A Voice in the
Wilderness

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" Stand Your Ground "

    "...speaking the truth in love..." (Eph4:15)
About 12 years ago somebody e-mailed with the following comment:
    "When you do something, don't forget to do it in Love."
Shortly after this ministry went online, another did so with a similar name, with words "voice" and "wilderness", and they e-mailed me wondering if I would like to "join" them in their ministry. When I went to have a look (to be aware of whatever else might be out there), their opening byline was something like...
    "Learning to minister THE WAY JESUS DID"
These kinds of reactions are likely in retaliation to this ministry's bylines, and subsequently the materials posted here...
    "An Oasis of Biblical Truth - For the Last Days - the Bible our Sole Authority"
This sort of statement presumes three things:
  1. With the word "oasis" we are presuming to proclaim Truth, and not much of anybody else is doing so. We are claiming to stand out in a desert of Godlessness, a barren land where there is a derth for hearing the Words of God. (Am8:11) Isn't that terribly prideful and self-inflated? Like the arguments I used to receive in the 70s: you mean to say that -lone- 'you' has a corner on Truth, and ALL OF US are wrong?

  2. Last Days suggests Judgment is coming. That is sooo judgmental and full of hate speech.

  3. The Bible is our "sole" (only) authority. How narrow-minded can you get? You mean to say you don't even consult the "church fathers"? The Bible is not always 'reliable', you know, and should not be taken 'literally'. Besides, you need (human) 'mentors' to help keep you on the straight and narrow.
And when people softly 'hiss' to do it "the way Jezzzussss did", -which- Jesus are they speaking of? Theirs is typically the Jesus who was "full of graaaaeeeessss" (Jn1:14) The one who... "will not strive nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench..." (Mt12:19-20)

This mentality is fanned along by other events like we are seeing in the news: A watchman gets into a scuffle with a neighborhood punk and when violently attacked shoots the punk, and does so -legally- with the backing of the state's "Stand Your Ground" law; but because the 'victim' was "black", some are seeking to repeal the statute and make it illegal for a person to stand up to a threat and defend themself. Putting the whole mess together, the theory goes: If we just get rid of guns, don't stand up to bullies, and everybody just learn to "get along" and "love" one another, this will be so much a better world.

All of these: unregenerate, non-Christians, anti-God, anti-Holiness. When they sit down for their round-table discussions, their dialectic picks and chooses 'what' they will discuss. If it is a discussion about Biblical doctrine, instead of studying what God has -said- in the Scriptures, they sing "walls come down", throw doctrine aside, and have "dialogue" and "conversation": 1) Evangelicals and Catholics get together as evangelicals move -toward- "mother church" and partake in 'mass', not the other direction. 2) Evangelicals get together with Mormons; I've not heard 'what' they have done to forge 'agreement'. 3) Christians have gotten together with Islam, sharing both Bibles and Koran, learning to accept one another, calling the union Chrislam.

If the true Christian stands up for Truth and obeys...

    "Now I exhort you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and snares, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." (Ro16:17-18)
...the reaction is two-fold. On one extreme will be out-n-out attack and condemnation. But these days the preferred method is to -hiss- softly about "speak the truth in love" Definition: Love is the act of not stirring up waves, so therefore speak only SO MUCH truth. Speak only the truth where everybody can -feel- warm-n-fuzzy together.

Speak like Jesus did: His gracious words, His healing of everybody who was brought to Him, His feeding of the 5000 & 7000. The 'nice' Jesus who invited the little children onto His lap to bless them.

Oh, but, wait...!

    "And He said to them, You are from beneath; I am from above. You are from this world; I am not from this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins... I have many things to say and to judge concerning you..." (Jn8:23-24,26a)

    "And when He had made a whip out of rope, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, Take these things away from here! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise! ... My house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves." (Jn2:15-16, Lk19:46)

Oh, and, let's go to those "gracious words", and see what happened...
    "And all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words going forth out of His mouth. And they said, Is this not Joseph’s son? And He said to them, You will surely say this proverb to Me, Physician, heal yourself. Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country. And He said, Truly, I say to you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a widow woman. And many lepers were in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian. And all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with rage, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, in order to throw Him down." (Lk4:22-29)
  1. Jesus made claim to 'exclusivity'. Jesus came with not only grace, but "grace and truth" (Jn1:14,17) His words might have been gracIOUS, but they were more importantly, words of -GRACE- mixed with -TRUTH-. And His message included the component that...

  2. If His audience didn't believe into Him, the TRUTH was that they would DIE IN THEIR SINS.

  3. Oh yes, this gracious Jesus also claimed to have many things to JUDGE

  4. What's with this 'whip'? And calling them "thieves". What? 'chu callin' me a liar? You calling me a thief? ...a robber? If his graciousness would not 'break' a bruised reed, what's with all the whipping (the way cattle are driven)?

    And then, the ultimate insult...

  5. You-all hearing my voice right now...you're not -real- Israel. (You're not really Christians) Like Paul says, "for not all those of Israel are Israel" (Ro9:6b) All those famous stories in the OT? Those things happened with foreigners... 'dogs' of the gentiles. As Paul also says of Israel in the wilderness, "But with most of them God was not well pleased, for they were scattered in the wilderness." (1Co10:5)
And so... what did Israel do with Jesus' "gracious" words? They sought to throw Him over the cliff at the edge of town. And ultimately three years later they clamored out, "Crucify Him!" But these were the opening episodes of His ministry. This was how He started. Not much of a way to "win friends and influence people"!

So, yes. DO IT LIKE JESUS DID. As He says...

    "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the Word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My Word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know Him who sent Me... He who hates Me hates My Father also." (Jn15:18-21, 23)
You see... this is the thing most people don't quite catch. The battle is not amongst various Christian 'labels'. The battle is Christian vs the world. Just because they have labels they call themselves, they are NOT -of- Jesus Christ. And if they are not of Jesus, the alternative is the world. Only two choices. They do not know Jesus or the Father. As Jesus goes on next chapter...
    "They will put you out of the synagogues (churches); yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they do not know the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them." (Jn16:2-4)
Just because something is called "church", it is not necessarily the Church of Jesus Christ. And just because they call themselves "christians", does not mean they are Jesus "disciples". (Ac11:26)

And so, if the world clamors for Christians to 'soften' the rhetoric and be more conciliatory, and not cling to doctrine so much...know and understand clearly that they are NOT God's people. No matter how much they "make claims" for Jesus, they are liars and the truth is not in them. (1Jn2:4)

When the early 'church' leaders demanded of the early disciples to tone things down...?

    "For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard" (Ac4:20kjv)
And if the conflict becomes 'desperate'?
    "...resist in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Eph6:13b)
But we cannot... we dare not...
    Shrink back "from declaring...the whole counsel of God" (Ac20:27)
Amen!
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