Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 8:52 a.m. – When I sat down to have my quiet time with the Lord Jesus this morning he put the song “I Do Not Seal My Lips” in my mind. Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalms 79 (NIV). The Nations The “nations” can also be defined as the Gentiles, the people or the heathen. Basically this is referring to the ungodly, i.e. to those who do not believe in the God of the Bible. Translated to today this means all those who are of this sinful world and who do not trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. The ungodly have thus invaded the Lord’s inheritance, they have defiled his holy temple, and they have reduced the Holy City to rubble. So, how can this be translated to today, i.e. to the Messianic age? First of all, the Lord’s inheritance is his possession or his heritage. In Old Testament times, the people and the land of Israel were God’s inheritance, the temple was a building constructed by human hands but by God’s design and direction and for his purpose. Within that temple was the Holy of Holies in which was contained the Ark of the Covenant, in which was the Spirit of God. And, the Holy City was Jerusalem, a physical city. Yet, since Jesus Christ died for our sins, was resurrected, ascended to heaven, and sent his Spirit to indwell the hearts and lives of his followers, we, Christ’s followers, have become God’s inheritance (See Eph. 1:14; 1 Pet. 2:9). The temple of God is now the body of Christ, the individual and collective body of believers in Jesus Christ, called the Church (See 1 Co. 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Co. 6:16). And we are the Holy City in which God dwells - the New Jerusalem (See Matt. 5:14-16; Gal. 4:24-31; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 3:12; 11:2; 20:9; 21:2). I think we can easily wrap our minds around the concept of nations invading a physical city and defiling a physical temple, but how does this apply to today? First off, to invade means to attack, occupy, conquer, assault, take possession or overrun; and/or it can mean to infect – contaminate, pollute, poison, dirty, corrupt, defile, pervert and/or to influence. In doing so, the ungodly reduce or diminish God’s holy people to wreckage; ruins. So, how do they do this? How do they take possession, influence, corrupt, pervert and/or defile us? Invited In First of all, I believe the church of today in America has invited the ungodly to invade and to defile us. “How so?” you may ask. Well, for one, when the institutional church invited the government to partner with them via the 501c3 non-profit corporation status for tax exemption, they invited the U.S. worldly government to be head over the church, and they gave the government permission to set rules for what the church can and cannot do; say and cannot say, so that the government serves in the position as head of the institutional church in place of Christ. Don’t believe me? Check it out. The government presently stipulates what cannot be said from the pulpit in one area that I know of, but I believe that is expanding, which means a pastor cannot say what God tells him to say if the government says it is off limits. And, this control is continuing to grow to cover even more territory. They also invited government worship within the church. In most all institutional churches I have ever attended, an American flag sits at the front of the sanctuary to one side of the pulpit or the other, right up front for all to see. Both in school and in church we were taught (from the 1950’s on) to pledge (vow, give oath, promise, and guarantee) allegiance (loyalty, commitment, adherence, faithfulness, fidelity, and duty) to the government of the U.S.A.; and with hand over our hearts (emotion, mind, soul, spirit, empathy, courage, and resolution). Where in scripture does it teach that we should worship our human government in such a way? Nowhere! This type of “pledge of allegiance” coming from our hearts is reserved for our Lord God and Jesus Christ only! So, not unlike what took place during the rise of Hitler, we have been brainwashed that the U.S. government and the U.S. military are the good guys to be “worshipped” as our “savior” from tyranny and oppression and to be given our praise for protecting our “freedoms.” Yet, do we really know the history of the U.S. government, or do we pay attention to all the idolatrous symbols of foreign gods within our nation’s buildings and even in the layout of our capital city? Do we check out the associations of those who call themselves “Christians” to see if they are involved in any kind of Satanic cult worship? Do we even question what our military is doing in all these various countries throughout the world? Are we sure they are protecting our freedoms? If they are, then why was the NDAA 2014 signed into law? Not only have we invited in the US government and government worship into the church, which is idolatry, but the institutional church in America has invited in the teachings of humans via all these books on church growth that have been written, and all the humanistic marketing schemes for attracting large crowds of unbelievers into the church via worldly and even sinful methods designed to attract the ungodly, but to what? And, not only that, but we are inviting the ungodly into our times of worship and fellowship with the body of Christ. How can darkness have fellowship with light or light with darkness? It cannot! We are not supposed to invite the unsaved into the fellowship of believers except by invitation to faith in Jesus Christ whereby they then become believers in Christ and are joined with us in the body of Christ. We, as Christ’s body, have been instructed to come out from the world and to be separate, but instead we invite all the ungodly and their ungodly ways into the church to influence, pervert, corrupt and defile us. And, it worked! The Result Ungodly movies, music and methods have been brought into the church to attract the ungodly to the institutional church, but not to the God of scripture and not to true salvation via Jesus Christ, our Lord. The church has embraced the world and worldly methods so much that it is barely distinguishable between those who say they are Christians and those who are not. Much of the church is not shining the light of the gospel to the world, but the world is influencing God’s people toward sin. Consciences have been seared and the new way of the world has become so commonplace that most people who call themselves Christians here in America barely notice anymore, I suspect. Many who have been brought up this way don’t know there is another way, i.e. the way of holiness. Christianity, paganism and idolatry are smoothly blended together with hardly a crack in between. And so we are objects of contempt to our neighbors, of scorn and derision to those around us. Not only that, but in the process, the gospel has been diluted to something that barely resembles the gospel taught by the apostles. I believe very much that scripture teaches that it is by the grace of God we are saved, through faith in Jesus Christ, and that salvation is a free gift from God and is not of ourselves, i.e. not of human works lest any of us should boast that we earned or deserved our own salvation. We cannot and we do not! Nonetheless, “faith” is not an emotional feeling or decision nor is it an intellectual assent to something or an acknowledgement that something is true, nor is it even a desire for something to happen. James said that even the demons believe, and they shudder. Thus, I believe where the gospel gets diluted and sidetracked and perverted is not so much in the teaching of God’s grace and Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice for our sins on a cross, but in the understanding of the word faith and what it means to believe, for we are saved, not just by God’s grace, but also by our faith, which I believe is also a gift of God. So, if faith is also required for salvation, then we need to understand what it means to believe. There is much teaching on this subject in the New Testament (See Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-25; Ac. 26:16-18; Rom. 6; 1 John 1-5; Gal. 2:20; & Titus 2:11-14, for example). What these scriptures teach us is that faith in Christ means that we die to our old way of living for sin and self, and we are transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from sin and self to following Jesus Christ in full submission and surrender to his will for our lives. No longer should our flesh rule supreme, but we hand over authority of our lives to Christ Jesus for him to live his life out through us. None of this can be accomplished in our flesh, but only by the working of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives, as we cooperate with that work. In other words, faith does not mean we become puppets on a string controlled by God and we no longer have control over what we do or don’t do. Every day we must yield to the control of the Spirit of God in our lives and choose to follow his ways over our flesh. Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer / Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer, This is my constant longing and prayer; Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures, Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear. Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion, Loving, forgiving, tender and kind, Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting, Seeking the wandering sinner to find. O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit, Holy and harmless, patient and brave; Meekly enduring cruel reproaches, Willing to suffer others to save. O to be like Thee! while I am pleading, Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love; Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling, Fit me for life and Heaven above. Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee, Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art; Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness; Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.