More points are shared on what was called “Two different sides of Christianity,” that some Christian believers condemn sinners as “lost”, and others declare love or promise to pray for a sinner.  Christians serve a GOD who is to be known and respected for judgment that displays condemnation, punishment and wrath against sin as well as correction, forbearance, forgiveness, mercy, and love.  Several aspects of spiritual development, growth and service are considered.

 

THE BATTLE AXE:  Both Lost and Found? (11/08/2014)—(5.)  All Must Acquire Discipline.  In the same way a classroom of 25 to 30 students are issued the same text book, receive the same daily instruction, yet vary in their performance on quizzes and exams, Christians vary in their competence and performance as ministers of the Gospel.  Those who are born again, all must gradually change and mature while meeting the same challenges of life encountered by everyone else upon the earth.  Saying this another way:  There is a fixed course both for carnal and spiritual development that unfolds as cycles, phases and stages for human growth and learning within settings that are material and social.  In this sense, as a group Christian believers are no different than those who are agnostics, atheists, infidels and nonbelievers.

(6.)  Insults and Interference.  All believers are taught to expect opposition to their ministry from those who may be under the influence of sin.  Those who accept and welcome damnation, death and sin are often cynical, foul-mouthed, irreverent, uncouth and violent.  They behave as though they will only be special by showing defiance and rebellion against GOD, and often go to extremes to discourage, shock and unsettle believers.  Believers are provided with spiritual armor, and are divinely reinforced; however, there remain limits to what believers should endure.  Often a believer may do no more than “plant a seed,” share a thought, and then turn away.  The continuing work for the sinner’s Salvation must be left to Christ and the Holy Spirit.  The believer is then to continue in confidence that the divine process to release mankind from death and sin has already been completed.  What becomes of a good seed planted for Salvation through Jesus Christ is already decided, fixed and predetermined.  In addition to resistance by family, friends and others who lack sacred knowledge believers should expect enmity from fallen angels and unclean spirits who are in the throes of bitterness, envy, resentment and self-destruction.  Harmony and peace as aspects of Christian life will be enjoyed only through careful, deliberate work.  Believers may anticipate and fail to “head off” disappointments, interruptions, and set backs.  Nevertheless, their peace of mind continues for it is not our own righteousness and personal success that establishes our place as an heir to the kingdom.

(7.)  The Past Is Part of The Full Truth.  Believers are not all the same in their ability to be forward-looking without forgetting or denying the past.  Facing the past is necessary.  Having a new life in Christ that is satisfying requires that believers make better choices and decisions for themselves and others while correctly using the tools provided them by GOD.  Where earlier experiences—including abuse, challenges, errors, failures and mistakes—are to be taken as a platform or springboard for correction and further growth, at first, many are burdened with anger, bitterness, fear, and uncertainty.  Yet, the accomplishments, newness and triumph of Christ in the life are made visible, and best recognized when we place the correct positive value upon our memories of difficulties and hardships.  Instead of confusion, depression, discouragement, regret and self-pity, believers will experience godly sorrow, and will feel motivated to continue or increase their efforts that benefit and support others.  Those who acknowledge they already have overcome the past by their choice for salvation will also freely express personal goals to build, to change, and to prosper upon the earth now as well as in the future that will be established at the coming of Christ.

(8.)  GOD Uses Diversity.  Christians always will vary in levels of commitment, maturity, understanding, and zeal.  Believers will have different duties and responsibilities as well as different gifts, preparation and skills.  Exchange and interaction with believers are to further prepare one for fellowship with divinity; and a broad range of emotional, intellectual, psychological and spirit content will be shared.  Growth is at once a process of affirming and contradicting, of learning and unlearning.  The aim of divinity has not been the establishment of sameness so much as the permanent institution of oneness (we say, agreement, unity).  GOD is a spirit who is immutable and unchanging, and operates as accommodating, longsuffering and flexible by having established immeasurable richness, comparison and contrast, diversity, movement within the frameworks of time and space, progression, and variety.

(9.)  Commanded to Restraint and Vigilance.  Believers must practice giving, ministry to others, and sharing outside of the church community by using restraint, and setting priorities. While believers may have to communicate with, or make regular contact with nonbelievers in the home, the workplace and other settings, believers are not to boast, rage, show-off, be self-promoting, become spiritually dominated by or yoked to unbelievers.  Believers are counseled not to practice judgment of others, to stay watchful and to continue in prayer anticipating the coming of Christ.

(10.)  Adventism and End-time Ministry.  Many Christians now operate having a heightened awareness that the time for the Second Coming of Christ to harvest believers from the earth is becoming increasingly near.  Such believers often promote the study of prophecy, and share the genuine sense of urgency that comes by having the certainty that Christ will appear soon.  Because their messages often have the tone of admonition, confrontation, criticism, reprimand, scolding and warning, many fail to correctly hear and see that divine love is being expressed.  It is through dutifulness, grace and kindness that attention, care, empathy, and personal concern are being displayed.

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,  To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.  For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.  But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.  A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;  Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.  (Titus 3:  1-11, KJV)

 

There is far more to be said, correctly understood, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (11.)  A Sinner’s Last Chance.  Believers are to always acknowledge that the answers they share come forth from Christ through the Holy Spirit.  Individual believers do not have all the answers; they are not “know-it-alls”, and walking encyclopedias.  Sinners will ask questions intended to generate arguments, confusion, distrust and embarrassment.  Because mocking, provocation, and slander are their purpose; believers are not required to make any response.  Yet, for certain questions posed by a sinner, the answer also may be important to fellow believers.  The reply from one challenged to answer must be as complete and correct as the believer may make it, because it may be the first and final witness from GOD that the sinner will receive.  There can be no “do over.”)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

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