Pastors Report - 12 Dec 2018

Frail Men - Leading Nowhere!

For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed." (Isaiah 9:16)

Who is This?

I wonder if you can guess who was the writer of the following rather traditional 'christian' explanation? It was written by a well known individual in his early youth under the rather untidy title, " Unity of believers in Christ according to the Gospel of John 15:1-14: Unity’s meaning, unconditional necessity, and influence." ....

"Union with Christ is found in a close and living fellowship with Him and in the fact that we always have Him before our eyes and in our hearts. And at the same time that we are possessed by the greatest love of Him, we direct our hearts to our brothers, with whom He bound us closely, and for whom He sacrificed Himself. ... Therefore, unity with Christ internally exalts, comforts in trials, and makes the heart open to love people, not because of our pride or thirst for fame, but because of Christ."

Although you would not think it, the author of the above passage was actually Jewish in ancestry – the son of two Jewish parents – with rabbis on both sides, going back many generations. However, at the time it was written he was attending a 'christian' school. His father had nominally converted from Judaism to the Protestant denomination of Lutheranism just before the writer was born, to continue working as an attorney in Prussia after an edict excluded Jews from the legal profession in the early 1800s. The name of the writer was Karl Marx. And as you almost certainly know, he later went on with Friedrich Engels to write a political manuscript that has influenced several billion people across the world for well over a century: The Communist Manifesto. Yet, as you can see, it seems he was not always such a virulent atheist!

Human Ideas Change:

The thing to keep in mind when reading the above example, is just how transitory our frail human ideas really are. As Heraclitus – a Greek philosopher of around 500 BC – observed, "You cannot look twice at the same river; for fresh waters are ever flowing in." For it is only when we firmly grasp the truism – that in this physical world the only thing constant is change – do we begin to see through so many firmly held, but merely human, beliefs and practices. From Hitler's Mein Kampf, to Chairman Mao Tse-tung's Little Red Book, to the ideas of Sigmund Freud and the economics of John Maynard Keynes to Charles Darwin's book, "On the origin of species" – they all hold one thing in common: they remain founded on the shifting sands of concepts of men.

Yet that does not lessen their influence and effect. For example, there have been – and are today – some incredibly detrimental changes that are taking place within our western society – orchestrated very much by the ideas that flow from Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto. The level of change here has been absolutely astounding - destroying our families, business and culture at an unprecedented rate. But, as we can see from the above quote, Karl Marx's ideas must have undergone some quite profound destruction themselves - compared to his original thinking – before arriving at the conclusion in 1843 that, "Man makes religion, religion does not make man. ... Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."

Traditional Religion:

It appears that Marx saw through the shell of traditional religious thought. Traditional religion – as practised by the world – is indeed the opium of the people, and it's understandable that it is rejected by thinking individuals. Such religions are largely man-made – to the degree they divert from the Biblical standard – but in just the same way, so is Marxism. Marxism too is just one more failed human system. Note what Lenin expressed about the Soviet state – run entirely on Marxist lines – in his Report to The Central Committee Of The The Eleventh Congress held in Moscow 27th March 1922:...

"Well, we have lived through a year, the state is in our hands; but has it operated the New Economic Policy in the way we wanted in this past year? No. But we refuse to admit that it did not operate in the way we wanted. How did it operate? The machine refused to obey the hand that guided it. It was like a car that was going not in the direction the driver desired, but in the direction someone else desired; as if it were being driven by some mysterious, lawless hand ..."

His Personal Life:

Did Marxism give Marx what he was looking for? We only need peek at the personal tragedy in his life to see it did not. Of his 7 children, only 3 daughters survived to adulthood .... and then two of them and a son-in-law ended their lives in suicide. When his young son, Musch, died, Marx told Engels, “I’ve already had my share of bad luck, but only now do I know what real unhappiness is. I feel ­broken down.” Having left his "opium of the people" what was left? His helpless feelings can be seen in stark clarity when he finally faced his own death: He then wrote to Engels in March 1883, "How purposeless and empty life is, but how desired". A futile end based on a futile philosophy that over the past century has caused untold suffering across the world – and still does today - even here in our own societies. Well did God write:

  • Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.
  • Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.
  • For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2:11-13)
The World's True Rock:

And yet, there is hope. Marx was a Jew and as the One who became Jesus Christ – the Eternal – says to the Jewish nation:

  • For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you [a future and a hope].
  • Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
  • And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
  • And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive. (Jeremiah 29:11-14)

What these people will need at that time – and what we in God's church should now be learning – is something radically different from any ideas of mere men. After all, a slightly modified version of Marxism, Republicanism, Liberalism – or any other 'ism – would remain rooted in the sands of human frailty with the only constant being change. This is why Christ says what He does – not mincing His words – as He closes the sermon on the Mount:

  • Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
  • And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
  • And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
  • And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
  • And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
  • For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:24-29)
The Spirit of the Law:

What He had been saying just prior to this section of Scripture was to outline the new covenant application of God's law. It was to convey the principal, the very spirit behind the word of God – that would then apply to every facet of our existence – indelibly writing those words in the inward parts, on the very heart as is described in Jeremiah:

  • Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
  • Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
  • But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  • And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

The application of these words into daily life is likened by Jesus Christ to a rock-solid foundation – because the words involved are not from any human source. Anything less is no better than Marx. But these words are not merely another 'ism rooted in the sands of human frailty as the myriad of alternatives are. The Source itself is utterly rock-solid. It doesn't change. It remains the same yesterday, today – and forever (Hebrews 13:8) And it is THAT word that not only needs to be found within our hearts – as God's people – but its application clearly evident in our daily lives as well ... ready within our mouths to be effectively taught when the time comes, because being called at this time is for that incredible responsibility, and not merely for our own benefit.

Teaching God's Words:

From the very beginning, God's desire and plan was for His way of life to be taught within the family, from generation to generation. This can be clearly seen in Deuteronomy chapter 6 – and remember, that the words being referred to here have not come from a man. Once again they have been generated by that rock-solid Source that, unlike man, does not need to change:

  • And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
  • And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
  • And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.(Deuteronomy 6:6,7)

The priesthood also was raised up for that very purpose – to guide and teach the people – once again using this rock-solid Source of God's word. And what are we, in God's church today, but kings and priests in training:

  • And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the LORD of hosts.
  • My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name.
  • The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.
  • For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge , and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts . (Malachi 2:4-7)
A Kings Responsibility:

King David realised, that as a king, one of his primary responsibilities was to teach his people – using not his own words, but once again this rock-solid Source:

  • Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.
  • Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,
  • I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
  • I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.
  • I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. (Psalm 40:6-10)

Old Testament Israel would have benefited incredibly, albeit just physically, if they had indeed passed on the law, the statues and judgements to their children. But their hearts were not in tune with God ... they were unconverted. But to us today, spiritual Israel, we have been given the promise that if we receive the love of the truth, then not only will we be teachers in the coming Kingdom of God, but so will our "seed"...our children and grandchildren:

  • As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever. (Isaiah 59:21)
The White Throne Judgement:

Each year we close the Holy Day season with the Last Great Day. This final festival pictures the time when the majority of this world will have their first chance to understand God's Truth – yes, including the followers of Marxism and Leninism ... and every other 'ism in the world – including those today who are being led by the nose to their end-time destruction. All will eventually rise in the Judgement and at long last be given their real God-designed hope and purpose in life. It's then that they will at last be shown the only true hope and purpose they have been searching for in futility – taught finally by the teachers God is currently training through His Plan:

  • Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
  • Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
  • And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
  • And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD. (Ezekiel 37:11-14)

Teacher training – it is a job that starts in the family....teaching our little children the right way of life, so they can teach theirs, and then, if our hearts are right, we are then able to teach within the millennial rule, then the Judgement Period ... and eventually out into eternity and to whatever reality God determines there will be. But the word being taught – the word found within our mouths – must not be our own, nor those of any mere man, but those words that form the rock-solid foundation of Almighty God, and words that will bring – at long last – real stability to mankind.

  • The LORD is exalted; for he dwelleth on high: he hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.
  • And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure. (Isaiah 33:5,6)
  • And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.(Isaiah 51:16)