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11-7-2016 Limits For Caesar

Pharisees asked Jesus a “trick” question: “’Tell us, therefore, what do You think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?’ But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, ‘Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.’ So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, ‘Whose image and inscription is this?’ They said to Him, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’ (Matthew 22:17-21 NKJV).  Jesus kept the line firmly drawn between “church and state.”  Caesar claims tax money, but a constitutionally-controlled government should stay within its legal limits.  Everything else belongs to, “the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them” (Acts 14:15 NKJV), and should be outside the authority of the State!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#church-and-state, #hypocrites, #tax

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4-22-2015 Blasphemers of God's Word

To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15 NKJV). People who are depraved by their own sins, want to believe Jesus had a fleshly relationship with Mary Magdalene: He didn’t. She was not the “woman in the city who was a sinner” that anointed Jesus feet before He died (Luke 7:36-50). She was in the group of women who came to anoint His dead body and found Him raised from the dead (Mark 16:1). That Pharisee, Simon, thought Jesus hypocritically let her display her faith while detesting her: He didn’t. Those who think all Christians are hypocrites are showing their own defilement. They assume Christians are like they are, but they’re not!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#christians, #depraved, #hypocrites, #mary-magdalene, #pharisee

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4-3-2015 Who's “Killing Jesus?” #5 – Hypocrites

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6 NKJV).

These Christians who decide to leave behind their salvation and Jesus Christ are “killing Jesus” in their lives. Some are pretenders who are “ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 4). These must be the “hypocrites” in the church people talk about, because all other Christians are sincerely following in Jesus’ footsteps.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#christians, #fall-away, #hypocrites, #pretenders, #ungodly-men

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2-18-2015           Lifting Lent From Our Lives

Proclaiming a public fast to call attention to it is unChristian. Jesus Christ taught, “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:16-18 NKJV). A face marked with “ashes” should be washed. Proclaiming to others that you’re fasting makes you a “hypocrite.” And fasting like a hypocrite has no reward from God! What doesn’t please God isn’t for a Christian.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#ashes, #fasting, #hypocrites, #public-fast, #unchristian

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(#152) The Proverbs of Solomon 21:3-Why There Are Hypocrites In Church

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 21:3: “To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.”

The worship gatherings of the churches of Christ are designed by God to bring the righteous together before the Lord to offer their sacrifices. “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-5). The worship of the churches of Christ consists of offering sacrifices of: Lord’s Supper and preaching the Bible (Acts 20:7), contributions (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), prayers (Acts 12:5), and singing with the heart (Ephesians 5:19). Christians do not assemble because their lives are perfected, but because they need to remember that God forgives those who are “giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:12-14).

There are, however, people who attend church to cover up their daily sins, but this proverb shows that church (“sacrifice”) can never take the place of daily commitment to obey God. In other words, God is not honored with sacrifices from someone who disobeys daily! God’s Prophet, Samuel, told King Saul: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). God’s Prophet, Hosea, told Israelites: “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). In the New Testament, Christians are told: “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:15-16). All who try to use church worship as a cover for their daily sinful lives are the definition of “hypocrite.” Going through the motions of worship without devotion to God’s Law the rest of the time is rejected by God. “Sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psalm 1:5) will not be tolerated. Jesus Christ has said: “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Mark 7:6-7).

NO ONE is a hypocrite just because they attend church—hypocrites are life-long sinners who use church to mask their sins!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #church-of-christ, #hypocrites, #obedience, #proverbs, #righteous, #sacrifices, #worship

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(#93) The Proverbs of Solomon 15:8-Wasted Worship

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 15:8-10: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But He loves him who follows righteousness. Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he who hates correction will die” (Proverbs 15:8-10).

“Wicked” denotes evil intent, corrupted purpose, someone who feeds on sins. This is NOT referring to anyone who gives in to temptation and sins, or a good person who gets led astray, or one who tries to do right and fails! That said, this proverb shows God will not accept “sacrifice” (worship) from a “wicked” person, but rejects it as “an abomination.” “The way” is wicked, “the sacrifice” is wicked, and to “forsake” God’s Way is wicked. Before Noah’s flood, Enoch had properly evaluated the world: “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him’” (Jude 14-15). Truly “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). Their corruption was complete and they were irretrievable!

Another proverb teaches this: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; How much more when he brings it with wicked intent! (Proverbs 21:27). God has followed this principle throughout Scripture, regardless of whether it involved His chosen people (Israelites) or aliens (Gentiles): “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear” (Psalm 66:18); “’To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?’ Says the LORD. ‘I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies-I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting’” (Isaiah 1:11-13); “Therefore hear, you nations, And know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people-The fruit of their thoughts, Because they have not heeded My words, Nor My law, but rejected it. For what purpose to Me Comes frankincense from Sheba, And sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, Nor your sacrifices sweet to Me” (Jeremiah 6:18-20); “I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings” (Amos 5:21-22). God counts as vain, wasted, and completely useless, all sacrifices, worship, offerings, and assemblies by those who refuse to follow His rules.

It is little wonder, then, that God “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30), because “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Now we should understand why Jesus Christ said, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” (Mark 7:6-7).

If you want God to hear your prayers, accept your praises of Him, and regard your gifts, you must listen to what Jesus Christ said: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#abomination, #bible-study, #hypocrites, #prayer, #proverbs, #sin, #ungodly, #vain, #wicked, #worship