Stupid and ignorant: Jeremiah 51.17 VOTD

“All idolaters will prove to be stupid and ignorant.
Every goldsmith will be disgraced by the idol he made.
For the image he forges is merely a sham.
There is no breath in any of those idols.”

Jeremiah 51.17

God would punish Babylon for its destruction of the temple. Idols would be destroyed, v. 18, and the Lord would be revealed as the one who rules over all, v. 19.

What idols are we tempted to make or worship today? How will these bring us disgrace?

#idolatry #destruction #VOTD

A modern application for James 2:6-7

But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?” (James 2:6-7 NKJV)

In a context dealing with faulty favoritism, James reproves any idea of treating someone any better, or any worse, than someone else simply based on that individual’s outward appearance or possession of earthly wealth. He then follows up the point with a poignant question (that I’ll paraphrase), “Why are you favoring someone who favors persecuting you?”

To me, an immediate modern-day application would be a Christian’s support of Hollywood. There are organizations, actors and actresses in Hollywood who constantly use their wealth, fame, influence and even clothing lines as a platform to oppress, persecute and blaspheme the very way of righteousness which produces one’s faith in Jesus, but yet these said individuals still receive the adulation, the re-tweets and the Instagram likes from the very people they seek to humiliate. As James would no doubt say to us – “Wake up!”

Don’t look up to people who look down on Christianity. We can love them without supporting their views with a social-media heart.

Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation, because as a flower of the field he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat than it withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also will fade away in his pursuits.” (James 1:9-10 NKJV)

#hollywood, #idolatry, #james

VOTD: 2 Kings 23.25

“No king before or after repented before the Lord as he did, with his whole heart, soul, and being in accordance with the whole law of Moses.”

2 Kings 23.25

King Josiah totally destroyed all the altars and places of idolatry in his kingdom, after reading the rediscovered law, chap. 22.

Have we removed all idols in our lives, with our whole heart, soul, and being? If not, what remains?

#bible, #idolatry, #repentance, #votd, #wholeheartedness

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3-31-2016 Who Is God #4

Comparative Religion” courses, or television programs, treat all religions the same, when they are not! Idolatry is based upon a physical “god” worshiped in a physical place: the Muslims Hajj around the Ka’aba in Mecca; Jews have their “wailing wall” in Jerusalem; Roman Catholics have Peter’s Basilica on Vatican Hill in Vatican City. Christianity, however, follows Jesus’ teaching Who answered the Samaritan woman, and said: “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father’” (John 4:20-21 NKJV). There is NO “holy city” for Christians, so how can that be “compared” to the other religions? “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24 NKJV).

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

#comparative-religion-courses, #holy-city, #idolatry

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Calendar Apostasy

God sent His people, Israel, into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, but with these “statutes and judgments” in Moses’ final declaration to them:

“These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you to possess, all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship the LORD your God with such things. But you shall seek the place where the LORD your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks” (Deuteronomy 12:1-6). The people in that land were pagans and idolaters who worshiped the Creation rather than the Creator. They worshiped the various “gods” which supposedly represented the powers involved in life on Earth. God did not allow His people to simply adopt, nor adapt, the Canaanites’ religious practices as worship to Him. All of: “the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods,” “their altars,” “their sacred pillars,” “their wooden images,” “the carved images,” were to be “utterly” destroyed so they would have no influence among the Israelites, whatsoever. Only the specified worship in the manner God described would be acceptable to God. The Israelites were not to be allied to the worship proscribed by the seasons, but that which was determined by God.

After the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 when the kingdom of Christ was established on earth, the Gospel of Christ was to be preached to every creature (Mark 16:15-16). While in Lystra, Paul healed a lame man (Acts 14:8-10), but then the idolaters sought to worship both Paul and Barnabas:

“Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, ‘The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!’ And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.’ And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them” (Acts 14:11-18). God’s inspired Apostle Paul stopped any idolatrous practice from being used as an explanation for, or an application to, Christianity. There is nothing in idolatrous teachings or practices which should be admitted or accepted by Christians.

Catholicism, whether Roman or Greek, has incorporated idolatrous practices and seasonal calendars into what they call “Christian,” when all they have done is find some Scripture or event in Christ’s life with which to “tag” what would otherwise be a rejected practice. The disciples were called “Christians” by God first in Antioch (Acts 11:26), but Catholicism has spread the term, like an umbrella, over practices of paganism and idolatry. No Christian in the New Testament ever celebrated an “Easter,” “Christmas,” “Lent,” “Seder,” or any of the 40 days of mishmash found on today’s religious calendars, which are mistakenly termed a “Christian Calendar.”

No denomination is “Protestant” that follows Catholicism’s religious calendar. “Seder” is simply a re-creation of the Jewish Passover, which Jesus died to remove (Colossians 2:14-16); “Yule” is from witches, “Eoster/Ishtar” is from idolaters, and “Fertility rites” demonstrated by rabbits and eggs, are the very things forbidden by Paul (Galatians 4:8-11); and “Lent” is hypocritical display of a misunderstanding of “fasting” condemned by Jesus (Matthew 6:16-18). The Lord’s death, represented in the Lord’s Supper, must be kept free from the impurities of falsehood (1 Corinthians 10:15-22). Everyone who keeps special days on a religious calendar did “not so learn Christ” (Ephesians 4:20).

To be a disciple of Christ, one must believe the historical and factual evidence of His life found in the New Testament (John 20:30-31; 21:25) and obey His command to be baptized  “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). The only events in Christ’s life to be memorialized are: (1) His death, burial, and resurrection first, when a sinner repents and is baptized into death, Romans 6:1-6, then raised “in newness of life”; and secondly, when Christians observe the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26); and (2) the day of His resurrection remembered each week when Christians assemble (“the first day of the week,” Luke 24:1-9; Acts 20:7). There are no other special or seasonal days for Christians, according to the New Testament. “The churches of Christ” (Romans 16:16) never observed a religious calendar that would lead them into apostasy (1 Timothy 4:1-3), because those who follow such stand contrary to inspired truth (2 Timothy 4:1-5). “The churches of Christ salute you” but we salute Jesus Christ above all.

—–John T. Polk II

#bible-study, #catholicism, #church-of-christ, #easter, #idolaters, #idolatry, #pagans, #religious-calendar

in the presence of God

Exodus 32 chronicles the building of the golden calf made by Aaron when the Israelites began to miss Moses. Their leader seemed to have disappeared, and his second-in-command either did not know the law or did not have the spine to stand up to the people in their error. He made the idol, and according to verse 6, the people “sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.”

Fast forward to chapter 33. The people have been rebuked for their sin, and many were executed. God has withdrawn His presence from the people because He does not want to destroy them. A tradition begins of Moses meeting with God in his tent outside the camp.

And it came about, whenever Moses went out to the tent, that all the people would arise and stand, each at the entrance of his tent, and gaze after Moses until he entered the tent. Whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent; and the Lord would speak with Moses. When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent. (verses 8-10)

Here is an interesting contrast: in the presence of the idol, the people ate, drank, and rose to play. In the presence of Jehovah, the people rose to worship. The point? What is our demeanor when we assemble for worship, and what does that say about our understanding of what is taking place? If we feel no sense of awe at the presence of God, and therefore demonstrate a lack of reverence in the assembly, then perhaps there is some kind of idol inhibiting our communion with the Creator.

Lord, open our eyes in the assembly; remind us that You are in our midst during worship, for only then can we begin to show the reverence You demand.

#aaron, #book-of-exodus, #christianity, #god, #golden-calf, #idolatry, #israelites, #presence-of-god, #reverence, #worship

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Was Jesus Christ Beheaded?

If the Roman Catholic Church is right, Jesus Christ was decapitated on September 17, 2013 in Malaga, New Jersey. Among nine statues damaged were 3 five-feet-tall statues of Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was beheaded, Virgin Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima. These were located outside of St. Mary’s Malaga Catholic church. Spokeperson for the Camden Diocese Peter Feuerherd said, “These are important symbols of the Catholic faith and in that way when you attack the symbols of faith you attack the faith.” —CBS Philly, September 19, 2013

The fact that there is no physical description, drawing, image, or icon of Jesus Christ in Scripture or out of the Scriptures in the 1st Century doesn’t seem to influence anybody. Jesus was “the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9), and God always condemned every attempt to recreate His image. To the Israelites under Moses’ Law, God said: “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image-any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 5:6-9). In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul preached to idolaters: “Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising” (Acts 17:29). There is no physical description of God, whether in the flesh or not, although “since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

Every statue, icon, painting, or other representation of Jesus Christ comes only as “shaped by art and man’s devising,” not God’s revelation! To call a church building or statue “sacred” is purely by the authority of men, and is totally contrary to the Will of God, for Jesus said, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father’” (John 4:21). It is the church of Christ, not a building, but the people, who form the “building” that is “a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:19-22).

That physical buildings and statues are “important symbols of the Catholic faith” is yet another proof that the “Catholic faith” and the faith in the Word of God are completely separate and contrary to each other! The Roman Catholic Church is not the church of Christ in the New Testament, and never has been true to the Word of God. The practices of the Roman Catholic Church are based upon idolatry, not the faith of Scripture, for “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17), and the Word of God condemns idolatry (1 John 5:21)! An idol means nothing to a Christian’s faith, for there is only “one God, the Father,” and “one Lord Jesus Christ,” so food sacrificed to an idol is not “sacred.” However, Paul asked: “if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?” Though such idols mean nothing to a Christian as a matter of faith, Christians are to show respect for the consciences of idol worshippers who are converted to Christ, but still haven’t elevated God to His supreme place in their hearts. This should be done without compromising their own Christian faith (1 Corinthians 8:4-13). A Christian would never offend another Christian’s conscience who has not developed to his own level of understanding, and wouldn’t think of intentionally desecrating those things that are considered religious “symbols” of others. Christians would, however, strive to teach the emptiness of such practices, as Paul did (Acts 14:8-18).

Instead of considering a statue of Jesus “holy,” why not let Jesus, Himself, be “that Holy One” (Luke 1:35), who died for you and God raised up (Acts 3:12-16), for whom you “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38), so that you may be “holy” (Colossians 1:21-23)?  —–John T. Polk II, Dover, TN

#bible-study, #church-of-christ, #faith, #god, #idolatry, #jesus-christ, #obedience, #religion, #roman-catholic-church, #statues, #teaching, #truth, #worship