Is It Real?
Gain Wisdom Enough To Suffer The Contempt Of The World
by Ken Pullen
Friday, February 17th, 2017
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Romans 1:16 — King James Version Holy Bible
Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Acts 5:29 — King James Version Holy Bible
Salt and Light
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16 — King James Version Holy Bible
The Narrow Gate
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
A Tree and its Fruit
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
The House on the Rock
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
Matthew 7:13-27 — King James Version Holy Bible
“God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools…and He has not been disappointed….If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world.”
~ Antonin Scalia
For those who might have been around since A Crooked Path (ACP) was started six years ago (March 2011) they know there have been many occasions where I write very bluntly and personally. I tell how I was and what I was. How I had been raised and joined my parents church after rebelling for a time only to enter into a personal situation which would forever change my life, and have me wandering in a wilderness, sinning mightily for over 35 years.
Not long ago a woman who knew me when I was growing up and had professed I had “changed” and wanted to “join the church” confronted me. She contested my statements how I was not sincere. She said I was. But I knew I was a phony. If she had looked closer, paid closer attention she would have known that too. I had not been born anew — made a new creature — and I was just going through the motions to please people and think I could somehow, if I kept living “right” fool God as well.
But God knew my heart. Better than I did. Much better than that woman ever did.
And God knew what I knew all along even though I suppressed the truth and lived in denial — I might have had faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God? I might have believed what is in the Bible? I might have believed the virgin birth, the resurrection after the third day, all the miracles, all the history and the prophecy? — but when I read the Bible it was just like reading another book to me. I had no indwelling of the Holy Spirit even though I had been baptized in that church and an elder who dipped me in the water laid his hands on me and said the Holy Spirit was entering me. I did not. My heart was not changed. I merely got wet in front of a lot of people. Truth be told. I went to church every Sunday; early morning adult Bible class. Then morning services. Then a break for lunch to return for afternoon services. I attended mid-week services. I did the whole shebang. Gotta make the people happy you know! Do what they say and expect of you, right? WRONG! DEAD WRONG!
Here’s the difference between then and now.
Then? I had built whatever house I had built upon the sand. I was a tree which bore no fruit. Oh I might have put out some leaves, put out some nice looking flowers and an alluring scent giving the illusion fruit would come — but fruit never did. I was still self-driven, worldly. Not of God. Not Christ’s in heart, mind, spirit, soul and body. I gave the illusion, the outward appearance of walking the straight path walking towards the narrow gate but that was not the truth within my spirit and soul.
I was not the salt of the earth preserving the Word of God flavoring my speech and daily life with His Word. I was not a light unto the world in which when people saw me they saw the glory of God in me and recognized the Father and glorified Him.
I hid whatever light I did have not only under a bushel but in a bomb shelter.
People I worked with didn’t know I was a “Christian.” I denied more than the Apostle Peter did the time our Lord was crucified. The Apostle Peter denied Christ because of Biblical prophecy — our Lord would have no one when it was His hour. No one came to His defense or rescue. And the Apostle Peter while lying? Was also protected by God — because Peter was vital and necessary for the seeds of the true church to be sown and germinated, along with the other apostles. There are no new apostles. I certainly was not an apostle or prophet. I was a young American make caught up in a place and time and grew weary of getting in trouble, having everyone angry at me all the time, telling me I was going to hell. So I “joined up” in an attempt to make others happy — and as readers here know the main impetus was lust. Lust for a young woman who was a member of the church and that church being very Old World and legalistic did not allow dating. At all. And only marriage member to member. A non-member could not fraternize, hang out with, date, or have a relationship leading to marriage with a non-member.
I had gone through terrible personal times. I was abusing myself a lot in many ways. Sinning a lot. I thought this young woman and this church might be the answer. I looked to them rather than God and only used God to get closer to her and get so many people off my back.
Only to add so much additional weight and baggage.
When I joined that church? I did not boldly approach the throne of God. I was not bold for the Lord. I was ashamed of speaking up and professing the truth of the Holy Bible. I hid from it in daily life when not around “church people.”
I was a phony. Fake. Not real. Not born anew. I knew that then and knew it for many, many years thereafter.
And to go around saying, “Praise Jesus!” does not mean one is sincere, genuine, and born anew either. Not if they are obeying men and this world over obeying God, Christ, and the Holy Bible.
Now? Now I know I had TRUE CONVERSION, that I was BORN ANEW a little over 7 years ago because I know the difference in myself not only outwardly this time, BUT INWARDLY. Where it counts. Where it is either real or fake. I can FEEL IT.
Back then, when I was in my early 20’s, the church I joined was a very legalistic body. Oh, they were spot on about 80% of the way within the Word of God — in most things — but they were extremely legalistic. They believed in imposing outward appearance as evidence of holiness, right-ness with God. I was into rock music big time, the counter-culture habits of the many young people living in the mid to late 1960’s and early 1070’s. This was a church which some within it would accost you for wearing a wristwatch. Carrying a camera and taking photos let alone live as I had been living.
Back then, in that church, we were instructed to look a certain way, talk certain ways, do or not do certain things. Back then this was understood as the rules. Laying down certain “laws” to fit in. Legalism.
And back then there was great friction and resistance among the younger people coming up in that church.
And here’s why — because it was taught this is how we look, how we speak, how we are so we appear different from the world and we aren’t sinning like them.
It was not taught we abstain from many things out of a love of God. If it was that message, if given, was lost in the oppressive constant legalism.
Then? I did everything I could to fit in and comply. To go along with the program. But I had not truly been renewed within so I never understood clearly, never saw clearly.
Now? Now I refrain and abstain from much of what the world offers up and how the people of the world behave, talk, live, and are in their daily lives. Not to appear different — not to fit in with some church — I now refrain and abstain because I love God and Christ and do not desire to grieve Them because They had mercy on such a sinner as me. They bestowed Their mercy and grace upon me and forgave me. I cannot, will not, I have no interest or desire in being of the world any more and displeasing God and Christ in order to fit in with the world. I abstain and refrain without effort or thought because I know now the difference of having the Holy Spirit truly indwelling and going through the motions pretending.
I no longer am ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Lord.
I no longer hide my light.
I no longer refrain from being salty.
I built a new foundation, a new structure, a new home upon the Bedrock, upon The Rock of Christ, God, the Holy Spirit, and the inerrant Word of God.
Now it is real.
Then is was not.
Huge, huge difference. Ah, difference like that of night vs. day.
One leads to eternal life. The other to merely pretending and then when face to face with Jesus being told, ” I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Now I strive to bear fruit. To be pruned to bear more fruit. To place the first and highest priority upon God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. All else falls after that.
Before? Before I fit God, Christ, and the Bible in when they would fit my schedule, or when I was expected to in order to appear godly and living right.
Did I have the fear of death and eternal damnation put into me a little over 7 years ago? Yep! And I felt as if I was unworthy to ever be forgiven, I could never be real, I could never be accepted by God and Christ. That I was eternally doomed no matter what.
But an old brother in the faith, who has passed on from this fleshly life a few years ago, told me I was wrong. What had happened in the past could be forgiven because I was not sincere. No matter how many people I had hurt, no matter what I had done or said.
And as many of you know by this time while alone in my office one winters night, a little over 7 years ago, I was compelled — driven by a force I could not ignore or refuse — COMPELLED to search out a Bible in the house I was living in after not opening up and reading anything in a Bible in over 20 years — compelled to find a Bible and ask God for help. Ask God to forgive me. Ask God to instruct and lead me.
And when I opened that Bible in my lap up after not looking upon the Word of God for over 20 years I had opened up to Luke 15 and my eyes were led to verse 11 to begin reading.
This was the hand and work of God and the Holy Spirit. This was REAL. Not coincidence.
And my life has not been the same since that moment. Since those few minutes in that office late into the night, alone with God and His Word.
I know the difference between faking it, playing the game, pretending, making a good show of it all and constantly treading water (about to drown) and the difference between REAL.
No, better yet — believe God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the inerrant living Word of God and make it real in your spirit, soul, heart, mind, and daily life if you’ve been going through the motions. Making an appearance but knowing in your heart and soul you haven’t truly been born anew, you are obeying man and the world more than God and Christ. That you are not boldly coming before the throne and you’re believing — but worried about what Jesus is going to say when you finally come face to face with Him, as we all will.
The solution? Be real. Be sincere. Be genuine. Because to be any other way is actually worse and very dangerous. I know that now.
Heretics, pretenders, the apostate, those falling away, those professing to be “Christian” but living according to the world and denying the Word of God, denying God and Christ and supplanting the Scriptures with worldly doctrine, false doctrine, and worldly philosophies — it will be better for them to openly confess their being heathens and unbelievers than to live falsely.
There are only two paths, two options, two choices in this life no matter who you are, where you live, male, female, old, young, no matter origin, no matter intelligence or talents — we each either humble ourselves and learn of God and Christ and experience a genuine conversion, born anew and then we have a flame of love and desire in our hearts to serve and please God foremost, to serve Him and Christ — or we serve this world.
Only two options. Only two choices.
And one cannot build a house upon sand and Rock. One cannot be a dead tree also producing good fruit. One cannot be cold, dark, and dead inside and give off Light. One cannot lose their savor, their taste, their flavor, their salt and also be the salt of the earth. One cannot ever have their cake and eat it too, or serve two masters.
You see, we all have free will, free choice and we make almost an infinite number of choices every day God blessed us with life, keeps our hearts beating and breath in and out of our lungs — what choices and for whom are we making?
Are we really real?
Or just putting on a good show?
Because when the final act ends and the curtain comes down the actors won’t be the ones receiving the rewards.
Only the real, true believers and obedient ones of God and Christ will.
All other will be awarded eternity in hell.
And, baby, that’s as real as it gets.
Think long and hard on these things. On the Scripture used in this column.
We all know in our hearts if we’re real or faking it. Born anew and true believers, true disciples of Jesus Christ the Lord — or not.
It doesn’t matter if we make men or women happy and fit in with them.
All that matters is are we real for the Lord?