A Voice in the
March 22, 1998
Qualities to look for in Bible-believing Church
This, of course, must be based on "rightly dividing the Word of truth...shun[ing] profane and idle babblings."(2Tm2:15-16) Staying away from worldly "wisdom" ...which causes people to "stray concerning the faith."(1Tm6:20-21)
And then, there is the living out of what one preaches. Paul wrote, "you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose," etc.etc. (2Tm3:10)
You essentially answered your own question when you stated "BIBLE BELIEVING." That's the Key. Thus, if God's Word is faithfully taught and preached, then, other things will tend to fall into proper perspective. I hate to say it this way ...but... look at the pastor. (Not that we look at "man" ..but churches tend to "follow" their pastor/s) But...if the pastor is faithfully preaching God's Word...and the people in the church are "happy" with that condition...chances are "better" that it is a "good" church. If the pastor is wishy washy and all watered down, and ecumenical...and the people are happy with that, then you will know there is a lot of rottenness there.
Now, don't be deceived. Don't just take the pastor's word, when he "tells you" he's preaching from God's Word as he's "rarin' back and preachin'" from his KJV Bible. (the Mormons distribute KJV, too) But be a "Berean." Check the Scriptures, yourself, and see if "these things [are] so." (Acts17:11) Make sure the Scripture he's "using" actually says what he's telling you it says...that he's not misappropriating it for his own purposes. There are many preachers that God did not "send."(Jer23:32)
Scripture is the basis and foundation, which centers on Jesus Christ... "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them...for no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (Isa8:20,1Cor3:11)
In a nutshell, generically speaking, that's it. Any specific issues are their own individual cases, I should think.
Ministering to Cross-dressers & sodomites
Please don't take offense to me......I am just looking for wisdom and understanding so I can minister better.
As for websites dealing specifically with this issue...sorry, I don't have personal knowledge of any.
Any Scriptural sites on the matter will condemn it. (Rom1:24-27) As God did to Sodom and Gomorrah. (Gen 19) As He did to the whole earth with Noah's flood. (Gen6:1~) And in the Law He specifically states, "A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God. (Deu 22:5) Because God made them "male and female."(Gen1:27)
All a person can do is show them what God's Word says. There can be no "tolerance" of it as being a "choice" or "lifestyle." Or that God's "grace" accepts them "just as they are." He does not! In God's eyes it is perversion. If a person attempts to claim they are "really" the "other" sex than what they were born into, they are acusing God of making a "mistake" when they were conceived. "But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me like this?" (Rom 9:20)
If they persist in rebellion...the True Believing Christian cannot "fellowship" with them...nor "love them to Christ." Because the Believer "hates with perfect hatred" that which God hates.(Ps139:21-22)
This probably sounds "strong" ...but it is God's Word.
However, there is also a "just" hatred for sin and the sinner. The psalmist said, "Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies."(Ps139:21-22) And then... "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate. (Pr8:13)
What separates us from God is "sin." "But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear." (Isa 59:2)
The passage you refer to is Mark 3:22-30. As Jesus was casting out demons from people the scribes (teachers) attributed His work to Satan. So, Jesus' reply essentially said to them that if this was true, then, satan was divided against himself. But the problem was... they were not reconginzing Jesus' Deity and the fact that He did His works through the Holy Spirit. A different subject.
Such... is NO "apology!"
Wanting to stay alive...not fair?
You are correct. The ones who do not take the mark of the beast will not be able to engage in commerce (buy or sell) (Rev13:17) And those who refuse to bow to the image of the beast will be killed (Rev 13:15) As he is "granted power" to "make war with the saints and to overcome them."(Rev13:7)
The ones who do not bear the "mark" are clothed in white robes.(Rev7:14) and are before the throne of God.(vs15) And whatever suffering they had to go through..God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."(vs17) But it is clear...there will be martyrs to "complete/fulfill" God's plan.(Rev6:11)
As for anyone who receives the mark, the angel proclaims, ""he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." (Rev 14:10-11)
As you can see...there will be no such thing as "receiving the mark" IN ORDER TO "stay alive." If a person does...he has eternally rejected God, and will pay the consequences.
Whether or not it's "fair" (as you say) Jesus put it this way..."If anyone comes to Me and does not hate...his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. "And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. (Lk14:26-27) The cross was an instrument of "death." Paul said it, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me..."(Gal2:20) The early Christians considered themselves "honored" to be "counted worthy to suffer shame for His name."(Acts5:41)
Anybody who claims to come to God during the time of "Jacob's Trouble" will not be counting on "survival" during that time. If he does, he will loose his life for eternity.
Those, today, who claim to be "Christians" and are trying to figure out "how to survive" ...by their very outlook, prove themselves to not be Christ's. They have not trusted in Christ, nor are they looking for the "blessed hope and [His] glorious appearing" (Tit2:13) The word "appearing" being associated with the Church being "caught up together with them in the clouds"(1Ths4:17) ...and being distinctly different from the occasion aproximately seven years later when Jesus will come down to the Mt. of Olives.(Zec14:4)