Look at all those Hypocrites

From Christian to atheist, I have heard one consistent observation about the church: they are all hypocrites. Although, this is not entirely false, the reflection does have some accuracy; yet, the question still remains for those who make such statements, are they imputing sin upon others or excusing themselves? This inquiring mind wants to know.

Well, as fervent as some might appear to be when stating such things, the truth is the Lord God of heaven never said it wasn’t so. In fact, Jesus pointed out numerous times in the bible that there would be hypocrites, wolves, thieves, and such the like masquerading as righteous folk. For example,

“…woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (1)
“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers…” (2)
“For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets…” (3)
“But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming and shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken…” (4)
“All that ever came before me (Jesus) are thieves and robbers…” (5)
“Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (6)

In spite of what is known concerning these dastardly characters, why are some offended, discouraged and even dissident in accepting Jesus Christ? I used to believe that it was a matter of either you believe or you don’t, and while this acceptance or rejection of Christ is fundamental at its core, I have come to the conclusion that there is a logic in which one searches for evidence, and when it is not seen, the truth of God is discredited as foolishness and folklore. The scriptures are clear that there are principalities at work blinding the mind of unbelievers, but how do we go about, as Jude puts it, snatching those out of the fire? (7) I believe the answer is as Disciples of Christ, we need to stop trying to impress and prove God’s truth and just live it.

Let us look at the parable of the ten virgins in St. Matthew 25. For those familiar, I will not go into detail but it is worthy to mention that there were two groups: wise and foolish. Interestingly enough, we see the kingdom of God on earth is not perfect yet, but it is on its way to perfection. In the kingdom, both groups had a profession of faith. Both were waiting on the Lord to come. Both had to examine themselves, and both responded to the call of meeting the bridegroom. However, there is one major difference between these two groups: the oil necessary to put in their lamps. Here we see only the wise had light and that is why the foolish virgins asked the wise virgins for oil because they didn’t have any. Woe be unto those foolish virgins because when the Lord God comes, they will discover that it wasn’t a game after all. This is what the unbelievers see. The hypocrites with no oil in their vessels. Professing a truth they do not know or even believe. No wonder the enemy works hard to discredit the wise virgins because they by their actions point to the truth in Christ Jesus.

The very essence of truth is unseen. Knowing that truth in and of itself is spiritual, the logical mind cannot discern or perceive the ways of God; therefore, when he/she seeks proof of God’s existence via logic of fear, anger, science, history, or sociology (8) they will always end up frustrated and disappointed. We do not have the ability to reveal Him, but the Holy Spirit through the work of sanctification in our lives testifies to the eternal ministry of Christ. How genius of Peter to tell us to be holy in all manner of living. (9)

If you find yourself frustrated by the “look at all those hypocrites” response, keep in mind Jesus was talking to the religious leaders and the disciples. In other words, this particular message/warning was to the church. The only message for those outside of the faith is the message of salvation.

References
1. St. Matthew 23:14
2. St. Matthew 23:33
3. St. Matthew 24:24
4. St. Matthew 24:49
5. St. John 10:8
6. St. Matthew 7:15
7. Jude 1:23
8. Elder & Paul (2007). The Thinker’s Guide to Analytic Thinking. How to Take Thinking Apart and What to Look for When You Do. http://www.criticalthinking.org
9. I Peter 1:15

The Answer is in Your Problem

“And the king (Solomon) said, ‘Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.’ ” I Kings 3:25

Recently I told the Lord I had two problems. He responded that I had one, so I asked him for proof text and here we have Solomon with an example of the wisdom God gave him. Now before I give a synopsis of the story, in order to understand the relevance of this text to my problem, you need to know I had been reminding God about how L-O-N-G I had been banging on the doors of heaven for an answer. As such I thought it needful for him to know that my patience is wearing thin and NOW would be a good time to spill the beans. Didn’t happen. As promised please read the following synopsis (I Kings 3:16-28).

Two baby mommas, who were also ladies of the night, went to court and stood before the judge. The first baby momma said:

“Both of us live in one house and had two babies. I had my baby first and three days later she had hers. NOBODY else was in the house…ok? So, what had happened was this woman killed her child because she was stupid enough to sleep on the baby and what she did was get up, switch the babies and now she actin’ like the dead one is mine and the living baby is hers. So, when I got up to feed my baby, I saw this one was dead and knew it wasn’t mine.”

Baby momma #2 said, “Nu, uh. The dead one is hers and the living one is mine. This trick is cr-cr-crazy.”

The first baby momma said, “You trippin’ tramp. The living baby is mine and you betta step off…”

Alas the judge silenced the two baby mommas and said, “Enough! Bring me a sword and let’s settle this matter once and for all. Baby momma #1 you take one half and Baby momma #2 you take the other half.”

At the sound of the edict baby momma #1 said, “Oh lawd, don’t do it Judge Solomon. Give her the baby. Don’t kill the baby!” Baby momma #2 said, “Psst, neither one of us should have it. Go on and split the baby in two. If I can’t have it, neither can her.”

And at that very point, that is when Judge Solomon said, “Give the child to baby momma #1. She is the real mother.”
In Solomon’s case getting the answer was never about process (order of the court), location (harlot’s house) or circumstantial evidence (the living baby). The issue was the true mother’s identity and how to determine it. When the real mother was willing to give up her baby so it could live, the answer came because it was a matter of life or death, and had Solomon relied solely on their testimonies, felt emotionally sorry for the baby, a wrong decision would have affected the baby in ways we could not predict.

And it is the same with you. The answers you seek are wrapped up in your problems. Waiting patiently upon the Lord is never an easy thing but rest assured the solutions you need are there. They will never come when you want them, rather when you need them.

Global Impact – Dr. Claude Alexander

When I relocated from Connecticut to North Carolina, I was in search of a church to attend and I knew the Lord chose The Park (University Park Baptist Church). There I experienced growth in Christian character that still puts a smile on my face.

Dr. Claude Alexander is a preaching prince. He is articulate, theologically astute, and well versed in the Holy Scriptures. If you are seeking an intellectually spiritual lift, this is the man to listen to.

Enjoy!

TD Jakes – Kill the Bull

Bishop TD Jakes is one of the most prolific and controversial preachers in 2014 Christendom and although many of us can debate theological differences we can agree that Christianity is about Christ the God-man not theological schisms in the body of Christ.

I attended this service and I must admit, this is one of my favorite sermons. Enjoy!

Don’t Take Lot with You

“So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.” Genesis 12:4

Twelve years ago in the midst of adversity I took a leap of faith, left Connecticut and moved to Charlotte, North Carolina. With no offer of employment, family, or friends in the said destination, I quit my job and stepped out on the word of God. Reflecting on past decisions I made one big error: I never left the people behind. Keeping contact with them caused me to be ensnared by the unexpected and it was like fighting to take off an invisible straight jacket.

Reading the call of Abram in Genesis 12 I recognized the problem. God called me not “we” and being very curious I wanted to know the meaning of the name Lot. The Hebrew translation is “covering” or in my case taking Lot was more like a security blanket.

What can we glean from Abram’s experience in taking Lot?

1. Lot was a hindrance.
“And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered and the souls they had gotten in Haran.” (1)
God spoke to Abram, not Abram and Lot. God’s call and promises for each of us should not be regarded as community property. Where God calls us is not where he calls Lot and them. The journey requires we have sufficient. Extra only slows us down.

2. Lot brought contention.
“And there was strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle.”(2)
When we continue to associate with Lot, we remain connected to all those associated with his company. Taking time out to play peace keeper among those who are just in it for the ride is exhausting and time consuming.

3. Lot’s presence was inconvenient.
And [Chedorlaomer and the allied kings] took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.”(3)
Consequently Lot’s real estate decision resulted with him being in the crossfire of the battle of the five kings. Had he consulted the Lord, or better yet, had he stayed in the Ur of the Chaldees, Abram would not have needed to bail him out when he got into trouble.

When the Lord calls us to do something, He speaks to us and us alone. So let us be strong, of good courage, and not bring Lot with us in our pursuit of God’s will for our lives.

References
1 Genesis 12:5
2 Genesis 13:7
3 Genesis 14:12