There is an old saying that we know well:
I suppose there is a lot of validity to that statement. However, there is another statement that I believe is as close if not closer to the truth which says:
This cannot be overstated!
This time honored tradition was tarnished in August of 1991. The captain of the Greek cruise liner Oceanos abandoned his ship off the coast of Africa with more than 160 passengers still needing evacuation. Captain Yannis Avranos made a cowardly and convenient escape via a rescue helicopter. Howard Chua, in Time magazine, reported that Avranos rationalized his behavior like this:
PILATE’S SELF-INTEREST CRUCIFIES CHRIST
We all know how it works whether we are willing to admit it or not. It can be so clearly and demonstratively illustrated in the life of a man of infamy named Pontius Pilate.
Governor Pontius Pilate of Judea had a real dilemma on his hands. The dilemma’s name was Jesus Christ. As Governor of Judea, he wanted to rule well for Caesar so as to stay on good terms with numero uno. But he had the Jewish rabble to contend with whose hearts were set on fire by Hell, which flames were fanned into an inferno by the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Jewish mob demanded that Jesus be crucified for blasphemy.
Ole Pontius knew that he had a potential riot in the making which would reflect poorly on his governance. Job security! This whole issue to him was like carrying a bottle of nitroglycerine through the middle of a jostling and frenzied crowd of Black Friday Shoppers.
On top of all that, Governor Pilate had his own conscience to deal with, skewed as it was. Deep down in Pilate’s gut, he knew that Jesus Christ was an innocent man. Even his wife warned him by way of her nightmarish dream that he should do nothing to this righteous man. (Matthew 27:19) So in Matthew 27:23 Pilate with a pale face and a tinge of desperation, asked the maddening crowd who demanded that Jesus be put to death,
What to do?
So to clear himself of all responsibility and guilt, he calls for the phony-stage props of self-absolution as he washes his hands with water from a basin in front of the murderous multitude and says in Matthew 27:24,
There you have it! Very simply:
That is how self-interest works:
“PROFESSION OF FAITH PROCLAIMS US CHRISTIANS IN CHURCH, BUT OUR PUBLIC SILENCE
DECLARES US US TO BE INFIDELS IN THE MARKET PLACE.“
If you will:
“WE PREACH CHRIST IN OUR SERMONS AND ATHEISM IN OUR PRACTICE.“
For Pilate, it really was the age old game of “Political Expedience and Correctness” that has played itself out through the ages to this very day. Hey, whatever it takes to be appointed or elected!
So truth and morality are shuffled and denied by politicians for the sake of self-advancement and self-profit in an ever increasing heathen society. Much as Barack Obama’s evasive polish and sleight of tongue addresses the multitudes with switching eyes as unfocused as post holes, as America’s thoroughly Christian heritage is pooh-poohed if not denied to please the growing anti-Christian multitudes.
HEALED NAAMAN BOWS TO RIMMON
Naaman was captain of the army of the King of Aram (Syria). He was a valiant warrior, and highly respected by his King. He had served his King with military distinction, if not outright heroism.
There was only one big problem! Naaman had become a leper! The “L” word was as feared in that day as the “C” word is in ours. “Leprosy” was the “Cancer” of Old and New Testament history. It too played no favorites and was no respecter of persons. Plus those who had leprosy were quickly separated and segregated.
Naaman had a young girl who they had captured and enslaved. She became a servant to Naaman and his wife. And this girl said to her mistress one day in II Kings 5:3,
Then he would cure him of his leprosy.”
You don’t get to be general by being dumb. Naaman went to his king and told him what the girl had said. The King said, “By all means go, and I will send a letter to the King of Israel.” (II Kings 5:5) So Naaman loaded up with silver, gold, and ten changes of clothing. Changes of clothes were used in exchange in those days for money.
When Naaman delivers his King’s letter to the King of Israel, the King of Israel thought to himself, “Boy! They’re trying to find a reason for invading me. I’m already paying them tribute as a satellite state. Now they want to invade. They’re asking me to cure this man of leprosy, and if I don’t we are dead ducks.”
restored to you and you shall be clean.”
Of course Naaman now knew the truth, namely that the God of Israel had delivered him from his leprous-death sentence. He takes it even further and says to Elisha in II Kings 5:15,
However, there is a catch. It is the catch of “Self-Interest.” Naaman intuitively sensed that inherent in “The Only God Reality” were the imperatives of the 1st and 2nd Mosaic Commandments. First, that he could not have any other gods before “The God To End All gods.” Second, that he could not make any idol image or bow himself down to an idol god.
“In this matter may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into
the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand
and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon…the
Bow or get fired if not executed! It is really something, in fact it is incredible:
AND BOWS THE KNEES OF MAN.”
ARE NOT FULLY MAINTAINED BY IT BECAUSE
Today, we have “Seeker Friendly Religion” which could also be called “Casual Christianity.” It is “Truth” redesigned, diluted, and compromised to accommodate “Self-Interest.”
It has been my painful conviction for some time now that most modern religionists no longer have the slightest concept of the sacredness, importance, and meaning of the “Sabbath Day.” The “Seventh Day.” It has never dawned on them, nor have they ever been taught that Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day, meaning that the first full day of their lives was the “Seventh Day.” They fully began their lives with the celebration of God and His creation. If you will:
The true Christian cries,
PETER – FROM “I’LL DIE WITH YOU” TO DENIAL
We all remember the words of Peter to Jesus in Matthew 26:35,
Who could ever forget his words? Not because of the words themselves of course, but what soon followed. Peter will die for His Master at one moment, and not many hours after deny Him. You remember all of this I am sure. Peter will prove himself to be nothing but a piece of pliable rubber with a big mouth.
Peter, the self-proclaimed giant of faith, was sitting in the high priest’s hall warming himself when a servant girl came to him as read in Matthew 26:69 and said to him,
Boom! There she was out of the blue declaring his association with Jesus Christ. It was like a red-hot line drive that Peter was not ready for at all. In terms of warfare, it must have sounded and felt like sniper fire. The girl’s accusation burned in his brain. The devil usually sets us up by coming at us just as he fell from Heaven, like lightning.
“I do not know what you are talking about.”
Peter was caught off guard which all of us know about. What was happening to Jesus, the arrest and all, had already rocked his faith. Now that he had denied ever being with Jesus, his shaken world suddenly went into a severely wobbly orbit which he for now would not recover from. Peter had already begun his descent.
Satan heard Peter’s denial. It was so easy! Satan always continues his assault quickly when he sees that the soul’s devotion is beginning to ebb, and the human spirit’s guard is down. He will intensify his siege when the human soul slides downward into self-interest and security.
We read in Matthew 26:71,
“…another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there,
‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’”
Another big chunk of Peter’s faith flies off as he swears an oath to her and them in Matthew 26:72,
“I do not know the man.”
The heart is sickened to read what happen next in Matthew 26:74,
Then to add insult to injury the rooster crowed and enforced Peter’s threefold denial of Christ.
Now hear this:
Allow me now to quote from my recent book Modern Christianity Corrupted pages 147-148:
“The comprehensive duty in Christianity is self-denial…And be assured of the following, that no one opposes Christ but for the purpose of serving self. Likewise, no one truly affirms Christ without the willingness to deny self. We cannot have it both ways. It is either HAIL KING JESUS or HAIL KING SELF.”
Then from page 164:
“In Religious Humanism the controlling principle is always to soothe the selves and pack the pews. In Christianity, the guiding principle is always to deny the selves and make disciples. In the first instance we have soothing pew-packers, and in the second instance we have disciple makers. This is where genuine Christianity begins. Complete self-denial! Fail here and no one will be able to carry out faithful Christian discipleship, at least, not for very long. It won’t last! Why? Because the very next thing that Jesus commands His would-be disciple in Mark 8:34 is to,
“The logic of Christ is flawless as always, and is illustrated by the discipleship principle that only those who say no to self will be able to say yes to the cross. We cannot hang on to ourselves (self-interest) and carry our crosses for Christ (His interests) at the same time. Self is far too self-protecting for cross bearing.”
‘ONLY THOSE WHO DENY SELF WILL BE WILLING TO DIE FOR CHRIST. HE WHO IS RELUCTANT
TO DENY SELF WILL DENY CHRIST TO SAVE HIS OWN NECK. THAT
IS JUST THE WAY IT IS.’”
It has gripped me for many years that Peter’s first self-interest-motivated denial was simply that he did not know what the servant girl was talking about. It was only after first falsely disassociating himself from Jesus that he then was pressed into twice lying flat out by swearing and cursing, “I do not know the man.”
The hole that self-interest digs for itself by denying truth gets deeper and deeper. Always! You and I must hear this!
In point of fact, because of the modern religious humanism church opening itself to and entertaining people’s self-interests, everything including the absolutely indisputable sins of homosexuality and same-sex marriage are now being disputed in the modern church as to whether or not they are sins after all. This past week on Fox News and the Sean Hannity program, Hannity interviewed Joel Osteen and asked him what his stand was on homosexuality and abortion. His answer was:
“WHEN ABSOLUTE TRUTH IS PROBABILIZED AND DISPUTED, IT WILL NOT BE LONG AND THAT
Always! He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying. Amen!