Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 6:26 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Wait!” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Colossians 2:8-23 (ESV). Not Captive See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. We have a very serious problem in today’s church here in America in that human teachings and traditions have superseded the Word of God and God’s divine character and will for his people, the church. On the side of tradition, the most grievous, I believe, is this idea that the church is a building and/or an organization or corporation of human origin, and that when we enter some building, built by human hands, that we are somehow entering God’s holy presence, and that we are to think of that building as holy ground and as “God’s house.” Tradition also dictates that we must meet in such a building with such a corporation, usually on Sunday mornings, or else we are considered as “unchurched.” So, what’s the big problem here? Well, for one, these corporations are underneath the authority of the federal government of the USA (via the 501c3), which is an evil entity, and is of Satan and of the occult. Don’t believe me? Check out our national symbols, buildings, architecture, statues, and layout of D.C. Much of them are pagan and/or Satanic, of the occult, and/or are patterned after Roman, Greek and Egyptian gods and goddesses. Within 20 years of the declaration of Independence, a treaty was made and a law was passed which stated that the US “is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli. The treaty also stated that the government of the US has “no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility of Muslims.” As well, we are taught in this institutional church to worship the US government via our pledge of allegiance to the US flag. A pledge is a vow or an oath. Where in scripture are we taught to take oaths of allegiance to ungodly governments? We are to obey them, with biblical exceptions, i.e. unless they ask us to disobey God. But, we are not to bow to them in worship and with unquestioning devotion and loyalty. “Allegiance” is loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity, devotion, and steadfastness. Is this not what God requires of us, his servants, toward him? YES! And, we are not to give this kind of allegiance to any other but God. So, this institutional church has divided loyalties, and I can tell you from personal experience that many see their loyalty and allegiance to country on the same level as their allegiance to God, as though they are somehow worshiping God by having such devotion to their government, and yet I see Christians in America often much more passionate about allegiance to country than they are passionate about God and their allegiance to him. So, what this does is set up the church to follow humans, human traditions and government, and to see this institutional church and these corporations as “God’s house” where we enter God’s “holy presence.” So, Christians end up following after lies and deceptions, and they end up accepting what is ungodly as godly, because that is how it is packaged and has been taught them from birth. This has also opened the door wide within the church for so many false teachings, and for the church to adopt the ways of the world and of big business with their human marketing schemes (tricks, conniving) in order to attract the world into the meetings of the “church.” So, the meetings of the church are now largely patterned after the ways of this sinful world so that the world will want to come to the meetings and will feel “at home.” What is wrong with this picture? So, they must dilute the gospel message to make it more appealing, less offensive, and more comfortable and acceptable to the world, which is no gospel at all, and it gives people a false hope. So, what is the truth here which we must follow? For one, the church is not a building, not a corporation and not an organization of human origin, and it is not underneath the authority of the federal government of the USA. A building, called “church,” is also not the house of God, and when we enter that building, we are not entering God’s holy presence. We are not guilty of forsaking the assembling of ourselves just because we don’t attend the meetings of these human corporations, underneath the federal government, which worship an ungodly government, which have divided loyalties, and which are largely following man over God. The true church is the body of Christ, his true followers. We are the temple of God. God lives in us in the person of the Holy Spirit. When we enter into our times of prayer and in the study of the word we are thus entering God’s holy presence. We are his sanctuary. His Word, not human marketing schemes and humanistic teaching, is our rule book for life, and it is what teaches us how God wants us, his children, to live. Jesus Christ is our head, not the government, and our pledge of allegiance should be to him, and to him alone. The church can meet together any day of the week and at any location, and it is the church, if we are meeting in the name of Jesus, according to his purposes and his directives. He is the only one we are to follow, and his Word is what we are to teach. Jesus died, not just so we can go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. A Shadow Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. The Old Testament temple and many of the ceremonial laws under the Old Covenant were just a shadow of things to come, i.e. they were physical figures or representations of what is spiritual. In other words, under the Old Covenant, the physical temple, altar, sacrifices, ceremonial laws, etc. were physical representations of what is now purely spiritual in nature, i.e. we now worship God in spirit and in truth, we are the temple, the holy of holies now dwells within us, and the sacrifices now which God requires are those of our lives given over to God, holy and pleasing to him. Circumcision is now of the heart, not of the skin of man. So, we are no longer under those Old Covenant rules and regulations and ceremonial laws. Yet, many Christians are still holding on to those traditions, some of which are not bad in and of themselves, unless one feels he must do these things in order to be saved or in order to be in conformity with God’s will and purposes for his church, and/or if he tries to inflict those beliefs on others who have been set free from all that. For instance, there is nothing wrong with the church meeting on a Sunday morning or in a building. What is wrong, besides all the things stated in the previous section of this writing, is when the church tries to inflict these types of things on others who believe that we, as the body of Christ, should come out from “Babylon” and be separate, so that we don’t share in her sins, and who also believe that we don’t have to go to a specific building on a specific day in order for us to be meeting together with the church. So, for us, we should not allow others to judge us wrongly because we are following the teachings under the New Covenant, and we no longer hold to many of those old traditions which have been passed down from generation to generation. We should also not let anyone disqualify (condemn, decide against) us because we don’t participate in these corporations of men, in their idolatry, false worship, and in their oaths to ungodly governments, or because we hold to the truths of scripture with regard to the gospel of our salvation as taught by Jesus and by the apostles. Many of these institutions of church are deciding against true followers of Christ, and are casting us aside because we don’t fit with their marketing schemes and business plans and goals for how to build their businesses, which they call “church,” and because we expose lies and teach truth. They call us disunifiers, intolerant, outdated, judgmental, trouble makers, and the like. They don’t want us to meet with them, anyway, because we might make someone uncomfortable, and they may not come back, because we teach death to sin and living to righteousness, and because we oppose the lies and deceptions being passed down as truth, and the false teachings which have infiltrated the institutional church. They are also quite willing to help us find someplace else to meet with the church where we will be a “better fit.” Yet, we should not let their condemnation of us or their exclusion and rejection of us to lead us to fear, or to be afraid to follow the Lord, thinking somehow God has abandoned us, too, or that God is limited by what man does or does not do. God is completely sovereign over our lives, and he has a plan and a purpose for us, even when humans reject us. Also, their rejection of us does not mean God cannot use us. God still has a place for each one of us within his body (his whole body across the globe), and he will still use us within the body of Christ for his purposes, if we are willing, and if we are obedient. We should never return to following after human flesh, whether our own or that of others, out of fear or pressure that, if we do not, that we are somehow not in God’s will or that we are being disobedient to God. We should stand strong on the truth of God’s word, and not let humans intimidate us and to pressure us into doing what we know is wrong. None of their human-based traditions and teachings have any power or value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Wait! / An Original Work / February 8, 2014 Wait for your Lord. Be of courage. Be strong, and take heart today. God is always watching o’er you. Trust Him with your life always. Sing of your Lord. Praise His blessings. Believe in His sovereignty. He delivered you from your sin; Gave you life eternally. Rest in your Lord. Know His promise. Beneath His wings rest secure. Your God has a plan and purpose. Let your faith in Him endure. Trust in your Lord. He’ll not leave you, Because He is faithfulness. He will lead and guide; protect you. In His love you can find rest.