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Commonsense Christianity

Commonsense Christianity

Four Lies Creeping into Today’s Christian Church

In the shadows, all sorts of things can lurk. We must use the light we have available to us to truly see. Moonlit Night on the Coppei, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold.

Apostasy is nothing new in Christianity. Two thousand years ago Jesus warned that false prophets “come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7: 15)

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Given that we, the people of God, are frequently referred to as sheep, the term “sheep’s clothing” imparts the disquieting concept that these false prophets will inveigle their way into the church itself, potentially fooling the saints (Matthew 24: 24).

According to the apostle Peter, false teachers arise not only in the general populace (“among the people”) but in the church as well (“among you”). Peter is scathing in his commentary:

“They will secretly introduce destructive heresies . . . In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.” (2 Peter 2: 1, 3)

Some Things Never Change

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While these words were written two thousand years ago, some things never change, and many of Satan’s appealing lies just never go away. They just remove the robe and put on a suit. Here are four we are battling today:

Riches

1) God wants you to be rich! Advocates of the prosperity doctrine assert that true Christians are wealthy Christians.  Through an interesting twisting of Scripture, they convince followers that God proves His love by bestowing material gifts:

“How much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7: 11) and “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.”

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Aside from deliberately misinterpreting the word, “gifts,” these teachers noticeably avoid verses like:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” (Matthew 5: 6), or

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16: 24)

A cursory reading of the Bible emphasizes that God wants our hearts and obedience, and while the one thing He gives us, unconditionally, is love — money’s not guaranteed. Christ Himself claimed no place to lay His head at night: why would the Father withhold from His Son the material blessings He is apparently obligated to shower upon us?

Power

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2) You have the power, in your mind, to change your life! Theoretically, because the Holy Spirit lives in Christians, we can “tap into” this power, if only we know the right words, methods, and incantations, all of which are taught through various authors’ books.

We’re much smaller, and weaker, and defenseless than we think we are. Bold Innocence, original oil painting by Steve Henderson, sold. Licensed open edition print at Great Big Canvas and iCanvasART

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The power to be like God — because this is what this teaching promises — goes back to Eden:

The serpent said, “God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3: 4)

God will not abdicate His absolute power to any of His creatures, including us, who demand, declare, proclaim, announce, aver, assure, and insist that He do what we say. This includes “visualizing” the answer to your prayer — it doesn’t matter how hard you believe that a rock will fly, your mind can’t make it do so. If it does fly, you didn’t do it, and think twice before you drag God into it. There is one other person in the garden, however, who is always happy to oblige.

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Failure

3) You are the sum of your choices, and what you become in life is ultimately up to you. We all make bad choices, and we manage a few good ones in there as well, but if we are dependent upon the outcome of our choices to make or break our lives, we’re screwed.

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,” God tells us in Isaiah 30: 15.

The apostle Paul hurt a whole lot of people before his conversion; Peter denied His Lord three times; Abraham, the great Patriarch, lied, twice, about Sarah being his sister or his wife; Isaac repeated the same lie a generation later, with his wife Rebekah.

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All of these bad choices should have resulted in bad lives, but God’s intervention and guidance brought about mercy and redemption. So it is with all of us, my friends: overcoming our bad choices doesn’t depend upon our strength, but God’s.

Self

4) The lack of self-esteem is a huge problem in people’s lives: if we can’t love ourselves, how can we love others?

The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5: 1 – 12 is distinctly lacking in encouraging us to lift ourselves up — rather, we find blessing in being poor in spirit, meek, mournful, merciful, pure, and seeking after God. Ironically, it is through pain — physical, mental, and environmental — that we draw closer to God, because otherwise, when things are going fine and we’re enjoying all those material blessings we’re told we deserve to demand, we don’t need God.

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As St. Augustine said, “God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them.”

You don’t have to focus on yourself first, before you focus on others, and indeed, if it were a requisite, then Christ would have quoted three most important commandments, as opposed to two.

The best lie is mostly truth, with just a hint of falsehood cleverly woven throughout. Good lies are also appealing, because otherwise, why would we believe them? Anytime we focus our goals on money, position, or security, we set up a false God in the place of the real one.

“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5: 21)

Thank You

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Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity, where I encourage people to seek God’s truth by reading His Word — you can’t spot a lie, unless you know the truth.

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  • James Couch

    Why did Yahweh bless Abraham with riches beyond compare or was it really a curse?

  • James Couch

    When you are dying of cancer because of your decision to smoke, good luck with your redemption.

  • James Couch

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” John 14:12

  • James Couch

    “I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High.” Psalms 82:6

  • James Couch

    What does the scripture mean when it says “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”?

  • James Couch

    What does the scripture mean when it says “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.”?

  • Pingback: “My Church Is Being Stolen!” - Commonsense Christianity

  • Pingback: False Leaders, Speaking in Our Name - Commonsense Christianity

  • Carolyn Henderson

    Jennifer — in our shortsightedness as humans, we overlook the many beautiful blessings that God gives us, that we overlook and undervalue, and would decidedly miss if they were gone!

  • http://www.thedeliberatemom.com/ Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom

    I feel God does bless us and prosper us but this doesn’t necessarily mean in physical riches. Our blessings could come in longevity and good health, in giftings from Him, etc. My foundation is the Word of God and prayerful relationship through Him. I trust I will not be led astray as long as I stay connected to Him by upholding these two principles.

    Thank you for sharing (and for linking up to the SHINE Blog Hop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.
    xoxo

  • danita Carr

    Very true! Thanks for sharing at Family Fun Friday.

  • Carolyn Henderson

    So true, Diane — so much depends upon, as you say, the church waking up, with people reading the Word for themselves so that they are armed with truth.

  • Diane Ugo

    I agree. Though I do feel that we have an abundance of blessings available to us from God, I think some people focus too much on the money side and don’t see that God’s blessings can mean so much more. Then there’s the belief that if someone is going through difficult times it’s because they have sinned or haven’t paid their tithe. The church needs to wake up, rwad the Word themselves and stop relying on men to bring them closer to God.

  • Pingback: False “Christian” Teaching | This Woman Writes by Carolyn Henderson

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