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" Tolerance or Holiness? "

"Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them...and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.' You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done...to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it. If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods'; which you have not known; 'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. (Deut 12:30-13:4)

Pat Robertson's "Christian Coalition" unites Catholics, Mormons, Moonies and others together with "christians" under the label "people of faith," even though these "faiths" are in opposition to one other. Robert Schuller focuses on the "beliefs the major faiths can agree on." The Dalai Lama in a recent Catholic-Buddhist conference said, "Members of different religions should not try to convert one another, but rather exchange ideas, study each other's traditions and conduct pilgrimages to each other's shrines."

Recently it was reported that a coalition of "main line" denomina- tions, who at one time in history preached the Gospel of Jesus' blood, issued an "official apology" to the Native American Religions for their ancestors' attempts throughout history to convert them from their Mother Earth-based religion, to Jesus Christ and His Saving Grace.

Now, "Reconciliation Sunday" (Sept 29,1996) is to gather together "all faiths" so they can apologize and repent to each other for years of "intolerance" of each other, and simply love one another and worship together. They want to be "reconciled" TO EACH OTHER in "unity."

FOR A TRUE CHRISTIAN, the Gospel Message in a nutshell is this, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." (Rom 5:8-10)

First of all, we were sinners. We were deserving of God's Wrath. This wrath meant separation from God and a lack of fellowship. But God loved us, and Christ died for us, and His blood justifies us, thus clearing the path to God, so that we can be Reconciled TO God.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. (2Cor5:17-20)

Christians, then, are to work on God's behalf. We are citizens of heaven (Phil3:20). We have no ties to this earth, because the world is not our home. Our "job" is to be witnesses for Christ. Letting the world know how they, too, can be Reconciled to God, as the Thessalonian Christians did..."For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth...Your faith toward God has gone out...how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (~1 Thes 1:8-9)

Our ministry is to turn people Away From Idolatry, "let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins."(James 5:20)

But, instead of "converting" sinners, professing "christians" are joining the sinners; committing idolatry. And they are led by their pastors. They are seeing visions, being "spirit-filled," performing "miracles." They are returning from Prayer Summits to their congrega- tions, enticing their flocks to join in the ecumenical rallies; telling their flocks that all the other "faiths" are "christians," too. That we must have "unity" at all costs. If they have a different doctrine, we must TOLERATE the differences and concentrate on the similarities; because, after all, we all "love Jesus."

God through Moses warned Israel against this. And even so, she did not listen. But time after time she went whoring after the idols of her neighbors. Eventually God totally dispersed her. And now, His "bride" is doing the same thing Israel did!!

"And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight"(Col 1:21-22)

What does it mean to be "holy and blameless?" Holiness is not a "feeling" of an imagined halo around our head, following us around. Rather, holiness is "set-apartness, separateness; to keep ones self apart." Opposite of current trends!

In other words, a Christian is to keep separate from the world; NOT Join in Together! Rather than becoming "like" the world, the Chris- tian is to be seeking to Reconcile the world TO GOD. The early church's reputation for holiness resulted in, "Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly."(Acts 5:13)

Not only are we citizens of heaven, we are "Ambassadors." (2Cor5:20) An ambassador does not go to a foreign country to become "like" that country. He remains distinctively like the country he represents. He represents his own country as being distinctly DIFFERENT FROM the country to which he is sent. And yet "christians" WORK HARD to become Like the World!!

The Apostle of Love, John, wrote "Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."(1Jn2:15)

"Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God..they shall be My people.

COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM...BE SEPARATE, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean. And I will receive you.(2Cor6:14-17)

Amen!


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