TEN FALSE DOCTRINES OF THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

Famous false teachers in today’s church have done a good job in convincing many that the Roman Catholic Church is a valid Christian denomination.  That is a HUGE lie, and the apathy in the church regarding such things is surely a sign of the end times.

2 Timothy 4:3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

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GOD IS A SANCTUARY

God is a Sanctuary 

Ezekiel 11:16 Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come.

Banished from the public means of grace, we are not removed from the grace of the means. The LORD who places His people where they feel as exiles will Himself be with them and be to them all that they could have had at home, in the place of their solemn assemblies. Take this to yourselves, O ye who are called to wander!

God is to His people a place of refuge. They find sanctuary with Him from every adversary. He is their place of worship, too. He is with them as with Jacob when he slept in the open field, and rising, said, “Surely God was in this place.” To them also He will be a sanctuary of quiet, like the Holy of Holies, which was the noiseless abode of the Eternal. They shall be quiet from fear of evil.

God Himself, in Christ Jesus, is the sanctuary of mercy. The Ark of the Covenant is the LORD Jesus, and Aaron’s rod, the pot of manna, the tables of the law, all are in Christ our sanctuary. In God we find the shrine of holiness and of communion. What more do we need? O LORD, fulfill this promise and be ever to us as a little sanctuary!

(Spurgeon)


Posted in Baptist, Christian, Christianity, Comfort, Pastors, Pentecostal, Persecution, Religion, Suffering | Tagged

GENESIS 12:3 I WILL BLESS THOSE WHO BLESS THEE

The oath which he sware to our father Abraham

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Luke 1:67-80 
67And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, 68Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, 78Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 80And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

In thee shall all nations be blessed

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.

The blessing of Abraham, the promise of the Spirit

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

To Abraham and his seed were the promises made … to thy seed, which is Christ

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Galatians 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Galatians 3:29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

The covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities

Genesis 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Acts 3:18-26
18But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. 22For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. 23And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. 24Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. 25Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. 26Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

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Dispensationalism: Have you believed the LIE that the Apostle Paul preached a DIFFERENT GOSPEL than the other Apostles of Jesus Christ?

More on the false teachings of Dispensationalism…

Have You Believed The LIE That The Apostle Paul Preached a DIFFERENT GOSPEL Than The Other Apostles of Jesus Christ?

By WF WHITE

There is a false and demonic teaching out there which teaches that the Jewish apostle Paul preached a completely different “gospel” than the other apostles, and even Jesus Christ himself. In this false teaching they basically declare that the four gospels were meant only for the Jewish people to whom Jesus preached, but the apostle Paul preached the “Gospel of Grace” a gospel unique to him, and a “mystery” which was revealed to him alone. I believe that this false, and demonic teaching is clearly one of the “doctrines of devils” that Paul himself warned us about.

Now the SPIRIT speaketh expressly, that in the LATTER TIMES some shall DEPART from the FAITH, giving heed to SEDUCING SPIRITS, and DOCTRINES of DEVILS; (1 Timothy 4:1)

Paul Preached The Gospel Which He Formerly Opposed!

One of the clearest passages of scripture which clearly refutes the cultish, and demonic teaching of certain “dispensational” teachers is found in the passage below. In this passage the Jewish apostle Paul talks about the true believers, who were excited because he was now preaching the very SAME gospel of Jesus Christ which he had formerly destroyed!

Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now PREACHETH the FAITH which ONCE HE DESTROYED. And they glorified God in me. (Galatians 1:20-24)

The Jewish apostle Paul did not come along with his own “mystery” gospel as some would call it, or some special “revelation” that the other apostles did not receive. No, the scriptures tell us that Paul was preaching the EXACT same gospel which he had previously destroyed! You can show scripture passages like this to those who believe them, and yet they will still hold fast to their false and demonic teachings like stubborn donkeys. They will talk about the grace of God, sometimes in a robotic fashion, because they simply refuse to let go of their lies, or admit that they have been deceived! That is what makes them so dangerous. People will follow the teachings of men, and order their tapes and video recordings, year after year, totally unaware that they have let the devil inside their homes. They are allowing their whole households to be taken over by doctrines of devils, even as the apostle Paul said would happen!

Paul Preached GRACE and THE KINGDOM OF GOD Also

Here is a passage of scripture from the book of Acts that clearly shows us that the the Jewish apostle Paul preached the “Gospel of the Kingdom” and the “Gospel of Grace” which are one and the same. Here is an actual quote from Paul:

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to TESTIFY THE GOSPEL of the GRACE of GOD. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone PREACHING the KINGDOM of GOD, shall see my face no more. (Acts 20:24-25)

That one verse is enough to show us that Paul had been preaching the Kingdom of God, and Grace just like the other disciples and Jesus Christ himself. If you have been swallowed up with that false teaching get out of it as quick as you can, because many have been ensnared with it for many years and they will try to “hook” you in also. Here are some more verses from the book of Acts that show us that Paul preached the Kingdom of God. Here is a verse of scripture that shows us that Paul preached the Kingdom of God from morning to night!

And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and TESTIFIED the KINGDOM of GOD, persuading them CONCERNING JESUS, both out of the law of MOSES, and out of the PROPHETS, from morning till evening. (Acts 28:23)

Here is a passage of scripture, which ends the book of Acts which shows us that Paul preached the Kingdom of God for two whole years out of his rented house:

And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, PREACHING the KINGDOM of GOD, and teaching those things which CONCERN the LORD JESUS CHRIST, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. (Acts 28:30-31)

This false and demonic teaching goes so far as to say that the words of Jesus Christ do not apply to us today in this “age of Grace”! But here is another actual quote from Paul regarding that:

If any man TEACH OTHERWISE, and consent not to wholesome WORDS, even the WORDS of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, and to the DOCTRINE which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, (1 Timothy 6:3-4)

Can you imagine the absolute audacity of these FALSE teachers to declare that the words of Jesus are not for us today? In one breath they will tell you that they LOVE Jesus, and in the next breath they will tell you that his words are not for us! Can you imagine telling a “friend” that you really love them, BUT that you do not believe their words? It would be almost hysterical, if it were not so sad. This is what Jesus Christ said concerning his words, and those who are ashamed of them:

For WHOSOEVER shall be ASHAMED of ME and of MY WORDS, of him shall the Son of man be ASHAMED, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:26)

Not only that, BUT the Lord Jesus Christ told his followers that HIS words would NEVER pass way! keep in mind that Jesus is the eternal Son of God whom every man and woman will stand before one day!

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY WORDS shall NOT PASS AWAY. (Matthew 24:35)

Not only that, BUT the Lord Jesus Christ told his followers that HIS words would be the very thing that JUDGED them on the last day!

And if any man hear MY WORDS, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came NOT to JUDGE the world, but to SAVE the world. He that REJECTETH ME, and receiveth not MY WORDS, hath one that judgeth him: THE WORD that I have spoken, the SAME shall JUDGE HIM in the last day. (John 12:47-48)

The Lord declared that he would be ASHAMED of those people (false Christians) who are ashamed of HIM and HIS WORDS! You cannot separate Jesus Christ from the words which he spoke. Now those people who have been ensnared with the false teachings of this “bogus grace message” do not believe that the passage applies to them, BUT they will believe it (too late) at the coming of the Lord! It is very clear that they are believing and preaching a “different Jesus” a “different spirit” and a “different gospel” and it is out of their own imagination and creation! The Jewish apostle Paul warned us about people like that, and we need to steer clear of them!

For if he that cometh preacheth ANOTHER JESUS, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive ANOTHER SPIRIT, which ye have not received, or ANOTHER GOSPEL, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:4)

Paul Preached REPENTANCE Just Like The Others

Another facet of this false and demonic teaching is that we are not to mention the word repentance because that was also only for the time when Jesus and the other disciples preached to the Jewish people. Here is a quote from the apostle Paul which shows us that Paul preached the same message of repentance to both the Jews and the Gentiles, because there is only ONE gospel. Not only that but Paul preached this message publicly and he went from house to house with that message:

And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, REPENTANCE toward GOD, and FAITH toward our LORD JESUS CHRIST. (Acts 20:20-21)

Here is another quote from Paul when he testified before a King, and it shows us that Paul preached repentance to both Jew and Gentile, and the Jews wanted to kill him when he got converted!

Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for REPENTANCE. For these causes the JEWS caught me in the temple, and went about to KILL ME. (Acts 26:19-21)

Paul lets us know that we are nothing but a bunch of ungodly wretches, and that it is the “goodness of God” which will lead us to repentance. Dear reader I must tell you that each and every one of us (myself included) deserve nothing but the lowest part of HELL! When a person has been truly regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God, then they will have a concern for the lost souls which surround them. They will know INWARDLY that those without faith in Jesus Christ are LOST and HELL-BOUND, and it is the LOVE of God within us that will seek to  warn them. It is the TRUTH of God’s Word that is the “sword of the spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) that the Lord will use to bring them out. Our “being nice to the lost” is good, BUT it is not enough to show them that their soul is in danger. They will simply die in their sins (John 8:24) and wonder why that “nice person” never told them the truth! The Lord Jesus Christ told us to preach the gospel to ALL people, and it was either SALVATION or DAMNATION. (Mark 16:15-16) The Jewish apostle Paul also told us to “Preach the Word” in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:1-5) The Devil absolutely despises the word of God being preached because it is the supernatural word which gets inside the human heart to bring them out from under his snare!

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? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to REPENTANCE? (Romans 2:3-4)

Here is Paul preaching repentance once again, and he makes it clear that it has EVERYTHING to do with SALVATION! Do you realize that you are hell-bound until you get SAVED?

For godly sorrow worketh REPENTANCE to SALVATION not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

Here is another quote from the Jewish apostle Paul where he talks about repentance and the acknowledging of the truth, and coming out of the “snare of the devil”

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if GOD peradventure will give them REPENTANCE to the acknowledging of the TRUTH; And that they may recover themselves out of the SNARE of the DEVIL, who are taken CAPTIVE by him AT HIS WILL. (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

Paul Did Not Want To End Up A Castaway

The apostle Paul was also concerned about finishing the race and obtaining the prize. Here is another actual quote from Paul, where he shows his concern for his very OWN soul. He was concerned about the possibility of his becoming a CASTAWAY. The Greek word used to translate that word CASTAWAY is the word ADOKIMOS, which is also used to translate the word REPROBATE! Here is the definition of that word ADOKIMOS from Strongs Concordance:

ADOKIMOS: unapproved, i.e. rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally):–castaway, rejected, reprobate.

If Paul, that mighty man of God, and awesome preacher of the Gospel was concerned about becoming unapproved, and worthless, then how much more should we also be concerned? Let us encourage one another as we run this Christian race, and fight this good fight of faith!

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have PREACHED to others, I MYSELF should be a CASTAWAY. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27)

Posted in Assemblies of God, Baptist, Christian, Christian Zionism, Christianity, Church, Evangelism, Israel, Pastors, Pentecostal, Prophecy, Religion | Tagged

IF THE WORLD HATE YOU

I don’t usually duplicate something I’ve posted elsewhere, but this particular teaching is so “meaty” and so needed in today’s church, that I posted it twice. I believe it is a word for the church today.

John 15:18-20 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 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; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 

MacLaren:

SHEEP AMONG WOLVES

These words strike a discord in the midst of the sweet music to which we have been listening. The key-note of all that has preceded has been love – the love of Christ’s friends to one another, and of all to Him, as an answer to His love to all. That love, which is one, whether it rise to Him or is diffused on the level of earth, is the result of that unity of life between the Vine and the branches, of which our Lord has been speaking such great and wonderful things. But that unity of life between Christians and Christ has another consequence than the spread of love. 

Just because it binds them to Him in a sacred community, it separates them from those who do not share in His life, and hence the “hate” of our context is the shadow of “love”; and there result two communities – to use the much-abused words that designate them – the Church and ‘the World’; and the antagonism between these is deep, fundamental, and perpetual.

Unquestionably, our Lord is here speaking with special reference to the Apostles, who, in a very tragic sense, were “sent forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” If we may trust tradition, every one of that little company, Speaker as well as hearers, died a martyr’s death, with the exception of John himself, who was preserved from it by a miracle. 

But, be that as it may, our Lord is here laying down a universal statement of the permanent condition of things; and there is no more reason for restricting the force of these words to the original hearers of them than there is for restricting the force of any of the rest of this wonderful discourse. 

“The world” will be in antagonism to the Church until the world ceases to be a world, because it obeys the King; and then, and not till then, will it cease to be hostile to His subjects.

What makes this hostility inevitable?

Jesus points to two things, as you will observe, which make this hostility inevitable. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.” And again, “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.” 

The very language carries with it the implication of necessary and continual antagonism. For what is ”the world,” in this context, but the aggregate of men, who have no share in the love and life that flow from Jesus Christ? 

Necessarily they constitute a unity, whatever diversities there may be amongst them, and necessarily, that unity in its banded phalanx is in antagonism, in some measure, to those who constitute the other unity, which holds by Christ, and has been drawn by Him from “out of the world.”

If we share Christ’s life, we must, necessarily, in some measure, share His fate. It is the typical example of what the world thinks of, and does to, goodness. And all who have “the Spirit of life which was in Jesus Christ” for the animating principle of their lives, will, just in the measure in which they possess it, come under the same influences which carried Him to the Cross. 

In a world like this, it is impossible for a man to “love righteousness and hate iniquity,” and to order his life accordingly, without treading on somebody’s corns; being a rebuke to the opposite course of conduct, either interfering with men’s self-complacency or with their interests. From the beginning the blind world has repaid goodness by antagonism and contempt.

And then our Lord touches another, and yet closely-connected, cause when He speaks of His selecting the Apostles, and drawing them out of the world, as a reason for the world’s hostility. 

There are two groups, and the fundamental principles that underlie each are in deadly antagonism. 

In the measure in which you and I are Christians we are in direct opposition to all the maxims which rule the world and make it a world. 

What we believe to be precious it regards as of no account. 

What we believe to be fundamental truth it passes by as of little importance. 

Much which we feel to be wrong it regards as good. 

Our jewels are its tinsel, and its jewels are our tinsel. 

We and it stand in diametrical opposition of thought about God, about self, about duty, about life, about death, about the future; and that opposition goes right down to the bottom of things. 

However it may be covered over, there is a gulf, as in some of those American canyons: the towering cliffs may be very near-only a yard or two seems to separate them; but they go down for thousands and thousands of feet, and never are any nearer each other, and between them at the bottom a black, sullen river flows. 

“If ye were of the world, the world would love its own.” If it loves you, it is because ye are of it.

II. And so note, secondly, how this hostility is masked and modified.

There are a great many other bonds that unite men together besides the bonds of religious life or their absence. 

There are the domestic ties, there are the associations of commerce and neighborhood, there are surface identities of opinion about many important things. 

The greater portion of our lives moves on this surface, where all men are alike. “If you tickle us, do we not laugh; if you wound us, do we not bleed?’ 

We have all the same affections and needs, pursue the same avocations, do the same sort of things, and a large portion of every one’s life is under the dominion of habit and custom, and determined by external circumstances. 

So there is a film of roofing thrown over the gulf. You can make up a crack in a wall with plaster after a fashion, and it will hide the solution of continuity that lies beneath. But let bad weather come, and soon the bricks gape apart as before. And so, as soon as we get down below the surface of things and grapple with the real, deep-lying, and formative principles of a life, we come to antagonism, just as they used to come to it long ago, though the form of it has become quite different.

Then there are other causes modifying this hostility. 

The world has got a dash of Christianity into it since Jesus Christ spoke. We cannot say that it is half Christianized, but some of the issues and remoter consequences of Christianity have permeated the general conscience, and the ethics of the Gospel are largely diffused in such a land as this. 

Thus Christian men and others have, to a large extent, a common code of morality, as long as they keep on the surface; and they not only do a good many things exactly alike, but do a great many things from substantially the same motives, and have the same way of looking at much. 

Thus the gulf is partly bridged over; and the hostility takes another form. 

We do not wrap Christians in pitch and stick them up for candles in the Emperor’s garden nowadays, but the same thing can be done in different ways. 

Newspaper articles, the light laugh of scorn, the whoop of exultation over the failures or faults of any prominent man that has stood out boldly on Christ’s side; all these indicate what lies below the surface, and sometimes not so very far below. 

Many a young man in a Manchester warehouse, trying to live a godly life, many a workman at his bench, many a commercial traveller in the inn or on the road, many a student on the college benches, has to find out that there is a great gulf between him and the man who sits next to him, and that he cannot be faithful to his Lord, and at the same time, down to the depths of his being, a friend of one who has no friendship to his Master.

Still another fact masks the antagonism, and that is, that after all, the world, meaning thereby the aggregate of godless men, has a conscience that responds to goodness, though grumblingly and reluctantly. After all, men do know that it is better to be good, that it is better and wiser to be like Christ, that it is nobler to live for Him than for self, and that consciousness cannot but modify to some extent the manifestations of the hostility, but it is there all the same, and whosoever will be a Christian after Christ’s pattern will find out that it is there.

Let a man for Christ’s sake avow unpopular beliefs, 

let him try honestly to act out the New Testament, 

let him boldly seek to apply Christian principles to the fashionable and popular sins of his class or of his country, 

let him in any way be ahead of the conscience of the majority, and what a chorus will be yelping at his heels! 

Dear brethren, the law still remains, “If any man will be a friend of the world he is at enmity with God.”

III. Thirdly, note how you may escape the hostility.

A half-Christianized world and a more than half-secularized Church get on well together. “When they do agree, their agreement is wonderful.” And it is a miserable thing to reflect that about the average Christianity of this generation there is so very little that does deserve the antagonism of the world. 

Why should the world care to hate or trouble itself about a professing Church, large parts of which are only a bit of the world under another name? 

There is no need whatever that there should be any antagonism at all between a godless world and hosts of professing Christians. 

If you want to escape the hostility drop your flag, button your coat over the badge that shows that you belong to Christ, and do the things that the people round about you do, and you will have a perfectly easy and undisturbed life.

Of course, in the bad old slavery days, a Christianity that had not a word to say about the sin of slave-holding ran no risk of being tarred and feathered. 

Of course a Christianity in Manchester that winks hard at commercial immoralities is very welcome on the Exchange. 

Of course a Christianity that lets beer barrels alone may reckon upon having publicans for its adherents. 

Of course a Christianity that blesses flags and sings Te Deums over victories will get its share of the spoil. 

Why should the world hate, or persecute, or despise a Christianity like that, any more than a man need to care for a tame tiger that has had its claws pared? 

If the world can put a hook in the nostrils of leviathan, and make him play with its maidens, it will substitute good-nature, half contemptuous, for the hostility which our Master here predicts. 

It was out-and-out Christians that He said the world would hate; the world likes Christians that are like itself. 

Christian men and women! be you sure that you deserve the hostility which my text predicts.

IV. And now, lastly, note how to meet this antagonism.

Reckon it as a sign and test of true union with Jesus Christ. And so, if ever, by reason of our passing at the call of duty or benevolence outside the circle of those who sympathise with our faith and fundamental ideas, we encounter it more manifestly than when we “dwell among our own people,” let us count the “reproach of Christ” as a treasure to be proud of, and to be guarded.

Be sure that it is your goodness and not your evils or your weakness, that men dislike. The world has a very keen eye for the inconsistencies and the faults of professing Christians, and it is a good thing that it has. The loftier your profession the sharper the judgment that is applied to you. Many well-meaning Christian people, by an injudicious use of Christian phraseology in the wrong place, and by the glaring contradiction between their prayers and their talks and their daily life, bring down a great deal of deserved hostility upon themselves and of discredit upon Christianity; and then they comfort themselves and say they are bearing the “reproach of the Cross.” Not a bit of it! They are bearing the natural results of their own failings and faults. And it is for us to see to it that what provokes, if it does provoke, hostile judgments and uncharitable criticisms, insulting speeches and sarcasms, and the sense of our belonging to another regiment and having other objects, is our cleaving to Jesus Christ, and not the imperfections and the sins with which we so often spoil that cleaving. Be you careful for this, that it is Christ in you that men turn from, and not you yourself and your weakness and sin.

Meet this antagonism by not dropping your standard one inch. 

Keep the flag right at the masthead. 

If you begin to haul it down, where are you going to stop? Nowhere, until you have got it draggling in the mud at the foot. It is of no use to try to conciliate by compromise. 

All that we shall gain by that will be, as I have said, indifference and contempt; 

all that we shall gain will be a loss to the cause. 

A great deal is said in this day, and many efforts are being made – I cannot but think mistaken efforts – by Christian people to bridge over this gulf in the wrong way – that is, by trying to make out that Christianity in its fundamental principles does approximate a great deal more closely to the things that the world goes by than it really does. 

It is all vain, and the only issue of it will be that we shall have a decaying Christianity and a dying spiritual life. 

Keep the flag up; 

emphasize and accentuate the things that the world disbelieves and denies, not pushing them to the “falsehood of extremes,” but not by one jot diminishing the clearness of our testimony by reason of the world’s unwillingness to receive it. 

Our victory is to be won only through absolute faithfulness to Christ’s ideal.

And, lastly, meet hostility with unmoved, patient, Christlike, and Christ-derived love and sympathy. 

The patient sunshine pours upon the glaciers and melts the thick-ribbed ice at last into sweet water. 

The patient sunshine beats upon the mist-cloud and breaks up its edges and scatters it at the last. 

And our Lord here tells us that our experience, if we are faithful to Him, will be like His experience, in that some will hearken to our word though others will persecute, and to some our testimony will come as a message from God that draws them to the Lord Himself. 

These are our only weapons, brethren! 

The only conqueror of the world is the love that was in Christ breathed through us; 

the only victory over suspicion, contempt, alienation, is pleading, persistent, long-suffering, self-denying love. 

The only way to overcome the world’s hostility is by turning the world into a church, and that can only be done when Christ’s servants oppose pity to wrath, love to hate, and in the strength of His life who has won us all by the same process, seek to win the world for Him by the manifestation of His victorious love in our patient love.

Dear brethren, to which army do you belong? 

Which community is yours? 

Are you in Christ’s ranks, or are you in the world’s? 

Do you love Him back again, or do you meet His open heart with a closed one, and His hand, laden with blessings, with hands clenched in refusal? 

To which class do I belong? – it is the question of questions for us all; 

and I pray that you and I, won from our hatred by His love, and wooed out of our death by His life, and made partakers of His life by His death, may yield our hearts to Him, and so pass from out of the hostility and mistrust of a godless world into the friendships and peace of the sheltering Vine. And then we “shall esteem the reproach of Christ” if it fall upon our heads, in however modified and mild a form, “greater riches than the treasures of Egypt,” and ‘have respect unto the recompense of the reward.’

May it be so with us all!

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