Everyone it seems is talking about NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem at the start of football games around the United States. Even the President had something to say about it recently.
As a man who served in the United States Army sacrificing much to serve this nation, and serving alongside those who lost their lives in service to this country, I can understand how some view this as a sign of disrespect towards the military, the flag and this country. In fact, in the past, whenever I would attend a sporting event (which hasn’t been many times), I have shed a tear as the National Anthem has been played, remembering those whom I have served with and the many others who gave their lives while serving this country.
However, as someone who has served I understand that the very reason I and so many others have served, currently are serving and for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice of giving their life in service, have done so for the freedom that everyone in this country has.
Freedom..... supposedly we have it in America.
Freedom of speech!
Freedom of religion!
Freedom really isn't freedom if it is only freedom when it lines up with what you believe.
Freedom will vary over time and as leadership in the nation changes.
Freedom that is forever is only found in Jesus the Christ!!
Freedom from the bondage of sin!
Freedom from the wrath of God that abides on all those outside of Christ!
The truth will set you free... !!!
Jesus said' "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life"
You see the freedom we have in this country allows men the freedom to protest peacefully, preach the gospel on the streets, and believe what they choose to believe whether it is right or wrong, true or false, freedom gives us the right to do so.
Colin Kaepernick felt the need to protest peacefully by taking a knee during the Nation Anthem at the start of a football, while others stood for the singing of the Anthem Kaepernick took a knee in protest to what he believes and many others believe they have seen with police injustice in this nation.
Which has caused many people to speak out, the left speaks out in favor of Kaepernick, unfortunately it always seems to be for political gain, and the right standing against Kaepernick, showing their patriotism and also I believe for some in an attempt for political gain as well.
Regardless of where you come down, either the left or the right, if you are honest, you’d have to admit that racism still exists in this country. And many people may come up with ideas and ways in which they believe we can combat racism, but the truth is racism has been around for a very long time and will not end until Christ returns, because racism is a sin problem and the only way to take a sinner from his sin nature to a new nature is through Jesus.
1 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Growing up I played a little football in Junior high and seen a few high school games over the years and numerous pro football games on television as well to know that when another player is hurt or suffered an injury the other players out of respect would take a knee for the injured player.
We need to admit that honestly are nation is hurt and injured in a sense, because of sin, we have roots of slavery in this country and racism still exists today and as I already stated will continue, we as a nation have murdered millions of babies in the womb of their mothers through abortion which as a nation we have made it legal and call it a women’s right to choose if she wants to murder her baby or keep her baby. Homosexuality is becoming more popular through television and movies and more and more are embracing it, and as a nation we legalized same sex “marriage” which is a redefining of what God created as marriage, and now as a nation accept and embrace transgenderism, where the woman of the year award was given to a man who believes he is a woman.
We are living in Romans one.
(18) For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (19) For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. (20) For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (22) Claiming to be wise, they became fools, (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (24) Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, (25) because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (26) For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; (27) and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (28) And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (29) They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. (32) Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
After watching so many people being upset with the NFL players taking a knee, many of which were professing Christians, my wife wrote this:
“Just some thoughts:
I am thankful for the right that we currently have in this country as Americans to stand and speak freely. My husband and many others over the years have served, fought and many have died for that freedom. Today we see those freedoms slipping away day by day. But what is it that is truly worth speaking for?? As so many are upset and riled up about some football players who fail to stand for our Countries National anthem how many of those same people who are upset by this are using our current freedom to stand and speak up for what counts in eternity?
Are you upset by the lost and dying that are on their way to an eternity in hell separated from Christ, are you upset about the millions of babies who have been murdered by abortion in our country and the thousands more who will be murdered tomorrow, are you upset at the state of the church and the easy Christianity that costs you nothing that so many "Christians" ascribe to today? The right to stand and speak and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ is given by no man, and if the freedoms we hold as AMERICANS today are gone tomorrow how many of us will still stand and speak??”
So many professing Christ seem to be more upset over some football players on a Sunday afternoon who take a knee before a game during the National Anthem rather than being upset over the many other issues that as a nation we should be grieved over.
As Kaepernick has been grieved over the racism in this country and what he believes to be injustice by the police he took a knee, what are you willing to take a knee for.
Especially as Christian, are we standing up against the evil of abortion in our day, racism, injustice, watered down false gospels being preached in the name of Christ, are we taking a knee in protest over these evils.
Now please hear me, I am not calling for a social gospel nor do I believe that we should support groups that may stand against some of the things listed above who hold to a anti biblical worldview. My point is as Christians are we really that upset over a football player peacefully protesting over a conviction he has and yet we as Christians aren’t upset with abortion enough to go and stand in front an abortion center to preach the gospel, hold signs and seek to help woman to not murder their babies, are we not that upset to speak out when we see injustice happen in our country.
Are you upset about the protesting at NFL games this past Sunday?
Here's an option for you:
How about going down to your local NFL stadium each week there is a home game and stand outside with signs pointing to Jesus, handing out gospel tracts and preaching the gospel in the open air.
Want to see change in the people of this nation.... starts with a changed heart by grace through faith in Jesus, by which he uses the preaching of the gospel
Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
(14) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (15) And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” (17) So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
So are you willing to take a knee? To take a stand for the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Because here is the thing, every knee will one day bow and confess that Jesus Christ is LORD!
for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”
(10) so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Are you willing to take the gospel to the lost and dying world that they might bow the knee with you in submission to Christ now while we have time? Or are you more upset over NFL players who take a knee during the National Anthem of a football game, which while be entertaining has no eternal value whatsoever.
If you have less concern over the things of God and taking the gospel to those in need than you do over NFL players protesting, what does that say about your Christianity?
To the Glory of God
by Ricky Gantz
Recently on Facebook I posted on the local church, which there seems to be a growing number of individuals who have a disdain for the local church and/or no desire to be a member of a local church.
I am sure we have all heard at some point in our lives that individual who says, “You don’t need to be a member of a church to be a Christian”, to which I would say, I agree. Church membership doesn’t make you a believer but if you are a believer there should be no reason why you don’t desire to be.
Maybe you have heard other statements as to why an individual says they don’t need to be or want to be a member of or attend a local church. Statements like this one, “I don’t go to church because it’s full of hypocrites”, to which I would say of course there are hypocrites in churches, doesn’t change the fact that we are still told not to forsake the gathering together with the body of believers as the church in local bodies.
This idea that you don’t desire to go to church because of hypocrites, let me ask you, do you go to work, school, shopping, etc. because anywhere you go you will run into hypocrites. Not to mention that we are all sinners in need of Christ even after we become a believer we are still growing and the process in one person’s life may not be exactly like your experience in growth. Which is one reason why being a member of a local church is so important, to be able to minister to others, to come alongside a newer believer and disciple them, assist them in their growth.
Another argument is that the church is the people and not a building, which I also agree. However, we meet somewhere and when we gather together as the body of Christ in a local church guess what…. It’s usually in a building unless you are meeting outside or in a cave because where the saints are gathered together to sit under the preaching of the Word of God and to take part in the means of grace that is the church. While we understand and know it’s not the building let’s not lose focus or sight of what is important here. Church membership, belonging to a local body being committed to the local church and serving one another to the glory of God.
Here is an example of a post that I put on my Facebook wall about being a member.
If you preach on Facebook or on the streets and aren't a member of a local church or desire to be in one..... just repent!
Repent and believe in Christ and be saved!!!
Repent and believe Gods word about His church and be obedient!!!
Now let me speak on what I posted to be clear to those who may have misunderstood what I said and taken it as saying I was adding church membership as a requirement for salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (9) not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Salvation is a gift of God not of works, we are not saved by baptism, by keeping the commandments, or by church membership. Those who are saved are saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus, who died on the cross, was buried and on the third day rose from the grave.
This post came about do to interactions with individuals some on Facebook and others whom I have ran into on the streets who call themselves “street preachers” but do not belong to a local church nor do they desire to be a part of a local church.
To which I will say as I have stated above if you are not a member nor do you desire to be one repent, some of those individuals whom I have interacted with need salvation and others just need to obey.
In another Facebook post I said this trying to be even more clear on the matter.
If you are not a member of a local Church or desire to be one. It's only a matter of time before you fall away from the faith (proving to not be a believer to begin with) or into damnable heresies (proving to be a false believer or teacher).
To disconnect yourself from a local body of Christ and have no desire whatsoever to get connected is to disconnect yourself from the one who gives eternal life which is Jesus Christ.
Which again I stand by this statement, time and time I have seen individuals who had no desire to connect with and be a member of a local church and they have fell away from the faith, no longer attending church anywhere and sadly many even walking away from the faith they once held on to. The other issue that myself and many others can attest to is how those who have no desire to be a member of a local church become a law unto themselves, they set themselves up as the authority and have no one to help them and keep them from doctrinal errors, and I am not talking about secondary doctrines like eschatology or of the like but on serious issues that if one continues to hold to are damnable heresies.
You see the dangers are there when you are not connected to a local church. Now don’t hear me wrongly, God is the one who saves and if anyone leaves the faith or begins to teach damnable heresies it is clear they never were a believer to begin with as stated in 1 John 2:19 which says, They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
Christ is the head of the church and to separate yourself from the local church is have absolutely no desire to be connected is to only expose that you aren’t connected to Christ.
Finally, my last post on the local church.
Local Church Membership- What a joy, what a blessing to be a part of a local body of believers and to use the gifts for which God has given you to minister to others and to be ministered to.
Don't forsake the gathering together with a local church.
Remember there is no perfect church... but Christ died for His church so be committed be obedient and be a member of a local church.
Don't be like the guy or girl who wants to stay in a relationship but refuses to commit to one another in marriage.
To be a member of a local church where the Word of God is preached is a joy and a blessing, and to use the gifts that God has given us believers to minister to others and to be ministered to, what a picture of love and grace and compassion for the body of Christ displayed through the gathering together of local churches.
Some want to argue over the fact they don’t believe a church is doing everything the way they want it to be done. Maybe they don’t have a certain ministry that they believe the church should have or they don’t have every theological position that you do, regardless of the excuses used by people to disconnect themselves from being a member of a local church is just that, an excuse!
As with the analogy that I gave in the above Facebook post, don’t be like that person who wants to be in a relationship with someone but never wants to make the commitment to marry. Christ is married to the Church! The Church is the bride of Christ and when we have no desire to be connected through a local church essentially what we are saying is I want the benefits of a relationship without the commitment.
Now let’s look at the importance of the local church.
Hebrews 10:25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Now this verse obviously comes up and is used to encourage believers to meet together and not to forsake it. And if we look at this verse which comes after verse 24 we might get some understanding.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,
Stir up one another to love and good works, this verse assumes that we would know one another. I am connected to the saints all over the world unity in Christ, but I don’t know their struggles personally or areas where they need to grow in love and good works. However, being a member of a local church, I will be able to serve alongside other believers and get to know them and be able to do exactly what this verse is saying to do.
1 Peter 5:1-2 (1) So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: (2) shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;
How? That would be my question to you, how does one shepherd the flock of God that is among you and exercising oversight over the flock if there are no local churches?? If someone just comes in for a little while and then moves to another church and another church, or just comes and sits at a church but never becomes a member just attends, not making a commitment to the local church, the leaders or the others within the church. Personally, I don’t even see why this is something we should have to defend, as if it is not clear enough in scriptures.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Here is another scripture speaking about the elders but notice whose benefit it is for….YOURS! It is for your advantage to submit to your elders. Now I know, the first objection will be in everything submit, what if they are abusing their position. I understand that and the scripture speaks about that as well.
1 Peter 5:3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
If someone is abusing the authority as an Elder that’s a problem and should be addressed because as stated above they are not to lord their position over the flock but to be an example to them.
Now if they are ruling well, here is what God’s Word has to say.
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.
How are they to rule if they don’t have a local church gathering of committed saints, how are they to receive double honor, if there is no local church then how do you know if the preacher in the next town or city or state should receive double honor.
Its honestly pretty easy to see that God establishes local churches to which He gives gifts.
Ephesians 4:11-14 (11) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (12) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (13) until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (14) so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
For the purpose of equipping the saints so that we are not tossed to and fro carried away by every wind of doctrine, which was my point in the one above Facebook post, to disconnect yourself from the local church where you do not have an elder to lead you and other members evangelists and teachers and church members to help you grow to mature manhood or womanhood then you are setting yourself up to be carried away, either from the faith you claim to believe or into every wind of false teaching that is out there.
So, don’t be deceived by those who run around claiming to be believers but have no desire to be a member of a local church and spend more time arguing against local church membership rather than repenting becoming a member of a local church and submitting to the elders in order to be ministered to and to use their gifts to minister to other saints within the body of their local church.
To God be the Glory!
By Ricky Gantz
Ever been in the mood to listen to some good music? Music that is clean with a Christian message, something you can listen to while your children are in the car with you and not worry about hearing lyrics that are obscene or promoting ungodly values that you really don't want your children to be exposed to.
Well just turn it to the family friendly christian contemporary radio station, like K-Love or The Fish. Where you can listen to music that you don't have to worry what your children will hear, because it's good clean Christian music, or is it?
Discernment is something that many American Evangelicals seem to lack, we have thousands upon thousands of professing Christians who send in their money or follow many of the false teachers on Christian Television, such as TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, John Hagee, Kenneth Coepland, Paula White and Joel Osteen, just to name a few, believe me many more could be named. However, that is not the purpose of this article. I only stress this fact because so many individuals who claim the name of Christ lack discernment and follow false teachers. Calling out false teachers, especially those mentioned above is like picking at low hanging fruit on a tree, it is so easy to do because their teachings are so bad that you think how can anyone be so deceived.
When it comes to christian contemporary music that is promoted by these family friendly radio stations, we don't always know the theology of the ones behind the music.
The music also doesn't only stay on the radio, many songs find there way into many churches across the United States and abroad.
Hillsong is one of the most popular music groups out there today, with many of their songs being used by churches to sing worship to God on a Sunday morning, and even if the song you choose to sing by Hillsong or any other group like them has good words to the songs you choose to sing, many fail to realize the danger they are setting up for individuals in their own churches.
For example it would be like quoting Joel Osteen from your pulpit each week in your sermons without giving a qualifying message behind it that he is a false teacher. By quoting Osteen you are basically affirming his teaching and may just lead others in the church to start listening to and following his teaching. That would be a really bad idea!
The same thing happens with music except for some reason we seem to give it a pass, while many in the church who know Osteen is a false teacher wouldn't quote him week after week, those same people would use music by Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Matt Maher and others.
Because these groups along with many others, either have really bad theology or are heretical, and should not be promoted by family friendly radio and most certainly not promoted by churches.
Maybe you are thinking to yourself some of the songs these groups sing aren't necessarily worded with heretical teaching, and some songs aren't but I think by stating that we miss the point. The point is not so much whether or not a song they write is in error but rather the association with the one writing the song.
Let's take Matt Maher's song "Lord, I need you", the song is a beautiful song and there is nothing inherently wrong with the words of the song, yet many people don't realize that Matt Maher is a Roman Catholic. Why should that matter? It matters because in affirming Matt Maher and his music, whether you want to acknowledge it or not you are affirming Roman Catholicism by pointing your people to his music and blurring the lines for the very reason in why we are protestants, we are still protesting against Rome and their false teaching.
Jesus Culture another very popular music group out of Bethel Redding in California, that is entrenched with heresy and false teaching, has been using their music to introduce more and more people to that false teaching. The more popular the band gets the more people follow Bethel. Just like Hillsong they are using their music to draw more people to the teachings of their churches.
Now when I say churches I am not doing so in the sense that these are actual churches of God but only in identifying them by how they are represented in the world as being a church even though they go against the biblical teachings while promoting their heresies.
I've used this analogy before but consider this, these individuals have a different gospel and a different god, they do not follow the one true and living God, therefore when they write these songs they are speaking of the idol in which they are singing to, not praising and worshiping the King of Glory. So by that alone we should stop singing and promoting their songs in our churches.
Imagine writing a song for an ex-girlfriend, someone you had a long relationship with that many said was the love of your life, and sadly it didn't work out and now you are married to a lovely woman and your anniversary is coming up and you want to give her something special to let her know just how much she means to you, so you think I should write her a song, and you remember this amazing song you wrote long ago for your ex-girlfriend, and you think all I have to do is change the name to my wife and she'll love it.
Do you seriously think your wife would love a song given to her on your anniversary that was actually intended for another woman but just changing the name. I don't think that would cause your wife to love you more but most likely you will be sleeping on the couch for a week maybe longer. NO......that would be disrespectful to your wife to just change the name from your ex to hers.
Is that not what we are doing by singing songs to God that were written to false gods when we sings songs by these individuals who have a different gospel and different god.
We need to exercise discernment in many areas of are Christian life and this area is not an exception. Don't be deceived by these groups that promote there false churches and false beliefs by allowing them to deceive those around us in our churches.
We must have a discerning ear when it comes to what we listen to and what we allow our children to listen to and what we sing in our churches.
I am not saying if a church sings some songs by these groups that it automatically makes them a bad church or heretical, sadly some are just uninformed, which can be any of us. I for one do not always look up an artist and dig deep into what they believe by doing extensive research to find out and make sure before I turn on the radio, but maybe we should be, or at the least do a better job about what we allow to come into our churches.
Let's go back to the song by Matt Maher, 'Lord, I need you", if the song comes on in the car, I use it as a way to teach my family to be discerning, to inform them of who it is that is singing this song so that they are aware. The last thing I would want to do is mislead my family into thinking something is solid or okay. Some songs are catchy, and they are clean that you find on the family radio shows but at what cost.
Exercise wisdom, be cautious, and seek to be discerning in all areas of life, including the music we are listening to.
by Ricky Gantz
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