Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pharisees’

By Mike Edwards

Beliefs claimed about God lead to many tuning out God. Our relationship with God cannot exceed our understanding of God. I have written HERE how we can decide what God is really like. One’s interpretation of a Book may be the only reason to think human and godly perfection are different. Why would a Creator not love us and others how we were seemingly created to love others?

Friends can smell a hidden agenda a mile away.

It simply is wrong to engage in friendships for the purpose of converting them to your beliefs without advising upfront this is your agenda. It should be obvious that we need to start acting like true friends act toward one another. We engage in relationships because we are interested in having friendships with others, both to love and be loved. Discussions about spirituality or God best come up naturally.

If people want to pursue a relationship with God, they should see in our life something worth asking about. What if I told you the Gospel is: God loves you and longs for a relationship so you can be the kind of person you deep down truly desire to be. I am convinced God wants you to know true freedom is knowing your Creator’s love for you so you might love others similarly. 

God has been a respecter of freedom of beliefs from the very beginning.

Why would a God who is powerful enough to create not annihilate immediately those who choose evil and oppose God? Jesus did not force God on others but discussed spirituality in a natural, relational way. Jesus brought up spiritual matters when it seemed appropriate and was accepted. Jesus’ agenda was to simply love people in the moment, not to manipulate them.

We have portrayed God as a Parent who has certain conditions to be loved and accepted. We portray God as wanting to save people from hell, which is a myth, rather than being a God who respects one’s freedom to consider how they might make for a better world. God knows what human parents know. Love is the only path to authentic relationships but can’t be forced. “Controlling love” is a contradiction in terms. Relationships come out of inspiration not fear!

Even the Son of God in the Bible didn’t require certain beliefs.

Jesus simply invited His disciples to follow Him and see for themselves as opposed to adhere to a set of beliefs. He told Levi (Matthew): “follow me” (Lk. 5:27). Jesus basic message could be summarize as: “But to you who are listening I say: ….Do to others as you would have them do to you” (6:27-31). Jesus only encouraged those seeking a better life to follow His example. 

We all know the story of how Jesus responded to the religious elite who had caught a woman in adultery (Jn. 7:53-8:11). When Jesus rightly shamed the crowd, they dropped their stones and left Jesus and the woman alone. Jesus didn’t lecture, pray with the woman, or tell her to go to church. Jesus simply said: “Go now and leave your life of sin.” Jesus showed the woman all she needed to know – God loves you and encourages you to do what you know is right in your heart.

Jesus saved tough conversations for religious pretenders who claimed to represent God. The Pharisees were in love with their power, thus making religion self-serving rather than self-sacrificing. Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for their misguided emphasis on rules and obedience rather than a relationship and God’s radical love. 

Many may be surprised what Jesus said when asked how to have eternal life.

Jesus did not warn one to run like/from Hell. Jesus simply advised to love God and your neighbor. One saves their life by running from selfishness. A religious expert asks Jesus: “what must I do to inherit eternal life” (Luke 10:25). Jesus didn’t admonish one to get on their knees and pray for forgiveness. Jesus said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” (10:25-27). Jesus knew loving God can empower us to be the person we deep down desire to be.

Eternal life in the Bible isn’t about one’s destination in the future but life in the present. J.D. Myers is right: “When Scripture teaches about being saved from sin, it is not referring to escaping hell and going to heaven when we die, but to the deliverance from the devastating and destructive consequences of sin in this life.” https://redeeminggod.com/confess-jesus-romans-10-9-10/

God-followers need to worry more about their example than what others believe.

Baptists, Methodists, Protestants, Catholics, etc. fight over their different doctrines, yet all supposedly believe in the same message of loving your neighbor as yourself. Why would anyone seek spiritual guidance from people that can’t get along? We have enough conflict in our families, friendships, and places of work. Christianity or any religion is better off without buildings with names on them. We simply need relationships that encourage one another in their spiritual journey.

What does God believe in and desire for us all?

People feel manipulated rather than loved when spiritual folks have an agenda. Engage in relationships only with the desire to love others as they wished to be loved. The Gospel is simply that our Creator desires a relationship to influence us for the world and our own good. Jesus only wanted to help others listen to their heart. I am convinced a close relationship with my Creator helps me to be a better man, husband, father, and friend. Loving parents seek the admiration and respect of their children, so they want to follow in their footsteps to make this world a better place. Similarly, knowing and understanding God’s radical love can inspire selfless love toward others.

More posts in the I Doubt God Really ………. series:

Why I Doubt God Is An Excluder Of Religions

Why I Doubt Heaven Is Closed To Anyone After Death

Why I Doubt Hell Is Real

Why I Doubt God Is A Homophobe

Why I Doubt God Is A Sexist

Why I Doubt God Is A Mysterious, Moral Hypocrite

Why I Doubt God Is A Blood-Thirsty Child (Jesus) Killer

Why I Doubt God Expects Every Word Of The Bible To Be Viewed As Inspired

Why I Doubt God Is An End-Of-The-World Doomsayer

Why I Doubt God Is An Angry Egomaniac

 

Read Full Post »

Have you ever come across someone who says they are a Christian yet the way they act speaks something completely different?

actionsandwords

I remember an experience my wife had some time ago. She returned a couple books to what used to be a library. She did not realize the library had closed and a church was now there. Once she realized the library was no longer at this site she went back to the church to get the books.

She said she will never forget the look and condescending attitude of the guy she talked to…who turned out to be the pastor.

My wife assumed that this pastor did not agree with women wearing makeup or knee-length dresses. Now I know there are groups that do not believe in women wearing make-up and I feel that is up to them how they interpret the Bible and what they feel is right and wrong. But in this case my wife did not in any way over-do her make-up so I did not see any reason why anyone would even think to question the way she looked. Obviously, this guy had a different view about the matter. He was not nice to her, it was obvious that he did not want to talk to her and felt she should not be in his so-called ‘house of God’. What rubbish.

This whole incident made me think of Jesus when he was with some of the religious leaders of His day and made the statement, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness”.

First, that building was not the house of God. People tend to forget God does not live in buildings. He lives in people who are saved by grace.

Second, what kind of witness was that to my wife? This guy did not know if she was a Christian or not. The way he treated her could have been the final straw for her wanting to know God. Sometimes I think we run people off from wanting to know God by the way we act.

We Christians need to stop and think about our actions and how we treat other people. We are God’s witnesses to the world. We may be the only witness of God’s love they see and if we are not living under the guidance of the Spirit of God we can make a very negative impact of those we come in contact each day.

loveandaction

This is not to say our actions and the things we do earn our salvation or earn the love of God. No, that was all taken care of by the grace of God. It was not anything we did or can do.

Yet we need to be careful not to have a religious spirit. Let God’s love for others flow through you. Remember God told us to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and love your neighbor (all people) as yourself. Do not be a stumbling block to someone by the way you act and treat others.

Read Full Post »

When we hear someone talk about the Kingdom of God, usually our first thought is a place in the distant future. A place we go when we die and leave this earth. It is where God lives somewhere way up in the sky, a place where we will live with Him forever.

Yet, when reading about the Kingdom of God in the bible, it sounds to me it is not some far away, future place. It is right now, and right here. A place where we live daily with our Father. Jesus said in John 14:23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them”. To me, if God has made his home with us, then we are certainly living in the Kingdom of God.

Kingdom of God 3

Jesus mentioned that the Kingdom of God is within us. He said that we were to ask that God’s will be done here on earth as it is in heaven.

The following excerpt from the article ‘Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God’ found on colsoncenter.org website is a brief explanation of the Kingdom of God:

The Hebrew word for kingdom is malkut and its Greek counterpart is basileia. Both terms primarily mean “rule” or “reign.” Only secondarily do they denote a realm, sphere, or territory over which a rule or reign is exercised. Both terms have a dynamic or active meaning, and refer to the exercise of God’s power, dominion, or sovereignty.

So then, we see that the expression “Kingdom of God” does not refer to heaven or the church or the heart or to moral reform or to a future realm. Rather it refers to the active, dynamic exercise of God’s rule, authority, dominion, and power in the world!

So when John the Baptist announced that the Kingdom of God was at hand, he meant that God’s rule was just about to break into the world through the Messiah. When Jesus Christ Himself preached and proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, He meant that in and by Himself, God was exercising His power and authority in a redemptive way against all the evil in the world!

In short, the Kingdom of God is the rule of God manifested in Christ to bring redemption to the earth. No wonder the Kingdom is the central theme of the New Testament! …

Another good point is made on the web site thegospelcoalition.org, stating: Jesus is the kingdom. Where the king is, there is the kingdom. This is precisely why Jesus says to the Pharisees, “The kingdom of God is in the midst of you” (Luke 17:21)…

 

Kingdom of God 1

I have come to believe more and more that the Kingdom of God is not necessarily talking about the coming heavenly kingdom, but it is our life with God right here and now. Our old, earthly man was crucified with Christ on the cross and a new man was raised up with Christ. Jesus is our king, and we are living with him in his kingdom every day.

 

Another interesting perspective on the Kingdom of God entitled ‘What is the Kingdom of God about?’ and written by Susanne Schuberth, can be found at the following link:

https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/what-is-the-kingdom-of-god-about/

Read Full Post »

Matthew 9: 11,12
When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?” But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.

When I read these verses, it always makes me think of how a lot of Christian people are today. They think of themselves as good, moral Christians, avoiding things that are ‘bad’, keeping away from people who aren’t religious and who don’t do the ‘right’ things.

Yet Jesus, while here on earth, hung out with ‘those’ people all the time. People who were involved in the wrong things, people who no one really wanted to be around or associate with, it was those people you would find Jesus spending time and communicating.

Obviously, we aren’t to participate in and do things that are wrong, but we should not avoid the people who do them. These are the ones who need friendship, and who need to be shown the love of God.

When we think we are better than others, and keep away from those who are different, we are just playing the part of the pharisees of Jesus day. We need to show the love of God to all those we come in contact, and take the medicine of the good news of the Gospel to those who are sick in sin.

Read Full Post »

Follow Your Arrow

Unashamed of who God made us to be, and unapologetic in our pursuit of God and our purpose in His kingdom

Night•Dawn•Day

A Doctor's Reflections on Psychology and Spirituality • Give Light, and the Darkness will Disappear of Itself

Done with Religion

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

The Grace Cafe Journal

Discovering Grace Apart From Religion

Blind Injustice

In this blog, I talk about injustice that we struggle to recognize and/or blindly commit.

Sophia's Essays

This is where I post my essays, primarily about LGBTQ+ issues, politics, and Christian theology.

My Journey

Welcome. My blog is a place where readers will find writings of personal experiences, thoughts, and the peace that the Lord provides throughout my walk. I intend to bring inspiration and insight, as well as providing a very personal and transparent view into my life, in order to help others see their own lives in a different perspective. I strongly believe that we all need a different view at times, in order for our own personal growth to take place.

Hazy Divinity

Welcome To The Party

Candice Czubernat

A leading voice in the LGBTQ and Christian dialogue

Our Journeys Matter! - Posts

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

Ally's Notebook

Thoughts To Share

The Grace Cafe Blog

Rediscovering Grace Apart From Religion

Life of a Prodigal

Searching for Truth outside the church walls

Red Letter Publications

Trade in your religion, for a relationship.

What God May Really Be Like - Misbeliefs About God

To those done with religion but not God and my kids (Click FOLLOW for future Posts; See ABOUT/USING THIS SITE tab to navigate Site)

Christy Lynne Wood

Looking for the real God

Confessions of a Recovering Churchboy

What I bought before, I just can't sell

To the Saints Radio

...let us press on to maturity...

Intermission

Reflections in the midst of life.

The Curious Atheist

Freely Seeking Truth

The Wild Frontier

The search for infinite Truth and the invincible Love of an incredible God.

Chris Kratzer

Grace // Jesus // Life

Stephen Bradford Long

Religion, Esotericism, Skepticism

A Wilderness Voice

"The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the LORD of hosts." (Hag 2:9)

Entering the Promised Land

by walking in the Spirit

TruthForFree.com

What You Won't Find In A Christian Bookstore

Jesus Without Baggage

For those attracted to Jesus but not to the baggage often attached to his message.

Beyond Church Walls

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

Escape to Reality

Exploring the wide open spaces of God's amazing grace

%d bloggers like this: