Monthly Archives: January 2015

Warning: Beware of Man’s Traditions About Christ

You ever notice how the apostles of Christ never warned the early Christians about the dangers of being deceived by the gods of the Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Indians, Persians, et al. They weren’t concerned about Sol Invictus, the worship of the Sun god, nor the worship of the Roman Emperor, nor any of the invading mystery cult gods of the East.

They warned Christians about organized churches and synagogues who professed to know God even while they were being infected by the false teachings found in the worship of those very false gods.

Paul makes this clear: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (II Cor 11: 13-14).

Much to be gleaned here. First, there are false apostles, individuals who claim to be sent by Jesus Christ (Yahshua) with His message. Their stock in trade, however is deceit. How do they deceive would be followers of Christ? They “transform themselves into preachers, teachers, and priests of the God of the Bible.

“Transforming themselves” comes from the Greek words meta schema, which means “to change fashion.” Someone’s schema is “the habitus, as comprising everything in a person which strikes the senses, the figure, bearing, discourse, actions, manner of life” [1]. In other words, when you look at one of these “false apostles” of Christ, you see and hear someone who you would expect to be a man or woman of God. Their appearance, the way they carry themselves, their words about Christ, their actions in the community, and their “manner of life” testify as to their self-declaration that they are indeed a person of God.

The old way of checking out somebody–if they walk like a duck, and talk like a duck, and act like a duck, they must be a duck–does not work in this case. In fact, this is part of man’s wisdom that must be thrown away in order to go on to higher growth of discernment in God.

So Just Who Are These False Preachers, Teachers, and Priests?

Who are they? Just look around. Churches on many corners teach the “traditions of men.” Their leaders do not dig deep as Christ admonished us. They are content to poll parrot what they heard in seminary, joyfully passing on poisoned pablum to the lambs instead of the true vision.

And it just wasn’t a lone apostle Paul who warned us of these. The apostle Peter, who backs up Paul, warns of them, also (II Pet. 3: 15-16). After lining out the steps on the road to spiritual maturity and son ship, he warns us of them. “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…And many will follow their destructive ways…” (2: 1-3  Read all of II Peter and Jude for the full picture).

In lieu of the many deceptions put forth by imposters–however sincere they may sound and appear–Paul warns us to not be spoiled through man’s philosophy and “vain deceit.” Young Christians can be deceived by man’s traditions “after the elements of this world” system. Being deceived comes from believing corrupt man’s spin on the Christian life. This comes from pagan traditions soldered onto Christ’s gospel (Col. 2: 8).

One need only thoroughly study out the major holidays of Easter, Halloween, and Christmas in order to see how man’s traditions have dominated “Christian” things the masses hold dear. It is astounding how deceived the oceans of people are, never questioning the source of their traditions. Sometimes I want to cry out, my arms stretched wide, my heart saying, Why do you persist in following pagan rites and traditions super-imposed upon Christian sounding observances? Even the History Channel has broadcast documentaries exposing the error of our holidays! And yet we slosh on and on, mired in the same false mudslides of the fetid river of lies. When will we ever learn as a nation, as a people?

But I know that the remnant of God’s people are learning. They know and discern the deceitful doctrines, and when they do, they turn away from the intoxicating fumes of those falsehoods about God.  Kenneth Wayne Hancock [to be continued]

1. http://www.blbclassic.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4976&t=KJV

 

 

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What the World Needs Now Is…Agape Love

Life is really all about love. Rather, a fulfilled life is all about love. Books, songs, poems, and most artistic masterpieces have as their major theme something about love. It is “what the world needs now.”

So we have the thinkers and poets penning down for the masses the hidden longings of the heart, for love. Although they may not realize it, mankind’s longing for love is really a desperate desire for God on some level. For there is only one entity in the universe that actually is love, and that is God, for “God is love” (I John 4: 16).

Thus, mankind’s search for love ends when he finds God. Seeking to be loved from another individual is seeking an earnest of God that He has placed in man and woman, who was created in His image.

The Hebrew prophets and apostles speak of just these very things. The Son of God Himself spoke of love, living it out dramatically through His Passion. He is Love incarnate, for He exhibited the greatest love that a mortal can ever do–to lay down his life for his friends.

This act of self-sacrifice for another instantly touches the human heart like no other act. The Son of God presented Himself the sacrificial Lamb for our deliverance, and now He asks His followers to do the same. But this time we are “to present our bodies a living sacrifice.”  Through this humble service to our King, we will not become self-centered proteges of this world system, but we will be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” We will change into His image through thinking His way, by His Spirit. (Romans 12: 1-2).

Now His Holy Spirit of Love multiplies and abounds in us when we do what He did, which is lay down our lives to help save mankind from a life without love (God). It is not so we can escape hell and go to heaven. That is not why He laid His life down. To follow Him, we must do it for the same reason.

How Do We Lay Our Lives Down Like Christ Did?

He wants us to join Him on the cross. The moment just before Christ died, all of the sins of mankind were place upon Him. He wants us at first to join Him on the cross. This signifies that our old haunts and sinful desires and deeds coming out of our old heart die with Him. Our old sinful nature died with Christ that day. And “he that is dead is freed from sin” (Romans 6: 7). We are free from the enslavement to sin and sinning that was our old selfish life! The problem is many just do not believe it. They have not heard of it and are loathe to believe anything “new.” They think that it is impossible to be rid of sin in a Christian’s life. But is anything too hard for God? To him that believes, aren’t all things possible with God? (I John 3: 9).

Dying with Him is the initial baptism or immersion into His death. Then we  believe that we are buried with Him. And then we believe that He was raised from the dead after 72 lifeless hours in the tomb. It is through believing in His resurrection that enables us to believe that we are raised from the dead, too! (Romans 6: 4-5). This is His faith, His belief. When we also believe this great act of the greatest love, then we receive His Spirit of life and love, and we walk “in a newness of life”! And love!

His resurrection power is born of love. For it surges forth after the selfless act of laying down His life for His friends, the greatest love. Our conscious act of following Christ in doing this is met with the resurrection power of love (God), now in us.

Spiritually Growing
And then we, “as newborn babes,” are to spiritually grow in Him. Or rather, we will spiritually grow as the Spirit of Love grows in us.

“Babes in Christ” need the “sincere milk of the word” in order to grow properly. They are, of course, mostly alive in their new life for what they can receive from the Father. Their prayers reflect this, for their petitions  center on their own needs. This is why Christ teaches all of us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and all of our earthly needs will be supplied. But it takes a spiritual growth to become mature in Him enough to do this. A growth that the milk and then the meat of the Word will accomplish. For we all must be taught His thoughts, desires, and will, in order to grow (I Peter 2.2; Matt. 6: 31-34).

But herein lies the problem. Instead of the sincere and uncorrupted milk and later meat of the Word, they are fed with half-truths, imaginations, and traditions of men about God and not the “food that is needful for [them]” (Prov. 30: 8). Thus, the little children of God, lamentably, are stunted in their spiritual growth in Christ, stunted by erroneous concepts of the Savior and His plan for this world.

But a “babe in Christ” is like a child fed only with junk food their whole life. When the white sugar, corn syrup, and white flour products are taken away and a wholesome diet is place in front of them, they will say that the old junk food is  better. “And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better.’ ” “Wine” is universally accepted to be a symbol of “doctrine” (Luke 5: 39).

Warnings about this problem in the last days fill the writings of the apostles of Christ. All of the New Testament writers, along with the prophets of old, expressed their concerns.

But Some…

But some will break out of the stunted pack, pulled by a strong yearning for the answer to life’s riddle. God has called some according to His purpose. He foreknew and conferred on them a destiny “to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8: 28-29). He has chosen them “in Him before the foundation of the world, that [they] should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Agape Love (Eph. 1:4).

These chosen ones, invisibly guided by His Spirit, will answer the “high calling.” They will decrease so that He can increase His presence in them to the point that Love (God) will express Himself fully to every one on earth–through them.

These He is calling. They have already been chosen. And they will respond and become the over comers of all things like the the corrupted half-truths and traditions of men about God. Fed with the sincere truth of God’s plan, they will grow fully to express Christ in human form again. They will believe Christ’s words: “Greater works shall you do than what I have done.”

They will be the princes and princesses in God’s kingdom, soon to be established earth wide upon His return. Filled with Christ’s Spirit, during the 1,000 Year Reign, they will be His viceroys, governing the provinces of the earth after the dust and ash of Tribulation settle.

How Will They Grow?

This vision of the “gospel of the kingdom” is what will feed and nourish young Christians so that they can spiritually grow to be just like Christ.

And the growth of God within them is the growth of love within them. Christ’s words confirm this: “All men will know that you are My disciples if you have love one to another.”

The last days are upon us. All these promises of sonship are written for our time, brothers and sisters. We are living in the time of the latter rain of His Spirit. Are we the ones who will shake off the chains of Christian mediocrity and free ourselves from spiritual infancy? Will we stand up and answer this highest of His callings–to sit with Him on His throne? Not every Christian will. Consider the five foolish virgins (Rev. 3: 21; Matt. 25: 1-13).

Or will we recede to the rear near the nursery and hide our talents in the earth, only to be chided by the Master, “You slothful and unprofitable servant.”

Sadly, this will come upon some Christians, all because they did not dig deep and prove all things and study for themselves the “new things” presented to them along the way. Christians who don’t grow will never express the greatest love, the love that comes from above, that heals the poor and needy, that rights the wrongs of human depravity, that restores God’s righteous judgements in the earth, thus incarnating God (Love) once again to a love-starved earth.

It is this kind of love that we are to finally add to the divine nature within us now. “Agape love is the bond of perfectness.” It is that last attribute of God’s divine nature that makes us complete in Him. It matures us, for when added, we will have been “conformed to the image of His Son.”  {My readers, I have poured it out for you. Can a brother get an “Amen”? Tell me what you think about these things. Did they make you think? Did they inspire you? Did they make you angry? Make a comment. Let me know your thoughts about these things. Holler at me. I need your fellowship.    Kenneth Wayne Hancock}

 

 

 

 

 

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Adding Agape Love to Our Faith–The Greatest Love

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” *

Those Christians chosen by God to answer the “high calling” in being His manifested sons and daughters in these last days must add seven things to their faith “obtained” from Him. The apostle Peter clearly lines them out in his second letter. The last one is agape, the divine love that is God Himself [1].

When added, these seven attributes make us “partakers of the divine nature.” They insure that we will never be “barren nor unfruitful” in Him. Adding them is the way to “make [our] calling and election sure.” In other words, they are extremely important to study out and incorporate into our being.

Adding “godliness” is adding an increased love and appreciation of God. Adding “brotherly kindness” is loving your fellow man as God does. Adding agape love to them is when the very essence of God’s divine nature, which is Love, is placed by Him into His temple, you and me.

“Love, Love, Love”

The poets and writers know that “love is all you need,” that “love is the answer,” that “nobody gets too much” of it. They herald love’s necessity  today as they have since mankind first spoke of their inner feelings. They know that “what the world needs now is love, sweet love.” We hum the tunes and whisper the words of this ancient truth, but how do we tap into and receive into our hearts that divine entity, that attribute of the divine nature that eludes us?

We first look to family for love, to our dear mothers who innately gave of themselves to us. Then to friends and acquaintances we go searching for love and acceptance. Then on to our search for “the one,” the one we will marry, the one who will love us surely; surely they will.

Natural mankind is filled with this longing to be loved. But the very people that he wants love, respect, and admiration from do not know how to give it really. Unconditional love is not man’s forte because it is the divine love that mankind is really craving. For only divine love is strong and selfless enough to forgive  mankind’s sins and shortcomings. Besides, the very person that we seek unconditional love from is limited, also, and doesn’t have the capacity to love like that. Most are bogged down in their own pursuit of love for themselves from others in this world.

And so this unrequited love on all sides seethes oftentimes into a bitter bile of dissatisfaction and dismay. The swirl of perceived rejection and angst can begin to flush one’s mind down into the pit of despair.

Consequently, the real need for us all is to forgive those who have not loved us like we thought they should have. But forgiveness only issues from a heart of love.

Alexander Pope, the 18th Century English poet, was right. “To err is human; to forgive divine.” The water of forgiveness can only be drawn from the divine well of Love. Agape love is the fountain of forgiveness. I cannot forgive you unless I love you because forgiveness is fashioned only from a heart of love.

Where Is This Fountain of Love?

But where do we get that divine love? Where is that rarefied pool of love, the “living waters” that we sojourners may drink and fill our hearts for our journey through “the valley of the shadow of death”?

It comes from God, for “God is love” [2]. Everyone knows that; it’s been repeated over and over down through the millennia. Yet, repeating it will still not fill us with this most ethereal of elixirs, agape love.

The Key

The key lies in answering this question: How is it that “God is love”? How is He agape love? Why is He love? We begin to sip this life-giving love when we finally see it in action. But not just see it. We must believe it, believe in it, trust it, breathe it, and live it.

For God, who is Divine Love, poured His essence of love into a man. Agape love is the Word, and the Word was God, and Love “was made flesh and dwelt among us” [3]. This Divine Love was incarnated in Christ and dwelt with mankind in the form of our Savior.

When we believe Christ’s story of God’s great love displayed when Christ laid down His life for the salvation of the world, we begin to add His nature of divine love to our spirit. When we believe in His death, burial, and resurrection, then through faith (belief) in Him and this very action of love, we begin to tap into that flow of the Spirit of love. He begins to love that hard to love person in our life through us. It is God who is loving them through us. He is the actor, we are the medium.”

Our belief in His resurrection in us localizes God, who is love. Our belief in His resurrection raises up His Spirit of love in us, the divine Spirit of love. This is how God magnifies and multiplies Himself. He reproduces Himself through His spiritual nature of love manifested through us, His offspring.

Christ showed the greatest love in the universe when He willingly laid down His life for us. Meditating on this revelation of the greatest love witnessed on earth in Christ is the key to exponential spiritual growth. It is the key to understanding the Holy Bible. It is the key to solving all the mysteries of God.

It is when we follow Him in His baptism, when we willingly lay down our selfish lives on the cross with Him, when we are buried with Him, and when we believe that we are risen with Him–then that very same Love–the greatest Love of all–flows through us from Agape Love Himself. Our belief in the greatest Love of all is believing in Christ’s laying down His life and taking it back up again. When we follow Him in this, we tap into that Spirit of Love and add it to His divine nature in us [4].     Kenneth Wayne Hancock    [For more information on this topic, I invite you to peruse these articles found here: https://immortalityroad.wordpress.com/?s=additions ]

*John 15: 13

1. II Peter 1: 4-11; Eph. 1: 4.  [Agape is the Greek word that is translated in many versions as “charity.” Because of “charity’s” obvious modern connotation, it clouds the true meaning of the passage.]

2. I John 4: 8, 16.

3. John 1: 1, 14.

4. Romans 6: 1-12

*John 15: 13

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