A Christian Guide to Luke by R. David Pogge

Chapter 10

Final Thoughts

Here’s the point: There are many Christians who expect to be saved by their relationship with a counterfeit Christ. They will be lost.

There is very little similarity between the Gospel of Luke and the false gospel preached in many Protestant churches today. Their members are worshipping a mythical Jesus who is nothing like Jesus of Nazareth. Modern Christianity is nothing more than a combination of pop psychology and secular humanism disguised as Christianity. Since the churches aren’t preaching the Gospel, God isn’t blessing them.

Section 10.1 - Humanism in Sheep’s Clothing

I recently heard a guest speaker preach at church. He was a high-ranking official in the church organization. The congregation frequently responded with “Amen!” to things he said—but I could not imagine Jesus giving a sermon even remotely similar to what he said. It occurred to me that if I simply took the text of that sermon and replaced the name “Jesus” with “Freud,” and “Satan” with “bullies,” and “grace” with “self-esteem,” then I could have preached essentially the same sermon to a crowd of atheists and they would have frequently responded with “Right On!”

I wondered, is secular humanism simply Christianity without supernatural references? Or has Christianity become secular humanism in sheep’s clothing?

Secular humanism is based on the idea that there is no God who defines morality. You are capable of deciding right from wrong, so don’t let anyone else make you feel guilty about the choices you make.

Humanists believe there is no life after death, or eternal judgment; so enjoy life now because that is all there is. You will be happy if you just try to be a nice person and love everyone. Yes, humanists believe in the Golden Rule—but that doesn’t make them Christians.

Except for the absence of life after death, the secular humanist message is not much different from what is preached in many churches today—but it is nothing like what Jesus taught.

Section 10.2 - Grace

The congregation loved the sermon given by the Christian leader because he preached about grace. I did not count the number of times the preacher used the word, “grace.” If I had tried, I’m sure I would have lost count. Later, I got a copy of a recording of his sermon to count the number of times he said, “confess,” “repent,” and “reform.” The grand total of all three of those words was zero. His concept of grace was nothing more than serial amnesty. He even went so far as to say, “You cannot out-sin God.” The implication was that no matter how much you sin, grace covers it. That would have been true if he had added the provision that you have to recognize your sin, confess it to God, genuinely repent of doing it, and take hold of the grace of God to get the victory over that sin. He didn’t do that. He just preached unconditional forgiveness as an antidote for guilt. It is a comforting message—but it isn’t what Jesus taught, and it isn’t true.

Since the church official used the word “grace” countless times in his sermon, I wondered how many times Jesus used that word. It doesn’t appear at all in Matthew or Mark. That’s surprising! If grace really is the heart of the Gospel message, why did Matthew or Mark never mention Jesus talking about it?

Grace only appears briefly in the Gospels of John and Luke. It never is used in the context of serial amnesty. Here are all the references to grace in the Gospels.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John bore witness to him, and cried, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.’”) And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. [John 1:14-17, RSV]

And the child [Jesus] grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him. [Luke 2:40]

In their Gospels, John and Luke both say that grace is an attribute Jesus has, not an excuse we have to disobey the law.

Luke mentioned grace eleven times in his Book of Acts. Here are all eleven instances. In every one, Luke uses grace as a synonym for power—not amnesty.

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace [power] was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. [Acts 4:33-34]

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace [power] and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. [Acts 6:8]

When he arrived and saw what the grace [power] of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. [Acts 11:23]

When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace [power] of God. [Acts 13:43]

So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace [power] by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. [Acts 14:3]

From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace [power] of God for the work they had now completed. [Acts 14:26]

“No! We believe it is through the grace [power] of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” [Acts 15:11]

… but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace [power] of the Lord. [Acts 15:40]

When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers and sisters encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. When he arrived, he was a great help to those who by grace [power] had believed. [Acts 18:27]

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace [power]. [Acts 20:24]

“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace [power], which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” [Acts 20:32]

Paul used the term grace 80 times in 13 epistles (an average of 6 times per epistle). Paul used grace to refer to the power to call Gentiles to obedience, and the power to obey the law, not a pardon for breaking the law. Here are just a couple of examples from Paul’s epistle to the Romans.

Through him we received grace [power] and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people: grace [power] and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. [Romans 1:5-7]

Paul explained to the Romans that nobody has the power to give himself eternal life. That power comes only from God. Paul called that power, “grace.”

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace [power] in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless [graceless], Christ died for the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!  For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!  Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law.  Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace [power] and the gift that came by the grace [power] of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!  Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.  For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace [power] and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.  For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace [power] increased all the more,  so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace [power] might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace [power] may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? [Romans 5:1-6:2]

Just as it makes perfect sense to substitute “power” for “grace” in the passages above, it makes no sense at all to substitute “pardon” or “amnesty” for “grace” in any biblical passage.

Section 10.3 - Guilt

In secular humanism there is no guilt because there is no punishment for sin in the afterlife (because there isn’t any afterlife) and no punishment in this life if you don’t get caught. As long as nobody finds out about your sin, there is nothing to worry about.

Besides, you can decide right and wrong for yourself. If you don’t think it is a sin, it isn’t really a sin. In fact, since sin is defined as “transgression of God’s law,” and there is no god, there isn’t any such thing as sin. Sin is just a weapon other people use to try to manipulate your behavior through guilt. Secular humanists take comfort believing that nobody else has the right to judge you, so there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Secular humanists deal with guilt by rationalizing it away. In many cases, Protestants deal with guilt by gracing it away, which is nothing more than a particular form of rationalization.

The truth is that guilt is actually the Holy Spirit bringing your sin to your attention. He doesn’t do that just so you can ignore it. You must recognize and repent of your sin and then ask the Holy Spirit for power to overcome the sin.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. [1 John 1:9]

Section 10.4 - Love

The first paragraph of the first article in a magazine published last month by a major Christian denomination was,

If there were one word that could epitomize the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, I believe that word would be “love.” 1

That statement could have been written by just about any Christian writer, or said by just about any Christian preacher. Everybody believes it—but it isn't true.

The notion that love is “one word that could epitomize the life and teachings of Jesus Christ” is Satan’s most effective lie because it is partly true. Yes, love is good, and love is occasionally mentioned in the Bible—but it was a minor teaching of Jesus. By emphasizing love, Satan obscures the major teaching of Jesus.

Here’s how Satan perverts Jesus’ teaching about love. Most Christians act as if Jesus gave us this commission:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to love everybody. [NOT Matthew 28:19-20a]

What Jesus actually said was,

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. [Matthew 28:19-20a]

The one word that could epitomize the life and teachings of Jesus Christ is “obedience”—not “love.” At least, not love in the modern sense of the word.

The modern concept of love shared by atheists and Protestants alike is really non-judgmental acceptance. If you love someone, you will tolerate whatever sins they commit without objection. That’s not love—it’s cowardice. It is an excuse not to stand up for God because you are weak and afraid.

According to the song, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” That’s just according to an uninspired song—not the Bible. Love doesn’t distinguish Christians from sinners.

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them.” [Luke 6:32]

Love isn't something you pretend to feel, think, or say. Love is something you do. Love is obedience to the commandments of God.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” [John 14:15-24]

Love is doing the right thing. When it comes to loving God, it means obeying His commands.

Christians often try to rationalize disobedience by claiming that love trumps the law. They use this passage to do that:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’2 This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’3 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” [Matthew 22:36-40]

They read, “Love the Lord your God,” and stop there because those five words can be twisted to mean, “If you love God, it doesn’t matter what you do.” The part of the sentence they don’t read is, “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” That necessitates a lot of work and effort. If you combine Jesus’ definition of love with the rest of the sentence about loving the Lord you God, it becomes “If you love me, keep my commands / with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Then, if you include Jesus’ concluding thought, His entire teaching is, “If you love me, keep my commands / with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. / Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” That certainly isn’t license to ignore God’s law. If you don’t keep the commandments, you don’t love God. It could not be stated more clearly.

Jesus’ plain statements can’t be harmonized with the idea that you can freely sin because God is a loving god, and love is unconditional acceptance and tolerance.

When it comes to loving your neighbor (or your enemy) it means doing what is best for him. Since love is an action, not a feeling, you don’t have to like your neighbor, as long as you do right by him. Since you are supposed to love yourself in the same way as you love your neighbor, you should do right by yourself, too.

The loving thing that Jesus did for you is to warn you that you must prepare for His Second Coming by obeying His commandments so that His blood will save you. The loving thing you should do for your neighbors is to give them the same warning message.

Unfortunately, many churches are closer to secular humanism’s concept of love than Jesus’ concept of love. They act as if the Greatest Commandment means, “All you need is love!” Be tolerant and don’t judge. That’s the gospel of John Lennon—not John the Apostle. It sounds good—but it isn’t Christianity. It is secular humanism; and it has replaced Christianity in many churches.

Just as an example to prove the point, here is a typical “Christian” devotional posted on the Facebook page of a particular Protestant congregation. I’m not going to tell you which denomination posted it. The fact that you can’t tell which denomination posted it is evidence that it is so typical that it could have been posted by any Protestant church—which is exactly my point.

Scripture meditation for
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Luke 9:5 “Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

Wikipedia tells me that pious Jews used to shake the dust from their feet after leaving non-Jewish communities as a symbol that they wanted nothing to with the community and wanted to take absolutely nothing from it with them. It was a sign of complete rejection.

When Jesus sent his followers out to proclaim the good news that the kingdom of God had finally come near and to heal people as a sign of that good news, the situation that confronted people was a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. They could either welcome the good news and the healing into their lives or have nothing to do with it. It was a shake the dust off the feet situation.

I am not sure that Christians are ever entitled to completely reject others. God loves everyone, so who are we to say that someone will never have another chance? God gave me a second chance, and I will be eternally grateful. I would rather not slam the door on someone. I will leave it ajar, praying that they will have a second chance.

The first three paragraphs in the devotional are true—but the conclusion in the last paragraph is to do the opposite of what Luke said Jesus told the disciples to do!

Everyone needs to be warned that they will be lost, and their sins will not be forgiven, unless they confess, repent, and reform. They must confess, repent, and reform right now, before it is too late. They have to make the decision right now. It really is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. They must either welcome the good news and the healing into their lives or have nothing to do with it. That’s the message Jesus said must be given emphatically by shaking the dust off their feet. It is dangerous to hope there will be a second chance to repent later.

A secular humanist doesn’t want to be that judgmental. A secular humanist in Christian clothing would say, “God loves everyone, so God will probably give them another chance. Who are we to say that they have to make the decision right now?”

That kind of reasoning sounds loving—but it isn’t. Suppose someone has a serious drug addiction. The loving thing to do is to help them get off drugs right now. It isn’t loving to say, “I would rather not slam the door on someone. I will leave it ajar, praying that they will have a second chance.”

Section 10.5 - Hate

If Jesus’ primary message was love, with secondary messages of peace and freedom, why did so many people hate Him? The obvious answer is that Jesus didn’t preach those things very much. His main message was about obedience and judgment, which wasn’t a popular message. Since they hated His message, they hated Him.

If we live lives like Jesus lived, we will be hated, too. Although some people find some Christians mildly annoying, most Christians aren’t hated as much as they should be. Consequently, most Christians are missing out on blessings.

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. [Luke 6:22]

You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. [Matthew 10:22]

Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. [Mark 13:13]

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: “A servant is not greater than his master.” 4 If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: “They hated me without reason.” 5 [John 15:18-25]

As you can see from the four quotes above, all four Gospel writers said you should expect to be hated. Not only that, Jesus warned his disciples that they should expect to be persecuted, too.

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. [Matthew 24:9]

But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life. [Luke 21:12-19]

There is a good reason why Christians aren’t hated as much as they should be. It is because they are afraid to offend sinners by pointing out their sin. That would be judgmental—and that’s terrible because Christians are taught,

“Hate the sin, love the sinner.” 6

Here is a shocker: Jesus never said that. That's why it isn't in a red font. In fact, it doesn’t come from anywhere in the Bible, which is why there is a footnote after it instead of a Bible reference. As you can see from the footnote, that quote was said by a Hindu who was heavily influenced by his Islamic friends.

Although it is biblical to hate sin, it is not biblical to love the sinner. Ironically, loving sinners has become an orthodox Christian doctrine, and hating sin is a Christian taboo. The church has chosen to side with worldly wisdom over biblical doctrines.

Modern society has decided that hate is so evil that it is a crime. That’s why Christians always try to explain away all the biblical references to “hate” as meaning something less than hate. For example,

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
    a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
7

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” [Matthew 10:34-39]

If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. [Luke 14:26]

Jesus would never say you should hate your father—except when He did.

If you want to be a Christian, and your father forbids you to be baptized, Gandhi would say you should love your father, and not get baptized out of respect for him. Whose advice should you take, Gandhi’s or Jesus’?

Consider this verse:

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 8 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” [Matthew 18:15-17]

What does it mean to “treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector?” I have heard preachers twist that verse by saying that since you should “Hate the sin, but love the sinner,” you should love unrepentant sinners (like pagans and tax collectors) and allow them to remain in the church so you can win them over with your love.

Paul devoted all of 1 Corinthians 5 to this subject. Here is how that chapter begins and ends:

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? … I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” 9 [1 Corinthians 5:1-2, 9-13]

Paul said sinners should be kicked out of the church, hoping that would be a wake-up call which would cause them to repent. Paul did not say they should be lovingly accepted, hoping that someday they will change.

Since society has come to accept the notion that hate is a crime, some people think Jesus must not have hated anyone or anything. That’s nonsense. Writing to the Ephesians, Jesus said,

But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. [Revelation 2:6]

Then, in His letter to Pergamum, Jesus said,

Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.  Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. [Revelation 2:15-16]

Jesus not only hated the teachings of the Nicolaitans, He hated Christians who held to their teachings, and threatened to fight against them.

Jesus got angry, too.

When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’ 10; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’ 11 [Luke 19:45-46] 12

We hate and get angry because we love—and so did Jesus. Somehow many people seem to have gotten the idea that God is a loving god who doesn’t care. That doesn’t make sense. God gets angry because He does care about us.

God has feelings just like we do. Or, to state it more accurately, we have feelings just like He does. We were made in His image so we can understand Him better. We feel love and hate because He has those feelings.

We get angry when someone hurts us so that we can understand how He feels when we hurt Him. We feel hurt when someone we love forgets our birthday. God feels just as much pain when we forget His Sabbath. We get angry when our kids disobey us—God gets just as angry when we disobey Him. Maybe He gets even angrier.

Society views anger as a problem to be managed. Christians have been taught that God is too good to have an anger management problem. We have been led to believe that God just takes all the abuse we give Him without feeling anything—but He does intensely feel everything we do to hurt Him.

Jesus came in the flesh to show us how much He loves us so that we can understand how much we hurt Him.

“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ 13 [Matthew 23:33-39; Luke 13:34-35]

If we really understood how much we hurt Him when we sin, maybe we would be more obedient!

Section 10.6 - Peace

Modern churches tell us Jesus is going to overlook all our sins because all He wants is peace on Earth. That’s not what Luke's Jesus said.

“I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” [Luke 12:49-53]

The counterfeit Christ worshiped by most modern Protestant churches would never say anything like that—but Jesus of Nazareth did! He was at the end of His rope, losing His patience. He wanted to gather his children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, in peaceful protection; but the chicks would not stay safely under His wings.

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” [Luke 19:41-44]

The way to have peace is to recognize the time of God’s coming to us. But even during the Advent season, most of the emphasis is given to Jesus coming as a baby, and not as Jesus coming on the clouds with His winnowing fork in His hands.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. [John 16:33]

If we don’t have trouble in this world, we won’t have true peace.

Section 10.7 - The Kingdom of God

Jesus talked a lot about the kingdom of God. He called it a pearl of great price and a treasure hidden in a field which one had to sacrifice everything to obtain. It was great wedding banquet which five foolish virgins could not get into because they were not ready, and one man was thrown out of for not dressing appropriately. At the Second Coming the angels will gather the wheat into the granaries of the kingdom of God, but the weeds will be gathered up and burned. The door to the kingdom is narrow, and only those who have used their talents wisely will enter it.

But, unlike the church that pasted this picture on their Facebook page, Jesus never called the kingdom of God “a bunch of outcasts and oddballs.”

This is what God’s kingdom is like: A bunch of outcasts and oddballs gathered at a table, not because they are rich or worthy or good, but because they are hungry, because they said yes. And there’s always room for more.

I won’t identify the denomination that posted this picture because, no matter what denomination you belong to, you will probably think it was yours. The shoe fits far too many feet.

Why do Protestants want to believe this garbage? It is the secular humanist influence. Secular humanism embraces diversity. Since there is no absolute moral standard, you can be who you are. Love yourself just as you are! There is no need to change. Don’t let others judge you. God certainly won’t. That’s secular humanism, and it has infected the church and made it so sick that the church is close to death.

Yes, you can come to Jesus just as you are—but once you come to Jesus you cannot stay that way. You have to conform to the standards of the kingdom if you want to be a citizen. God will give you the power to make the needed changes.

Section 10.8 - Apostasy

We should not be surprised that secular humanism has hijacked so many modern Christian denominations. Paul warned Timothy that this would happen.

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. [2 Timothy 4:1-5]

What itching ears want to hear is that the Greatest Commandment has replaced the Ten Commandments; and the Greatest Commandment says to love and accept all sin without judgment. Secular humanism says to love and accept all sin without judgment. Modern Christianity is just secular humanism supported by twisted Bible verses.

Section 10.9 – Luke's Christianity

It isn’t enough to simply point out what is wrong with today's corrupt Christian churches. It is necessary to point out what true Christianity really is. Luke presented true Christianity, which is an entirely different version of Christianity than what is generally taught in Protestant churches today. Let’s review what Luke taught in his Gospel to see what the difference is.

Prophecy

Luke began with prophecy. Two couples, Zachariah and Elizabeth, and Mary and Joseph, were told they would have a son through a miraculous pregnancy—and they did. Then Luke showed how Mary’s genealogy satisfied Old Testament prophecies about the lineage of the Messiah.

False messiahs might be great teachers and do great miracles, but none of them can fulfill all the messianic prophecies the way Jesus did. Since it is impossible to turn back the clock, no modern messiah can come at the time predicted by Daniel like Jesus did.

… while I was still in prayer, Gabriel, the man I had seen in the earlier vision, came to me in swift flight about the time of the evening sacrifice. He instructed me and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. As soon as you began to pray, a word went out, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed. Therefore, consider the word and understand the vision:

“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.

“Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” [Daniel 9:21-27]

God decreed the Jews in Jerusalem would have 70 times 7 years “to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.” Those 490 years would begin “from the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem” (457 BC) and would last “until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes.” First, there will be 7 times 7 years (from 457 BC until 408 BC) during which the temple would be rebuilt. Then, 62 times 7 years later, the final 7 years would come in which “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering”—and He did! In 27 AD Jesus was anointed (baptized). In the middle of that seven year period (3½ years later, the spring of 31 AD) He was crucified and put an end to the sacrificial system. Then, 3½ years after that, Stephen was stoned, which ended the 490 times God forgave the Jews for failing to evangelize the whole world. The task was then given to the Gentiles.

Luke recognized that Jesus fulfilled the time prophecies of Daniel. Luke also recognized that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies about his death and resurrection.

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” [Luke 24:25-27, 44-49]

Churches that ignore prophecy are missing the most powerful part of the Gospel. Fulfilled prophecy is the best evidence that God knows what is going on down here on Earth and is in control. Historically, the Roman Catholic Church discouraged the study of the Book of Revelation because so much of it predicted the apostasy of the Church. Martin Luther recognized that the pope actually was an antichrist from his study of the Bible. Likewise, Jews don’t like to study Daniel because it clearly proves Jesus is the Messiah—and they missed it. Sadly, many Protestant denominations ignore prophecy as well because the apostasy of their leaders is predicted, too.

The prophecies in Daniel and Revelation reveal the cosmic struggle between Christ and Satan, and explain the plan of salvation, including the actions of demons in our world.

Demons

Luke plainly stated that Jesus was tempted 40 days in the wilderness by a demon named Satan, not some abstract tendency toward evil. This makes perfect sense when you combine the Old Testament prophecies about the plan of salvation with the Book of Job.

Job was a righteous man who was caught in the crossfire between Christ and Satan. God allowed Satan to torment Job in every way, up to the point of death, so that Job could demonstrate his faith to the universe. Job was not told what was happening because it would have invalidated the test to let Job see behind the scenes; but because of the prophecies and book of Job, we can understand why good people sometimes suffer, and what the outcome will be at the Second Coming.

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. [James 5:7-11]

Luke gave multiple examples of people who suffered from demon possession, including Judas.

Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. [Luke 22:3-4]

Demon possession happened in New Testament times, and there is no reason to believe it ever stopped. Satan is alive and well, doing his best to get people to follow him.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. [1 Peter 5:8-9]

One difference between Luke’s Gospel and Secular Humanism is the belief in an actual being called Satan, and his evil demon henchmen. Secular Humanism views the notion of Satan as a literary personification of evil. “The devil made me do it!” is an excuse for human failure, not an admission of demon possession.

Sadly, it seems that many modern Protestant churches do not believe Satan really exists. They take the “enlightened” humanistic position. There are two problems with this.

First, ignorance of the spiritual battle that is being waged between Christ and Satan right this very minute prevents you from making the proper tactical and strategic decisions. If you don’t even know that Satan is attacking you, how can you defend yourself? More to the point—you need to realize you can’t defend yourself. You need Jesus to protect you.

Second, if you take the position that Satan is just a literary device because you want to appear sophisticated, it means you are ashamed of Jesus and His clear teaching. If you are ashamed of Jesus, Jesus will be ashamed of you.

Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. [Luke 9:26]

How can you expect the Holy Spirit to bless the evangelistic efforts of a church that is ashamed to admit they believe in demon possession?

Second Coming/Judgment Day

Jesus began His ministry immediately after being tempted by a demon in the wilderness for 40 days. The primary message of his ministry is about the need for repentance to enter the kingdom of God, which is closer than ever.

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” [Matthew 4:17]

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” [Mark 1:14-15]

Jesus' primary preaching was about His Second Coming on Judgment Day. Look at His parables. 14 Nearly every one is about the coming kingdom of God. Some are about what you have to do to gain admittance on Judgment Day. Some are about how a disciple of the kingdom should act. Some are about how important it is to get into the kingdom. Some are about how much God wants you to be in the kingdom. It is all about the kingdom.

Christians should be preaching the same message. They should be emphasizing the nearness of the Second Coming, and the necessity to be found faithful servants when Jesus comes. Instead, many Christian denominations preach nothing more than love, tolerance, and acceptance. Tolerance of sin is not a virtue.

Christians are told from the pulpit that they need to compromise in order to promote unity. Jesus never compromised. Jesus didn’t come to bring unity.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-
    a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
15

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” [Matthew 10:34-39]

There is a price to pay for being a Christian. You have to stand up for the truth despite opposition from the world (including the citizens of the world who live in your church).

What's the Difference?

They say the difference between a drunk and an alcoholic is that a drunk doesn’t go to meetings. Perhaps the difference between a Christian and a secular humanist is that a humanist doesn’t pay tithe or go to meetings.

Seriously, the difference is whether you are going to follow Jesus or follow the crowd. Are you going to carry His cross and be hated by the world, or are you going to do what makes you successful and popular?

If you believe nothing more than that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and you don’t believe the Old Testament is literally true (that is, you don’t believe the world was created in seven days a few thousand years ago, and you don’t believe there was a flood, or that Noah was swallowed by a big fish) and you don’t believe that the righteous dead are sleeping until the first resurrection, and you don’t believe that the wicked will be destroyed at the second resurrection, and you don’t believe you have to keep the Sabbath, and you don’t believe you shouldn’t eat the food forbidden in the Bible, and you don’t believe in demons, then your beliefs don’t differ that much from secular humanism.

If you believe that Jesus never got mad, never raised His voice, and doesn’t care if you keep the Ten Commandments or not, then you don’t believe in the same Jesus Luke wrote about.

Section 10.10 – The Final Deception

The final deception is here, and most Christians have been deceived.

“At that time [just before Jesus returns] if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time.” [Matthew 24:23-24]

Two thousand years ago, the Jews were expecting the Messiah to come. Unfortunately, they tried to guess what the Messiah would be like, and were looking so hard for a Messiah who matched their expectations that most didn’t recognize Jesus when he came.

Today, many Christians have tried to guess what the final deception will be, have guessed wrong, and haven’t recognized that the final deception has already come. They are expecting the false Christ to be an actual person who gains popularity on TV and takes control of the United Nations just before all the Christians mysteriously disappear, or something like that.

The antichrist is already here, and has been in the church for nearly 2,000 years. He has been teaching us to love the way the world loves, and to love the way of the world instead of loving God and loving the way God loves. The apostle John said so.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him. [1 John 2:15-29]

The antichrist has already come, and is entrenched in nearly every Protestant church. He is the false Christ who loves everyone so much that he has freed them from the law and saved them all by grace.

The final deception is a “loving” god who is such an indulgent parent that he doesn’t care what his children do, and doesn't love his children enough to discipline them.

The final deception is a new covenant of unconditional love which supposedly has given believers a new heart—despite the fact that their new heart doesn’t change their behavior.

The final deception is that you can be covered by “Christ’s robe of righteousness” without actually having to wear it.

Section 10.11 – The Happy Ending

This can all be very discouraging. Jesus said the last days will be like the “Days of Noah,” during which sin abounds in the secular world. He revealed to John the coming of seven terrible last plagues. 16

Unfortunately, not every church will be a safe haven. Great danger comes from sinful church leaders. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah called the church leaders of their day, “bad shepherds.” 17 Jesus cursed the church leaders of his day. 18 Paul warned about future preachers of lawlessness who would say whatever itching ears wanted to hear. 19 John warned about antichrists in the church in his day and ours. 20

In light of all this, how can we have peace?

Peace comes from knowing Jesus—the real Jesus of Nazareth, not the plastic-banana, good-time rock-and-roll Jesus worshipped in many churches. The real Jesus is found in the Book of Luke, the other Gospels, and the Old Testament. That’s why Luke ended his Gospel with these words:

He [Jesus] said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. [Luke 24:44-53]

The real Jesus is coming back to rid the world of sin. The real Jesus is coming back to reward His faithful followers. That’s a good reason for great joy!

Right now, Jesus is making a list, and checking it twice—but unlike Santa Claus, Jesus really is coming with rewards and punishments. If you are on the nice list you will be rescued from the hands of all the people on the naughty list. You can be on the nice list. Jesus told us how.

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” [John 15:23-27]

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” [John 14:15-21]

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” [John 15:9-11]

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” [John 16:1-4, 33]

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” [John 14:1-4]

Back to Chapter 9 Table of Contents On to Appendix A

Footnotes:

1 "Living God’s Love" by Ricardo Graham Pacific Union Recorder, October 2018
2 Deuteronomy 6:5
3 Leviticus. 19:18
4 John 13:16
5 Psalms 35:19; 69:4
6 Mahatma Ghandi, https://www.goalcast.com/2017/03/20/top-20-inspiring-mahatma-gandhi-quotes/
7 Micah 7:6
8 Deuteronomy 19:15
9 Deuteronomy 13:5; 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21,24; 24:7
10 Isaiah 56:7
11 Jeremiah 7:11
12 See also Matthew 21:13 and Mark 11:17
13 Psalm 118:26
14 See Appendix A.2
15 Micah 7:6
16 Revelation chapters 15 through 18
17 Jeremiah chapters 10, 12, 22, 23, 25, and 50; Ezekiel 34; Zechariah chapters 10 and 11
18 Luke chapter 11
19 2 Thessalonians 2; 2 Timothy 4
20 1 John chapters 2 and 4; 2 John chapter 1