Friday, June 19, 2015

Terrestial or Celestial?

The City Four Square

Terrestrial ethics seems bent upon subverting the essential character of our once great nation. We were great because we strove for a higher calling, something greater than our genetic structure, something above our animal instincts, something more than selfish obsession. Our nation was founded by people who believed in the moral and ethical standards revealed in the Bible. The sense of our greatness was called into view by the words of John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.” 

Jesus said it best, Mat 5:27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic[b] either. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.

The founders of our nation believed in personal responsibility and hard work. They also believed in helping each other. They understood that the state could be the enemy of freedom, and so they limited the power of government. Families cared for their own, and the church cared for those who had no family.

Now there is a revolt against moral authority, and the revolution has cascaded into a rebellion against civil authority. Civil authority is necessary in a society where evil abounds. Perhaps a society of righteous people could do without officers with authority to enforce laws, and punish evil. But our society is showing a propensity for perversion, a rush away from righteousness and a slide toward decadent degeneracy.

Apostle Paul warned of the terrestrial dangers, Gal 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Paul gave a similar warning in Col 3:5: Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices.

Sensual, sexual immorality, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these! What is the basic nature of the terrestrial outlook? It is selfish. It is concerned with natural passion and feelings. What will make me feel good? What is exciting? What will make me look good?

Down and dirty denigration results from living by feelings and impulses rather than having Celestial clarity that conforms to the will of God. The will of man is self centered, leading to disaster. The spirit of God leads to a higher way of living.

Paul lists the countervailing Celestial consciousness, Gal 5:22-- But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Col 3:12: Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Unless we repent of our earthly nature, unless we determine in our hearts that we will give our hearts to God’s purpose, we are doomed to destruction. We must change our minds about how we want to live. Living for Jesus leads to eternal life, living for self leads to eternal death.

Jesus said, Luk 13:1 There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

Jesus also said: Luk 24:46 “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Repentance and remission of sins! Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish! Repentance is a decision to turn from terrestrial to celestial. 

As Peter said in Jerusalem on Pentecost, Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Save yourselves from this ungodly generation who wants to live as they please, doing the things that impulses suggest. Why should we live by our genetic earthly nature? God has something better for us. Paul explained the outcome for those who deny God, and choose to rule themselves, in his letter to Rome.

Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Yes, we live in a generation that encourages ungodliness. From promotion of abortion and homosexuality, to rejection of Biblical influence in civil authority, we are surrounded by a class of cads (
A man whose behavior is unprincipled or dishonorable), who have decided there is no God. 

We must join the battle. Heavenly power over earthly bondage. We must cast down every power of darkness, and exalt Jesus. He is our hope for eternal glory.

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