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Loyal
Friday, May 6, 2016, 6:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “My Sheep.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 13 (ESV).

Governing Authorities (vv. 1- 7)

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

We should subject ourselves to governing authorities unless what they are asking us to do goes against God’s laws and against his commands to his followers. God’s laws always trump man’s laws, in other words. We see this exemplified for us in the lives of Jesus and his apostles. Jesus followed the law of love rather than strict adherence to religious forms and traditions of men. The apostles would not stop preaching in Jesus’ name, although they had been commanded to keep silent. They said, “We must obey God rather than men.”

I see one other area, as well, where we must make a distinction between following God and following man, and that is in the context of the institutional church here in America, which is subject to the 501c3 not-for-profit incorporation status under the US government. Under the 501c3 the church is under the headship of the US government instead of Christ, because the government dictates what the church can or cannot do, and it is only going to get much worse. God did not call his church, which is a living organism and a spiritual entity to come under the headship of the US government. Jesus Christ is to be her only head!

I believe the reference in Revelation 18:4-5 can be applied to the institutional church here in America, though not limited to that for certain. I believe the Lord is calling to his people to come out of her so that we do not share in her sins. The church, the body of Christ, needs to bring herself back under the Lordship of Christ and remove herself from the headship of the government, for the US government is not of God, but of Satan. And, the institutional church is encouraging government worship via the pledge of fidelity to the government via the pledge to the flag, and via the singing of patriotic songs in the church.

Check out the layout of Washington, D.C. Look at all its buildings and statues, which are patterned after Roman, Greek and Egyptian gods and goddesses. Look into the history of our government in relation to the Free Masons, and look into its Satanic roots, too.

Also, listen to the president’s speeches with regard to religion and faith and with regard to religious extremism. What he is promoting is the same as what the pope is promoting, and that is a one-world government and a one-world religion where we all join hands together in harmony with people of all faiths, and we remove our barriers and what divides us as the people of the world. If we hold to the truths of scripture, and we preach the full gospel message, we are being tagged as intolerant, bigoted, and hateful, and we must be stopped.

Love Each Other (vv. 8-10)

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Agape love is not the same as human love. It is based in God and in what he prefers rather than based in human emotion and human desire. If we say that we love someone, we are not going to lie to that person or cheat on him or commit sin against or with him or her. And, yet many Christians do exactly that, and all in the name of “love,” too. They ignore sin in one another, rather than confront it, and they will sit and watch moral filth on TV and in movies together, and they call that friendship and companionship. They see forgiveness as turning a blind eye to a brother’s sin, rather than as an opportunity to help lift that sister or brother out of sin to restoration and renewal of his or her relationship with God. Yet, when God forgives, he does not leave us still floundering in sin. He delivers, restores and he renews us in faith in him, and he puts us on a solid rock on which we can now stand.

Agape love, in other words, sometimes involves what we call “tough love.” It is when we have to make hard choices, which may get us hated and rejected by others, because it is what is best for the one we are loving. Sometimes parents have to kick adult children out of the home because the children refuse to obey the parents and to submit to their authority, and/or because the children are putting other members of the family in harm’s way. We must remember here that God disciplines those he loves, so we must not fear correction when it is necessary. The most loving thing we can do for others is to tell them the truth, and to not let them do what is harmful to themselves or to others, as much as is within our power to do so. Saying “No” to someone may be the best thing for him or her, in other words. As well, we may have to remove ourselves from the lives of those who are pulling us down spiritually or who are leading us into sin, because love does no harm to its neighbor.

Wake from Sleep (vv. 11-14)

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

It is popular in today’s modern church movement to preach a half-truth gospel, which is a lie. Yet, it does teach the death and resurrection of Christ, and that Jesus died to take away the sins of the world. It teaches that it is by God’s grace we are saved, through faith – and this not from ourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast (Eph. 2:8-9). It teaches, as well, that through faith in Jesus Christ, we have forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life with God both now and forevermore. These are true things.

What it does not teach, nonetheless, is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. It does not teach that believing in Jesus Christ means death to our old lives of living for sin and self, and being resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. It does not teach that Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us, or that he died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh, but who conduct our lives according to the Spirit. It does not teach that if we walk according to the flesh that we will die, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live. It also does not teach that if we say we have fellowship with God, and yet we walk in darkness (in sinful lifestyles) that we are liars, and the truth is not in us.

It also does not teach repentance for forgiveness of sins, although Jesus and his apostles taught that. It also does not teach obedience to God’s commands, although the Bible clearly teaches that if we continue in sin, or if we do not obey God’s commands, then we don’t know God, and he does not live in us and us in him. Now, I don’t believe scripture teaches that we must keep the law 100%, i.e. that we must live in sinless perfection, but it does clearly teach that a saved life is a life transformed of the Spirit of God and that this transformation of the Spirit is evidenced in our submission and obedience to our Lord. If we have not changed, and if we continue living for sin and self without regard for God/Christ and for his instructions to us in holy living, chances are pretty good we are not really saved.

So, we must be discerning about these things, and test whatever we hear against the word of God and against what we know of God’s divine character and will for us, his followers. This goes to the issue of obeying governing authorities, which includes under what circumstances we are to obey or not obey. It also goes to the issue of loving others with agape love, and us doing no harm to our neighbors. And, it goes to the issue of us making no provision for the flesh, so that we do not gratify sinful desires. This is an issue which has as its root a proper understanding of why we are saved to begin with, which is not just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die, but in order that we might die to sin and live to righteousness while we still walk the face of this earth. So, be discerning. Know what the will of God is, and do it. And, do not follow strangers (thieves and liars), but run away from them!

My Sheep / An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV

My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.

So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.

Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…

They know my voice, so they follow me.

 
Loyal
Friday, May 6, 2016, 6:30 a.m.

I see one other area, as well, where we must make a distinction between following God and following man, and that is in the context of the institutional church here in America, which is subject to the 501c3 not-for-profit incorporation status under the US government. Under the 501c3 the church is under the headship of the US government instead of Christ, because the government dictates what the church can or cannot do, and it is only going to get much worse. God did not call his church, which is a living organism and a spiritual entity to come under the headship of the US government. Jesus Christ is to be her only head!
This is one that has bothered me for years. Every assembly that I have ever attended regularly as home "church" has been subject to that 501c3 status. A few ministers have once in a great while mentioned the hold that this gives government authority over them... but no one with any authority in the church has seriously considered getting out from under it. One day probably a few church buildings will be lost because they refuse to change their stand on some issues supported by secular authorities. I say "few" because, most groups will probably change their stand on some issues rather than face losing the physical tax exempt facilities. Many small churches, like the one I attend, probably could not afford to pay the property taxes.

When I was still working full-time (15 years ago) I occasionally had to deal with ministers and their special income tax and Social Security tax exemptions. These were usually established under IRS regulations but since many of them affected a person's earnings for Social Security purposes I had to deal with them as well. This grew in me to a conflict which helped lead me to taking an early retirement.

 
Loyal
This is one that has bothered me for years. Every assembly that I have ever attended regularly as home "church" has been subject to that 501c3 status. A few ministers have once in a great while mentioned the hold that this gives government authority over them... but no one with any authority in the church has seriously considered getting out from under it. One day probably a few church buildings will be lost because they refuse to change their stand on some issues supported by secular authorities. I say "few" because, most groups will probably change their stand on some issues rather than face losing the physical tax exempt facilities. Many small churches, like the one I attend, probably could not afford to pay the property taxes.

When I was still working full-time (15 years ago) I occasionally had to deal with ministers and their special income tax and Social Security tax exemptions. These were usually established under IRS regulations but since many of them affected a person's earnings for Social Security purposes I had to deal with them as well. This grew in me to a conflict which helped lead me to taking an early retirement.

Thank you @amadeus2 - I appreciate your response. A few years ago I read these articles. I don't remember what they said, but thought I would include them here in case you are interested in reading them. Obviously, I make no endorsement for what the authors stated, but from what I remember of them, I believe they were informative.

501c3: Facts about 501c3 tax-exempt status for the church

History Of 501c3 Government Licensing Of Churches
 
Loyal
This is one that has bothered me for years. Every assembly that I have ever attended regularly as home "church" has been subject to that 501c3 status. A few ministers have once in a great while mentioned the hold that this gives government authority over them... but no one with any authority in the church has seriously considered getting out from under it. One day probably a few church buildings will be lost because they refuse to change their stand on some issues supported by secular authorities. I say "few" because, most groups will probably change their stand on some issues rather than face losing the physical tax exempt facilities. Many small churches, like the one I attend, probably could not afford to pay the property taxes.

When I was still working full-time (15 years ago) I occasionally had to deal with ministers and their special income tax and Social Security tax exemptions. These were usually established under IRS regulations but since many of them affected a person's earnings for Social Security purposes I had to deal with them as well. This grew in me to a conflict which helped lead me to taking an early retirement.

I agree with you that things are going to get much worse for the institutional (501c3) church as the government is putting more and more pressure on the church to conform with them, and when they don't, very well we may see some of them losing their buildings and properties. But, I see this as a good thing for the church, because it will force many of them to come out from under the hold the government has on them, and will bring them to the place of revival and to where they make Jesus their only head. But, I agree that many will compromise and will choose the government over Christ, at least temporarily until their eyes are opened and they see what is really going on here. This is going to separate the "sheep from the goats" as those who claim to believe in Jesus will have to make a choice whom they will serve, but I see revival of the church coming out of this, so that is a good thing.
 
Loyal
I agree with you that things are going to get much worse for the institutional (501c3) church as the government is putting more and more pressure on the church to conform with them, and when they don't, very well we may see some of them losing their buildings and properties. But, I see this as a good thing for the church, because it will force many of them to come out from under the hold the government has on them, and will bring them to the place of revival and to where they make Jesus their only head. But, I agree that many will compromise and will choose the government over Christ, at least temporarily until their eyes are opened and they see what is really going on here. This is going to separate the "sheep from the goats" as those who claim to believe in Jesus will have to make a choice whom they will serve, but I see revival of the church coming out of this, so that is a good thing.
Sometimes difficulties are necessary to make people see the Light that was there all of the time. As you say, "separate the sheep from the goats". The end is close and the time for half-measures is not now. Any fair weather friends will have to be leaving, while those who really do love God, cannot be hiding it under a bushel even for a moment. God has always been patient, but I believe too many people are trying His patience to their own regret.

We, people that is, want to have 'fun' in the world and still receive all the blessings and rewards that God has promised. This double-mindedness has been allowed and may be allowed a bit longer, but time really is running out for anyone who is not paying close attention.

The trials are hitting me close to where I live. My wife's health, never real good, has recently moved toward making her an invalid, at least temporarily, but that is only the physical. We refuse to accept the disability of our bodies as the end of our walk with God. People need to listen to what God is saying.

Your messages on this forum have frequently been sharply in focus regarding the foolishness not only of men in general but also of men who know or have known God.

It is well past time to wake up and smell the coffee. People want to believe that once they have been saved they are always saved. That would make them better than the children of Israel that God saved from their bondage in Egypt. Is God one who treat one better than another?

Throughout their time in the wilderness the Israelites murmured and complained because things weren't like they thought they should be. They actually yearned for their times of slavery in Egypt. They forgot the blessings of God. They forgot the salvation of God. That is where too many... (should I have said most?)... are today. How many chances to please God are too many as we repeatedly return from Him back to our own vomit?

More than church buildings will be lost. Much more! The question is: What is it that people really value the most? A little time for 'fun' in this world or an eternity with the One we are supposed to love? The ones who really love Him will show it and will receive all that He has for them.

Give God glory!
 
Loyal
Sometimes difficulties are necessary to make people see the Light that was there all of the time. As you say, "separate the sheep from the goats". The end is close and the time for half-measures is not now. Any fair weather friends will have to be leaving, while those who really do love God, cannot be hiding it under a bushel even for a moment. God has always been patient, but I believe too many people are trying His patience to their own regret.

We, people that is, want to have 'fun' in the world and still receive all the blessings and rewards that God has promised. This double-mindedness has been allowed and may be allowed a bit longer, but time really is running out for anyone who is not paying close attention.

The trials are hitting me close to where I live. My wife's health, never real good, has recently moved toward making her an invalid, at least temporarily, but that is only the physical. We refuse to accept the disability of our bodies as the end of our walk with God. People need to listen to what God is saying.

Your messages on this forum have frequently been sharply in focus regarding the foolishness not only of men in general but also of men who know or have known God.

It is well past time to wake up and smell the coffee. People want to believe that once they have been saved they are always saved. That would make them better than the children of Israel that God saved from their bondage in Egypt. Is God one who treat one better than another?

Throughout their time in the wilderness the Israelites murmured and complained because things weren't like they thought they should be. They actually yearned for their times of slavery in Egypt. They forgot the blessings of God. They forgot the salvation of God. That is where too many... (should I have said most?)... are today. How many chances to please God are too many as we repeatedly return from Him back to our own vomit?

More than church buildings will be lost. Much more! The question is: What is it that people really value the most? A little time for 'fun' in this world or an eternity with the One we are supposed to love? The ones who really love Him will show it and will receive all that He has for them.

Give God glory!
Thank you for sharing those words of wisdom. I appreciate what you shared.
 

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