Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mark 4:23-25 commentary: even that shall be taken away

23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. 25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.

The phrase used in verse 23 is repeated several times in the first few chapters of Revelation. The word, hear, in this context, means to hear with understanding.

Nehemiah 8:2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.

Job 34:16 If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

Proverbs 4:1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

Jeremiah 5:21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:

In verse 24, to mete is clearly defined as to measure out, to dole out, to give out. Look it up. The Lord Jesus Christ did not just demand that the Apostles tell others about how to get saved but;

Matthew 28;19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Teaching all nations would not involve making the Bible a confused mess by not rightly dividing it as called for in 2 Timothy 2:15. Saying things like the Old Testament Jews were looking forward to the Cross when the Jews of the Gospels clearly had no idea what was happening or saying that the Bible is all the same forcing verses in different parts written to different peoples to contradict each other is not teaching anyone anything. You will be held accountable for how you presented God’s word. These verses about parables are about understanding, being willing, having ears, and being willing to give. Denying the final authority of the Bible in all matters of faith, practice, and doctrine while setting up conflicting authorities so that you can be the final authority is not meting out the words of God as He expects you to do.

There are many preachers out there confusing their congregations and making the Bible, if they even have the Bible, a closed book for them and making it difficult to understand. It is enough to deal with the hardness of heart of unbelief without making it tough for those who want to be fed with God’s word. The church is the people of God meeting to worship. The house of God is where God dwells which is in God’s people. The church is not a building or an organization. The house of God is not a building or an organization. God does not come down on a congregation of believers. If He’s not already in them, they are lost, and therefore not His church. There are no angels with wings in the Bible. The Devil is not a fallen angel, he is a cherub, a living creature, reptilian in form, not a chubby little baby. Baptism does not save you. There are no sacraments in the Bible. Salvation is predicated upon belief not works. I have given the verses so many times.

God has given you much. What are you doing with it? Will you be given more or will what you have be taken away? God expects more from you, Christian, than from those who don’t know the truth. These verses are not about material possessions or health literally. There are about your understanding and how you impart the truth of God to others, how you measure it out. If you wonder why so many people come forward in a fundamentalist church service to “get saved” but very few ever darken the door of a church again then think very clearly about what you’ve measured out to them of the truth.

When evangelical churches like the Baptist, the Methodist, and the Presbyterian began replacing God with the government in the 1800’s to make society better and began placing their faith and their frustration in men who ran for political office God took away their understanding, allowed the Bible that saved them to be replaced with counterfeits, and made them spiritually powerless as they grew politically stronger. Satan is the god of this world and the stronger a church becomes politically the weaker it becomes spiritually. It got so that at the end of the Civil War Ulysses Grant said that there were three political parties in the United States to contend with; the Republicans, the Democrats, and the Methodists. The Christians in America were given much but that was taken away. While they were glory-glory-‘hallelujahing’-his-truth-is-marching-on God’s glory was departing.

Also, a significant amount of Americans, a majority even, have never been a member of a church, even in colonial days. The unbelievers derived a great deal of benefit though by the activity of Christians. But, increasingly, as they would not hear and clung to worldly philosophies and godless ideologies from Marx to Darwin to Freud, even that which they had was removed.

In William Jay’s (son of Founding Father and First Chief Justice of the United States, John Jay) 1849 book A Review of the Causes and Consequences of the Mexican War he says on page 289 after an argument about whether or not it was America’s military prowess that made the country great and ensured our freedoms finally concludes, “Were we permitted to trace effects in their causes, in the moral government of the world, we should doubtless find that much of our prosperity as a people flows from the labors of faithful pastors, self-denying Sunday-school teachers, and sincere, zealous, but humble Christian men and women. It is chiefly by such patriotism, gentle and noiseless as the dew of Heaven, that our land is clothed with moral verdure and beauty, and that those who sit under their own vine, with none to make them afraid, are indebted for the peace and security they enjoy.”

Now, the conservative Christian sends out emails to his or her friends equating the soldier to Jesus Christ and doesn’t feel that that is blasphemous. I know and respect a lot of service people and former service people but they are not sinless nor are they God in the flesh and I don’t know of one who joined the service with the intention of dying for my sins.

The liberal Christian lost his way long ago. President Obama, in his famous and classic “Call to Renewal” speech lamented how the left had forgotten that all of the great liberals of the past where Christians. He said, “…there are some liberals who dismiss religion in the public square as inherently irrational or intolerant, insisting on a caricature of religious Americans that paints them as fanatical, or thinking that the very word "Christian" describes one's political opponents, not people of faith…..secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.”

The left has abandoned the faith that inspired them because the activist Christians viewed the government of man as God’s agent on earth and lost their way.

Both right and left were given something to start with, a belief in the power and reality of Jesus Christ, whether they believed Him to be merely a great teacher of morals and not God in the flesh as Thomas Jefferson believed or whether they believed that Christ is the Lord as Andrew Jackson believed. But, as the left looked more to government programs and the right looked more to war and military power as the “strong arm of the Lord” the spiritual power of the nation waned until now you’d be hard pressed to get an unchurched person to even enter a church except out of morbid curiosity.

Gone are the days when revivals would sweep a city and leave it changed for months, when even the most godless reprobates suddenly became more civil and more civilized, when in a city like New York hundreds of thousands would come to Christ through the Fulton Street Revival in a period of 18 months. God moved in a period of time that was cold for faith. Slavery divided the country on the brink of Civil War. There were 30,000 unemployed, homeless men in the streets of New York. Alcoholism and crime were rampant. A young minister began to pray by himself in 1857 and within a matter of months revivals had broken out around the city joined by men and women to the tune of 50,000. Within that 18 month span some people estimate a million people were saved.

It’s gone. God has taken the glory away from America. We traded that glory for our 30 pieces of silver. America is now Babylon and God is judging it. Read Revelation if you wonder what part America will play in the end. Why? Because of homosexuals? Abortionists? Drunks and drug addicts? Hardly. The glory has left America because Christians left the Bible and the God of the Bible. They traded their birthright for some bread and lentil soup like Esau and God’s hand of mercy and blessing is being pulled away from this country. Evangelical Christians stopped believing in the Divine Right of God and started believing in the Divine Right of the State. Now, both left and right go to the polls and try to vote for a messiah and/or a national pastor. The left no longer believes in any god but their own good intentions and their own carnal desires and the right has chosen the god of war, Mars, and the Syriac word for money personified, Mammon, as their deities of choice. And even the little faith we have is being taken away from us as we speak.

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