You’ve heard me say it before, and likely will again, but words have power and meaning. They have started wars, broken relationships, and changed the face of whole nations. And, in modern times, people are rushing to change the definitions of words so that they can control narratives and the way in which people express themselves, because free-expression and thought are a danger to those who desire power and control over others. What does this have to do with following Jesus? Everything.
Jesus is the Word of God. He said very specific and damning things. In the modern religion, people are trying to say “He may have said x, but what he meant was xyz.” They take what Jesus said, and put Him at odds with the rest of Scripture, the Old Testament, the writings of Paul, and other places within Scripture, all so that they can control how others in the Church think and feel and act toward them. They desire to excuse their own fleshly and sinful lifestyles and natures, while condemning others for seeking the truth in God’s word. They seek to diminish the voice of God and elevate themselves. This has been the lie since the serpent spoke to Eve, asking “did God really say…?”
So seek a plain reading of the word of God. What does the Bible actually say, and what is the context of what is said, as opposed to what that social media poster just said? And, yes, even people who claim to be clergy can be wrong, and seek to interpret the Scriptures to justify themselves as opposed to being justified by Christ. When Jesus said we must be born again, He meant what He said, and it is not something that comes from us, but comes when our lives are forfeit to Christ, bought and paid for by His blood, and raised again in His resurrection. We are only free as we submit completely to Christ, crucify our flesh with Him, are buried with Him and raised again in Him. Don’t let the world mince words with you and try and tell you otherwise.
1 Timothy 4
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.
If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.
Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
2 Timothy 4:1-8
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.