Meet the Samericans

It is recorded that Jesus had an encounter with a woman who was part of a group of people who were called Samaritans.  At this encounter the woman complained that the Jews said they had to worship in Jerusalem because they worship the Lord on a mountain.  Jesus did not bring into doubt her worshiping of the Lord.  In fact He said a time would come when both Jews and Samaritans would worship in neither place.  Jesus did not question her worship, but confessed they worship what they do not know.

Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”  Jesus declared, “Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.  You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.[1]

The Samaritans are gone so we can never meet one, but their spirit is alive and well.  I would like to introduce you to a group of people who worship what they do not know.  I would like to introduce you to the Samericans.

Let me describe them to you.

Samericans believe that the New Testament gospel is different than the Old Testament gospel, even though the New Testament teaches that our gospel is the very one that was preached at Mt. Sinai.  (Heb 4:2)

Samericans believe that Jesus came so we could be credited righteousness, even though the New Testament teaches that credited righteousness came in the covenant with Abraham.  (Rom 4:11)

Samericans believe that the Old Testament is inconsequential while the New Testament teaches believers are grafted into the righteousness that was credited to Abraham in the Old Testament.  Rom (3:23-24)

Samericans believe that God calls things that are not as if they were, but deny this reality spoken of in our New Testament when they deny they have a hope of salvation by insisting God spoke it as it really is when scripture says we are saved.  (Rom 4:17)

Samericans believe they have faith they are saved, when faith is hoping for what we do not have.  Their faith gives them salvation they would say, while the New Testament says our faith is hoping for the salvation we do not have.  (Heb 11:1)

Samericans explain the hope of salvation away by saying there are three tenses of salvation past, present and future, when Paul taught we do not hope for what we have.  And if we do not have it we wait for it patiently.  (Rom 8:24-25)

Samericans believe they are the children of Abraham because they got saved, while the New Testament teaches we are the children of Abraham if we walk in the same steps of faith of Abraham who hoped against all hope in the promises of God, because he never recieved them.  (Rom 4:16,18)

Samericans believe that if we are unfaithful Jesus will remain faithful to them because He can not disown Himself, when the reality is He will be faithful to His word and punish the wicked like He did Israel.  (2 Tim 2:11-13)

Samericans believe ecumenical sermons that deal with relationships, God’s blessings and being a better person is the gospel.

Samericans are the type of people who will deny they worship what they do not know, yet will not have ears to hear or eyes to see what scripture teaches us.  They will be to lazy to study scripture for themselves, preferring to quote other men’s opinions on the matter.

Samericans are like people who repeatedly look in the mirror of God’s word and immediately forget what they look like when they turn away to worship what they do not know.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.[2]

What are Samericans liken to?  To whom can we compare them, when they worship but ignore the word of God, worshiping what they do not know?  To whom are their hearts fond, that of God’s word or man’s teaching.

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”[3]

Do you know any?

[1] John 4:20-22

[2] James 1:23-24

[3] Matthew 15:8-9

Scriptural challenge (Part 2)

Yesterday, I gave the challenge to find in scripture were the church organization we have today is taught us in scripture.  I gave evidence from scripture that we are ignoring what has been passed down to us from those who have been guided by the Holy Spirit.  It is my conviction that one of the reasons we do not see the Holy Spirit in our lives like we do those in the book of Acts or 1 Corinthians is because we have left scripture. 

Of course we all think that we have stayed true to scripture and the message of the gospel, but yesterdays post glaringly shows we do not.  Everyone who is part of the local church will defend to the death what we have today.  Heck, I would have done the same thing at one time.  But I can not get past this glaring difference between what Paul taught us and what we do.  Can you?

The scripture I chose for this comes from Paul when he is teaching how a local assembly of believers is supposed to conduct themselves.  His goal in this teaching is so the church can be instructed and encouraged.

For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.[1]

But that is the job of the pastor right?  After all what is he there for on Sunday mornings if it is not for those two basics purposes?  If not for those two basic purposes, then what is he there for, to oversee what he is over?  And if he is over, is he not in charged?  And if he is in charge, has he not become the head?  And if not the head, have we not rejected God as our king, just like the jews?

If we are to deny he is their for the purpose of being the head, then it is for encouragement and instruction then, right?  But if he is there for instruction and encouragement, then he again has usurped what the Holy Spirit has given to us as instructions to obey, concerning how the church is to function when we assemble.

It is not taught in scripture that this is for the office of the pastor to do.  This is for those who speak in tongues, interpret tongues, prophesy and have a revelation.  This is two be done orderly and with no more than three who speak in tongues, no more than three who prophecy, but everyone can in due time encourage and instruct in the local assembly as the Holy Spirit leads.  You know, like everyone does everyday outside of the assembly in everyday Christian life.

Again it is not to be taken that those who God has given a heart of a shepherd can not do these things.  On the contrary, all people who function in all the offices can participate.  What we expect from church, encouragement and instruction, is not an office driven activity, but a move of the Holy Spirit activity that can come from any Spirit filled believer in the assembly.

Which now gets me to my point.  We will never become what we read in scripture if we ignore scripture for what promotes our own spiritual laziness and apathy.  I don’t care if we are “Spirit filled”.  If we refuse to do as we see instructed to us by the Holy Spirit, do we really think God is pleased?  And if not pleased, is He willing to give us what we say we want?  Not when we the “Spirit filled” can’t even follow the Spirit so the Spirit can be in our midst.

Sadly I think many of us have not one bit of desire to do these things as part of our lives in Christ.  Does this make us hot for Christ, but certainly not cold, but lukewarm doesn’t not.

Since we will continue to refuse to obey scripture, and grieve the Holy Spirit, we will willingly keep those whose hearts are hard from being convicted by the Holy Spirit, since we absolutely refuse to obey the Holy Spirit.

But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you![2]

How is it that at many churches we sing the song Breath without a thought to the words we worship with? 

“This is the air I breath

This is the air I breath

Your Holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread

This is my daily bread

Your very word spoken to me”

We do not and never will have the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst like the verse above, because we will never do it the way the Spirit of Christ tells us.  We will never experience the Holy Spirit in our midst like this and nether will the lost.  We refuse to do what we are instructed by the Holy Spirit.  We will not for the benefit of our own spiritual well being, nor those of the lost.  Instead let us feed our spiritual laziness and apathy with scorn towards the instructions from the scriptures we say we follow.

So let us meet on Sunday and let us worship to the song Breath and tell the Lord how important His presence and word is to us.  Let us speak to him how desperate we are to have him in our lives, but by God keep Him at bay, because we are not that desperate to obey Him!

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”[3]

[1] 1 Corinthians 14:31

[2] 1 Corinthians 14:24-25

[3] Matthew 15:8-9