we are living in the fall-out of it. In other words, those certain men who will creep in unaware and turn God's grace into lawlessness. These men have already crept in and taken over

"The stone which the theologians refused"

Maybe you are familiar with the account in Mathew where Jesus tells the priests and elders of the Jews "the stone which the builders refused has become the chief Cornerstone".

Peter refers to this same scripture in Acts and tells the Jews again "the stone which the builders refused has not become the chief cornerstone, nor is there salvation found in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by whom we must be saved". Obviously this is talking about Jesus being unknown and rejected by the religion of His time.

Almost inevitably when salvation is taught Paul's teachings are preferred over the Gospels. We are taught to consult Luther and Calvin’s theology from the Epistles of Paul. The problem is Luther and Calvin failed to build they’re theology on Christ’s Gospels, they went to the book of Romans to build their foundational teachings, they went to Paul instead of Christ.

We don’t mean to downplay Paul’s by saying they aren’t the Word of God. Rather we are trying to communicate that Jesus is the teacher and Paul is the disciple. Paul derived his teachings from the Gospel, so what he is teaching must agree with Christ’s Gospel. If we create our own theology based on Paul’s writings we will create a disagreement between him and Christ. If we want to understand what Paul is teaching about salvation we must get a hold of what Jesus teaches first. On top of this some of the things Paul teaches are very complicated, even Peter said he wrote some things which are hard to be understood.

Jesus’ teachings on Salvation are very simple, very easy to get a hold of, but we ignore them because there is a Cross attached to them. They require us to yield, to conform, and to surrender to change. Luther and Calvin’s teachings seem deep and complicated, it takes going to a theological seminary to understand their teachings, yet Luther and Calvin’s teachings do not require anything of us. So in order to avoid the Cross of suffering and self denial we prefer Luther and Calvin over Christ. To this day Jesus is still "the stone the builders rejected".

"The Rejected Teachings"

  • Mat 5.19 whoever does and teaches Jesus least commandments, think about it does, doing, carries out etc...
  • Mat 7.21 he who does not do the will of the Father will not enter his Kingdom
  • Mat 7.24 whoever hears Jesus sayings and does them has built his house on a rock and has hope in the storm.
  • Mat 9.9 follow me, does this mean step in Jesus' foot prints or more logically, live like he did?
  • Mat 10.38 take up a cross, does Jesus have an actual cross to lay on our shoulders, no. But he does tell us if we will follow him we have to lose our life.
  • Mat 12.50 whoever does the will of My Father is Jesus brother. Does does does does does does see the pattern? Doing is working, works to do the will of God, work makes it his desire, carries out Gods will. You aren't Jesus' brother unless you work....
  • Mat 16.24-27 there’s the cross again, we have to lose our life, losing means I have to do something.
  • Mat 21.28-31 this one is so clear nothing needs to be said...
  • Mat 25.31-46 those who fed visited and clothed and cared for others went to heaven, those who did nothing went to hell, this is what Jesus says will happen to those who do nothing.
  • Mat 28.20 we have to observe his commandments to be his disciples, observing means doing or carrying out.
  • Mark 5.12 we have to repent to enter Gods Kingdom, if I do nothing have I repented?
  • Mark 8.34-35 come after Jesus, is that doing nothing?
  • Mark 11.25-26 if I want to be forgiven I have to forgive, if I do nothing I wont be forgiven
  • Luke 1.77 remission of sins, remission doesn’t mean forgiveness, it means stopping like cancer going into remission, we have salvation by the stopping of sin, is stopping sinning doing nothing?
  • Luke 3.8.14 John the Baptist told people to bear fruits of repentance, he told them "don't do nothing, and do something!" Then he tells each group of people what they have to do to repent. We could stop right here if we wanted to.
  • Luke 6.46. This is what Jesus will say if you do nothing.
  • Luke 8.15 the person who will bear fruit is the one who hears Jesus word and keeps it, does it does something with it.
  • Luke 8.21 Jesus mother and bro and sis are those who hear and do Gods word, if you do nothing with Gods word you aren't Jesus mother sis or bro
  • Luke 9.23-26
  • Luke 11.28 those that hear and KEEP are blessed, is this doing nothing?
  • Luke 12.31 Seek the Kingdom of God. Seeking is doing something.
  • Luke 14.26-27
  • Luke 18.18-22 Jesus told this man if he wanted to have eternal life he had to do something, sell his things and follow!!
  • John 3.3 you have to be born again before you can see or enter Gods Kingdom is being born again doing nothing? I guess this is the whole argument.
  • John 3.21 he who does the truth, we have to do the truth to be born again.
  • John 5.29 those who do evil will go to hell
  • John 7.16 whoever wills to do the will of God
  • John 10.27 we follow
  • John 12.24-26
  • John 14.15 we keep his commandments
  • John 14.21 doing
  • John 14.23-24 doing doing, doing, doing…

A Last Warning

Don't Judge me" "Judge Not"

This is the most quoted scripture in the world. People hate to be told that they are wrong. People hate to be told that they need to change. People hate it when their hearts are exposed, people hate Light.

"This is the condemnation that light came into the world and men loved darkness rather than Light because their deeds are evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the Light and does not come to the Light lest his deeds should be reproved" John 3.17

If you feel judged or condemned it’s because you already are. As long as man hates the Light he is condemned. As long as your response to Light is "Don't Judge me" you are condemned because you are unwilling to change and submit yourself to Christ.

The Cross, or Good Morals?

This is a letter Marcus wrote a couple days ago, to someone that doesn't see any difference between the Old and New Testaments. But as you will see here, there's something far more important than understanding theology. It's obeying the Lord.

Are there many modern churches that condone first-covenant type adultery, incest, murder, stealing, coveting, and dishonoring father and mother? Yes, I believe there are some, but many more are very good and moral, yet they reject the higher standard of the new covenant. They more or less keep the LETTER of the law - "Do not commit adultery", but they do not worry so much about Jesus' words, the spirit of the law, the real intent of the law, which is to not even commit adultery by looking on a woman to lust after her.

They do not commit old-covenant style murder, the letter of the law, but they still murder by getting angry because someone tramples their "rights". Thus they reject the SPIRIT of the law, what God really wants, what He willed that the Mediator of the new covenant should tell us.

Yes, many modern churches are still basically moral, but they reject the SPIRIT of the law, which is the way of living Jesus taught us. Another way of saying this is that they by-pass the way of the cross. You see, Jesus knew that we would need to die to fulfill the spirit of the law, the new covenant. You know, friend, that a man has to die to not look on a woman to lust after her, in this our day. A man must die to not get angry when someone outright steals your favorite tool. (I live in Mexico, but understand me, stealing doesn't only happen here.) And you know a man must die to love his enemies, to love those that have done the most harm in his life. That's why Jesus said if we don't take up our cross, that thing that kills us daily, we can't even be His disciples. And that is what most good, moral churches bypass - the way of the cross. It's dying, it's losing our lives, but if we do, you know what Jesus promises.

Just tonight a good moral evangelical family had supper with us. José and Susa and their three girls. They even try to dress more modest than the normal run, although their clothes are form-fitting and they like a little jewelry. They were surprised we leave our courtyard door open all day and late into the night. They told us about some stealing that went on in their neighborhood recently. Of course we told them about our experiences getting things stolen, even when our patio door was closed, and how a dear little girl of the thieves' family innocently let the cat out of the bag about who did the stealing. That made our visitors laugh. Then I told them how we siezed the opportunity to make a cake and give it to that family, and pay them extra money for something we got from them, without mentioning the stealing. We had done this because we simply wanted to do good to them that hate us, and pray for them which despitefully use us and persecute us, and we wanted to heap coals of fire on their heads. José and Susa just shook their heads, saying, "How hard" several times. Susa said, "But that would just make you angry..." I said, "And that's what has to die."

You see, that family has considered themselves Christian for most of their married life, but they've never been shown the cross, that instrument of death. And they pass for very good moral people.

Do you understand these things? I don't want to give the idea that I think I know it all. We are learning. But in trying to get back to simply following Jesus, these are some things we have learned.

--Marcus 3-6-08

"Now you're judging."

Have you ever heard this? Or maybe someone said, “Judge not,” or just, “Don’t judge!” And it seems anyone who has any real concern that they’d like to express, loads their concern with disclaimers, like “I’m not judging, but I really don’t think that man is biblical.” Or “who am I to judge her, but I didn’t think she was dressed very decently.” Or perhaps when you ask someone for their opinion about someone’s words, actions or appearance, they just replied, “I don’t really know the person, so I can’t really say.” Or have you ever heard a typical modern “Christian” try to make an observation, saying something like this: “It seems like there’s such a fine line between not obeying the Bible at all, and obeying it and becoming a judge.” Or maybe you’ve been given the idea that anyone who condemns sin has a holier-than-thou attitude, and a judging spirit.

Let’s look at what Jesus says. I think this is the only Scripture that most people have noticed, that talks about judging. It says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Does that really mean, “Don’t make judgments about someone, so that you don’t ever get a judgment made about you?” No. Whether we’ve ever judged or not, we will be judged! “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” 2 Cor. 5:10 says, “that everyone may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” The Bible is FULL of this truth. Whether or not we judge, WE WILL BE JUDGED. Rev. 20 says, “The dead will be judged out of the things which are written in the books.”

Okay, so Jesus must be talking about some other kind of judgment. Let’s read on. “For with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Who is this “you”? Who´s Jesus talking to? Let’s read on. “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Oh, this person has a BEAM in his eye! Now, get to verse 5 – “Thou hypocrite!” It’s a hypocrite that Jesus is talking to, someone carrying a big beam in his eye, trying to get a little speck out of someone else’s eye. What’s the answer? Quit judging? What does Jesus say? “First cast the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to cast the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” Quitting judging isn’t Jesus’ answer. He is saying, “Quit judging like a HYPOCRITE! Repent of being a hypocrite. Get honest and single, and then help ME with this business of getting motes out of people’s eyes. I don’t like them either. I want a single eye that’s full of light, like I talked about in Matt. 6:22.”

Is that not what Jesus is saying? Let’s look some more at what He says to His people. Just a few verses later, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7:16) V. 17 – “Good trees bring forth good fruit; corrupt trees bring forth evil fruit.” Is that easy, or is it hard? Is it good to judge that way? Or is it bad to judge that way? It is good – This is a command of Jesus. Verse 20 says again, in case we’ve forgotten it, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” A fruit inspector? Fruit judge?

I remember when I was about 10 years old, my father took me on business to the fruit processing plant at Musselman’s Lucky Leaf, in Biglerville or Aspers, PA. I distinctly remember a woman dressed completely in white, walking around with a notepad, taking samples of the fresh cherries in bins being unloaded by forklifts off the trucks. She would carefully examine the fruit and jot notes down on her pad. I remember her eyeing me for a moment, and then she got a large handful of wet, clean cherries and walked over to me and kindly deposited them in my hands. I believe they were the best sour cherries I have ever eaten.

Now I want to ask you a question. Do you think the rest of the workers were casting dark glances at her and going around muttering angrily about “the judge”? By no means! She had a high office. The forklift would stop when she needed to inspect a bin. Everyone would make way for her and treated her with respect, it seemed, because after all, cherries need to be delivered to the CONSUMER in excellent condition. It seems appropriate that she was dressed in white, too. Do you see why I put the CONSUMER in capital letters? It is Jesus – it is our Lord, who is looking for GOOD FRUIT. He deserves good fruit from our lives, just like Musselman’s thinks the consumer deserves good cherries.

But now, why do people start giving evil glares and ugly words to anyone who starts “dressing in white” (obeying the Lord), and “inspecting cherries” (judging the fruit of others) in the Christian world? Jesus said this to his own brethren who DIDN’T believe on Him: “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” (John 7:7) He was a judge! John 16:15 says, “They hated me without a cause.” Being a judge is not a just cause for getting hated in God’s eyes, (unless you’re a hypocrite). Jesus should have been treated with respect, like that fruit judge at Musselman’s. And then He says this: (John 16:2) “Remember the word that I said unto you, the servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”

“But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.” (v. 21) They know not the CONSUMER – God. V. 22 – “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. But now they have no cloak for their sin.” “He that hateth me, hateth my father also.” (v. 23) He that hates a Christian that’s trying to do what Jesus says, and is inspecting the fruit of others, REALLY HATES GOD.

Now look at these verses: “This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. BUT HE THAT DOETH TRUTH COMETH TO THE LIGHT, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:18 – 20) Look at that! The true man INVITES the judge to come and inspect him, and he doesn’t care WHO God uses. He loves God’s Word, and he welcomes the judge. The next time you want to quote John 3:16, quote a bit further.

If you call yourself a Christian, RECEIVE these words. Look at Ephesians 5: 11- 13. We’re commanded to reprove shameful things and works of darkness. Verse 13 says, “But all things that are REPROVED (judged) are made manifest by the light. For whatsoever doth make manifest IS light.” Look what a high place words of reproof are given. They’re called LIGHT.

Here’s another: 1 Timothy 5: 24, 25 says, “Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment: and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.” Some men WANT their sins to be opened up by a judge NOW, but like the Spanish Bible says, “some men’s (sins) are discovered afterwards.”

Now, are you still uncomfortable with how freely I talk about us judging? Look at Luke 12: 57. “Yea and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?” Can’t you judge for yourself what is right? John 7:24 – “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Quit judging? Or judge righteously? Judge like God does.

The apostle Paul asked this question in 1 Corinthians 6:2 – “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?”

One time I was a part of a little congregation that didn’t have a pastor, we had the experience of having a man that we called a brother become a homosexual, with 4 or 5 different boyfriends. We felt we should excommunicate him, since we were the ones that probably had the most fellowship with this man. Another of the man’s acquaintances, a very concerned former friend of the homosexual, came and tried to lead us in excommunicating this willful sinner. We had already reproved him, and he said he was not ready to repent yet. But one or two of the men in this little congregation just didn’t think that we should take such a drastic step. One said, “We don’t know what God is doing in his heart still.” I just remember this leader friend bowing his head down and making a loud and bitter declaration, “THE CHURCH HAS LOST ALL JUDGMENT!” That kind of jolted some of the rest of us to our senses, and we managed to agree on dismissing the one that was especially not in agreement, and excommunicating the homosexual.

The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5 that he had “judged already” concerning the fornicator. Look at this command in Malachi 3: 18 – “Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”

Remember this: according to Matthew 7: 1-5, it’s hypocrites who judge unrighteously, and according to Luke 15: 56, 57, it’s hypocrites who do not judge! (“for themselves, what is right”, Jesus says.)

Are you worthy to judge righteous judgment? Or are you unworthy? After all, hypocrites mustn’t judge. They judge to their own condemnation, and that’s what the “Judge not” in Matthew 7 is talking about. Romans 2: 3 says, “And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?”

But how is it in your life and in your church? Are you continually bearing good fruit, and inspecting the fruit of others that say they are brothers? Or are you letting some horrible, yucky, rotten stuff pass for good fruit? Have you lost all judgment by listening too long to the twisted “judge not” message of the world? What will the Judge that’s in charge of the final judgment say?

--Marcus Rohrer 3-6-08

Wifely Submission

Here's a letter I wrote to my sister a while ago.

Dear Jewel,

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior! I got your letter in the mail yesterday, and now while the house is quiet (2:30 AMJ) I’ll take the opportunity to begin my reply. I’m glad if our talk on the phone has made you think more about submitting to your husband. It’s very important – so important that it’s commanded in at least 6 books of the N. T. My husband isn’t a domineering dictator either, and most of the time it’s not hard to submit. But the Lord has been faithful in showing me subtle areas where I was not being submissive, and I encourage you to keep asking the Lord to show you how to submit to and reverence your husband. As wives, that is our responsibility in serving the Lord. And yes, as you said, we wives will need to give account to God – have we obeyed God by obeying our husbands?

You mentioned Acts 5:29. Notice that it was Peter and the other apostles who said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” They were men who were directly accountable to God (Jesus Christ is their Head). It was not women who said this.

Another Scripture account you used was of Ananias and Sapphira. Well, notice that in Acts 5:9, Peter asked Sapphira, “How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord?” Obviously she was not a lover of the truth, but was in agreement with her husband. It may easily have been her idea in the first place. The Amplified Bible says (Acts 5:2) “And with his wife’s knowledge and connivance he kept back and wrongfully appropriated some of the proceeds, bringing only a part and putting it at the feet of the apostles.” If she had been a godly woman, she probably would have made an appeal to him, explaining from the Word of God why it is wrong for him to do such a thing. And then if he insisted that she keep it a secret, she could commit it all to the Lord and obey her husband, knowing that thereby she was obeying God. Eph. 5:24 The same Peter who rebuked Ananias & Sapphira, wrote 1 Peter 3.

You mentioned about Sarah being from the OT, and God winking at things done in the OT. But Jewel, using that logic, you can’t turn around and use two other women from the OT as examples of “standing for what’s right”. (Abigail and the Shunammite) Abigail called her husband “this man of Belial.” Sarah called her husband “my lord”. Regardless of whether how Abigail acted was right or wrong, God chose Sarah for the example for you and me.

You want to show me “that God expects us as women to take a stand and do what is right, even if our husbands wouldn’t approve.” Well, according to Titus 2:5, if we are not obedient to our own husbands, we are causing the Word of God to be blasphemed. In 1 Peter 3, wives are commanded to be in subjection even to an unbelieving husband, making him their “lord” – the one who commands. Eph. 5:24 – “As the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be unto their own husbands in every thing.” We believe that God said exactly what He meant in His Word, and when He said “be subject in every thing” – that’s what He meant!

“Subject” – owing obedience or allegiance to the power or dominion of another.

“Submit” – to yield oneself to the authority or will of another; to commit to the discretion or judgment of another.

If we “submit” to our husband only when it seems right to us, we actually are not submitting at all. Note again the second definition of submit, above.

Just lately I was also impressed that the Word stresses that we must submit unto our own husband – not to someone else’s! Eph. 5:22, 24; Col. 3:18; Titus 2:5; I Peter 3: 1,5

You wrote that the wife is not “responsible to her husband only, but also to God and the church.” In 1 Cor. 11, God tells us His order of headship – God, Christ, man, woman. The “church” is not sandwiched in there between Christ and man. The true church is made up of men and women who are subject to their heads – the men all subject to Christ, and the women subject to their husbands.

A woman who refuses to obey her husband because what he wants her to do is not right in her opinion, is usurping authority over the man. 1Tim. 2:12 – “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”

You wonder how we can turn away from the church group that we grew up with. Well, someday soon we will be judged by the Word of God (John 12: 48), whether we have obeyed it or not – and not whether we obeyed the church group that we grew up with. We want to build our lives on the Lord Jesus Christ, the living Word. Matt. 7: 24 -27

- Monica, with Marcus’ help
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13)