Perhaps you’ve noticed that the word “cult” seems to have been derived from the word “culture.” A cult, in a sense, is a little culture, and a culture, in a sense, is a large cult.
Webster’s defines a cult as, “a relatively small group of people having religious beliefs or practices regarded by others as strange or sinister.” Of course, what is “small,” “religious,” “strange,” and “sinister” is quite subjective. Even atheists, for example, who possess an extraordinary faith that God does not exist, can be considered religious. And I have neighbors who think I’m strange, but I think the same about them!
Regardless of the accuracy of any labels, we’re all members of cultures and sub-cultures. We’re social beings, and we crave affirmation and love. Gaining those two things requires some conformity, and so we join groups, formally and informally. Let’s face it, we’re all “cult” members, in a sense, on some level. And therein lies an inherent danger, one that I want to explore in this article.
This month, I’ve sensed I should republish an e-teaching I authored back in April of 2008. It is just as relevant today as it was then. It is based on clear, biblical truth, vitally important for every professing Christian to understand. It is simply about loving Jesus. It is convicting. Once you’ve read it, I encourage you to share it. Jesus said, “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26).
May 2020 be your most fruitful year yet!
The greatest crisis I faced during my two decades as a pastor was not the result of a disagreeable deacon, a financial deficit, an egocentric worship leader, or a church gossip. Rather, it was due to an encounter with the Holy Spirit and God’s Word.
It all began when I read the second and third chapters of the book of Revelation, which contain Jesus’ opinion of seven churches in Asia Minor. I noticed that His opinion of some of those churches was considerably different than their opinion of themselves. The congregation at Laodicea, for example, considered themselves to be “rich” and in “need of nothing,” while He considered them to be “wretched and poor and blind and naked” (Rev. 3:17). Quite a contrast.
It seems people either love or hate President Donald Trump. Few are indifferent. I’ve lived through 12 U.S. presidents (beginning with Dwight Eisenhower), and I can’t recall any who have been more polarizing.
Personally, I love Donald Trump. One reason is because his obvious flaws remind me so much of myself. He seems to be living with the same fleshly nature as I am.
I also love Donald Trump because I believe God expects me to love him. And I think I can say with some degree of certainty that God also loves him (if I’m reading John 3:16 correctly).
Incidentally, I also loved Barack Obama, and I still do. And I believe God also loves him.
Over the past few decades, I’ve found myself often addressing the large segment of professing Christians whose lives reflect very little validation of a genuine, saving faith. Just like Paul, I’ve challenged such professors to “test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” (2 Cor. 13:5a). There is no shortage of New Testament scriptures that specifically speak about the kind of fruit that always grows from the hearts of those whom Christ has genuinely come to live within. As Paul wrote in his very next sentence to the Corinthians: “Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5b).
“Christ in you” is what true Christianity is all about. He not only died for us, but He lives for us, and He also lives in us and through us. And He doesn’t come to live inside believers just to be a spiritual hitchhiker!
The Bible is clear that you can confidently and expectantly ask in faith for God’s healing for yourself. But what about praying for healing on behalf of others? Can you have faith for them? How should you pray for them to be healed? Learn more!
When a sick person dies, Christians will sometimes say, “They’ve received the ultimate healing in Heaven.” But is death really the ultimate healing? Learn more in today’s Little Lesson!
How can you be sure that it’s God will to heal you? Some claim that you can’t be sure. Others even claim that God no longer heals people. But what does God’s Word really say? Learn more in this Little Lessons series with David Servant!
Surprise! God actually wants Christians to follow traditions. Here’s the biblical proof:
Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you (1 Cor. 11:2, emphasis added)
So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us (2 Th. 2:15, emphasis added).
Best not to argue with the apostle Paul. He expected his converts to stand firm in the traditions he taught them. So…are you a “Christian traditionalist”?
Is healing in the atonement? In other words, is healing a part of what Jesus secured for believers when He died on the cross? In this Little Lessons series, David Servant explains his view on this subject, encouraging listeners to have faith in God’s willingness to heal them! Learn more.
Is it sinful for a married couple to decide not to have any children? What about the Bible’s commandment to”be fruitful and multiply”? Are there times when it’s appropriate for Christian couples to use birth control? Learn more in today’s Little Lesson!