In response to Mr. Marty Rush’s article “The Atheist Ten Commandments”, as a Christian I am hammered every day by the world screaming that I must be tolerant in my beliefs. Our government, led and provoked by people like Mr. Rush, is trying to make it against the law to preach what the Bible teaches. The first amendment in our Constitution grants every American freedom of speech and of religious beliefs and yet the atheist says that applies to everyone BUT the Christians. If a Christian tries to act on his freedoms it is called hate speech and stupidity. Every article Mr. Rush has written speaks of Christians as unintelligent, mindless, crazy, dangerous, irrational, etc.
In his last article Mr. Rush called our belief in God irrational. I would say that it is irrational to believe that human intelligence is the best thing since sliced bread. Look at history, Mr. Rush. The intelligence levels have DECREASED since evolution started being taught in our schools. Mr. Rush misinterprets the Bible by saying God is against art. Read it again, Mr. Rush, if you ever have. Look at the tabernacle and temple. There was much art in both of them and the temple of Solomon was considered the most beautiful building in the world. God told them what to put in those places of worship. God is an artist (His art is all around us and is us) why would HE be against creativity? Mr. Rush’s point on speech was a great one. The atheist’s belief that he can say whatever he wants to and shouldn’t have to worry about offending someone is anti-social. Yes, you have freedom of speech but that doesn’t mean you should say whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s called self-control and respect. In fact, Mr. Rush’s commandments seem to stem from a lack of control and understanding (i.e. # 5, 6, and 7). This, of course, is very revealing. Prior to the teaching of evolution and the growth in atheism this country was actually a very moral country. Since then it has become a country that says “If it feels good, do it.” Through the teachings of Evolution (you’re only a more-highly evolved monkey so act like an animal) and Atheism (There is no God to be accountable to, so do what you want) this country has devolved into what we see today.
I would like to offer my services to Mr. Rush to help him understand the Word of God. It does not hold a message of hatred and bondage but a message of God’s love and freedom from sin. Yes, God is a God of judgment but His patience with man is an example to all of us. Atheism is a religion. Atheism worships the human intelligence. We have seen where that has led this country. King David told us “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1a)
Well, the election didn't go the way most of us hoped it would. What now? I can tell you that I was a little depressed this morning when I got the news. I love my country and seeing it taken down the road to socialism is very disturbing. As I went to work I was troubled thinking about where the president will take us in the next four years. One of the men at work said "what can you do?" As I worked I thought about that. What can I do? Before I left I told him that there is something I can and will do; I will pray for our president! I Timothy 2:2 commands us to pray for those in authority. Luke 6:28 commands us to pray for those that despitefully use us. God reminded me today that my hope is not in the White House. My hope is not in the Court House. My hope is in God! "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness." Praise God, I still have hope.
I gathered my family this morning and preached to them about my hope. I told my children that we might, and probably will, face persecution like what we've only read about. I told them, if so, to trust in The Lord because He will never leave us nor forsake us! Hallelujah!
It is time for Christians to wake up! Romans 13:11 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed." I believe that this election is God's judgement upon Christians for sleeping at the wheel. Maybe He will have to allow persecution so that we will do what He commanded us to do. He did that to the Church in Jerusalem, remember? If so be, then I make my stand now! No law will hinder me from preach what thus saith The Lord! No law will stop me from witnessing! No amount of time in jail will keep me from proclaiming "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!" And while I am at it nothing is going to get me down because my hope is in The Lord! Jeremiah 17:17b "...thou art my hope in the day of evil." Psalm 121:1-2 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth." Hallelujah!
I send out the call to all Christians, pray for the president that God might change his heart. Proverbs 21:1 " The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." Take time to fast for our country. Mark 9:29 "And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." Get busy for The Lord! John 9:4 "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." That day is coming quickly. Might we be able to say that we lived in victory. (Revelation 2:11, 26; 3:5; 21:7) God bless you as you seek to honor Him.
Each of us deals with the threat of temptation every day. Temptation has been Satan’s tool since Adam and Eve and the method of attack has not changed, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (I John 2:16) Jesus was tempted in every way that we have ever been tempted, the difference is He never succumbed to the temptations. Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” So, how do we overcome this threat in our lives and live the life of victory that Jesus wants us to live?
First, you must have the right strength. Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” If we try to combat temptation in our flesh we will fall prey to it every time. To effectively fight temptation you must be a Christian. By this I mean someone who has repented of their sins and trusted in Jesus alone for salvation. Psalm 144:1 “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:” David knew in himself he could not fight temptations but he needed God in his life to be his strength and to teach him to fight temptation. For the Christian, the Bible tells us in Ephesians 4:22-24 that there is a war going on inside of us. When we accept Jesus as our Saviour the “old us” still wants to control our actions but the “new us” wants Jesus to control them. So, who wins? That is up to you. Whichever person you feed the most is the one that will be strongest.
That brings us to the second point; you must have the right standards. The Bible tells us in Psalm 101:3 “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” David gives us the proper standard to combat temptation. Most people will fight certain temptations over and over again and the reason they never have victory over the temptation is that they keep the temptation around them! If you have a problem with pornography why do you keep watching movies with nudity in them? If you have a problem with alcohol why do you hang out with friends when they’re drinking? David says that the way to fight temptation is with the right standards; don’t put the wickedness in front of you and don’t hang around people that do those things you struggle with.
The third thing we must have to overcome temptation is the right stamina. Temptation will not stop attacking just because we defeat it once. When Joseph was sold into slavery his master’s wife tried to tempt him to commit adultery with her. Joseph told her no but the Bible says in Genesis 39:10 “And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.” She came back every day to tempt him again. To Joseph’s credit, and for our example, Joseph never succumbed but instead he ran away from the temptation. To overcome temptation you must fight it every day, sometimes you just have to run away from it.
Have you noticed the signs around Salida that read “Jesus Christ is Lord in Salida”? That is a bold statement for one to make. According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary the word lord means “A master; a person possessing supreme power and authority; a ruler; a governor.” As I read that the question comes to mind “Is Jesus Christ REALLY Lord in Salida?”
For Jesus to be the master in Salida would mean that all would claim Him as such. It would mean that every bar, liquor store, and marijuana clinic would be shut down; that every person in town would have repented of their sins of adultery, fornication, sodomy, lasciviousness, idolatry, paganism, and even their lying! The Bible quotes Jesus as saying “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) The Bible is full of the things that Jesus commanded His servants to do but I think the one that wraps it all together is found in 1 Peter 1:15-16 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” I can tell you without a doubt that Jesus Christ is NOT Lord in Salida. That sign was made to make people feel good in their religion while those same people live a hypocritical life! If you have that sign up at your house and you are not faithful to God’s house don’t call Him your Lord. If you have that sign up and you’re down at the Tenderfoot Tavern on Friday night don’t call Him your Lord!
Many will say that there is nothing wrong with what they are doing. They will say God is a God of love and He does not judge. Obviously you don’t read your Bible. The word “judge” is used 177 times in the King James Bible. The first mention is found in Genesis 15:14 and it is God speaking saying He will judge. The last mention of the word “judge” is found in Revelation 19:11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.” Again, this is speaking of Jesus so the first and last mention of the word “judge” is talking about God judging. Yes, He is a God of love. I John 4:8b tells us “God is Love” but the Bible also tells us that God is a God of judgment! II Timothy 4:1 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;” & Isaiah 61:8a “For I the LORD love judgment…” Proverbs 6:16, Isaiah 61:8, Jeremiah 44:4, Zechariah 8:17, & Revelation 2:6 & 15 all tell us that God hates sin! Many verses have shown us that certain sins are an abomination to Him which means it makes Him sick! Sin is prevalent in Salida and as such means that Jesus is not Lord of this town.
The good news is that Jesus not only wants to be Lord of Salida but He wants to be your Lord. The Bible tells us in Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repent is “to sorrow or be pained for sin, as a violation of God's holy law”. I plead with all people, Repent! Don’t wait! Tomorrow may be too late!
Last week we talk about the problem in American churches today and that was the lack of true Gospel preaching in the pulpits. That problem is a direct link to the second problem I mentioned and that is the lack of preaching from God’s people.
Now the word preach has two different definitions and both are used in the Word of God. The first is what we discussed last week and according to Webster’s 1828 dictionary is “To discourse on the gospel way of salvation and exhort to repentance; to discourse on evangelical truths and exhort to a belief of them and acceptance of the terms of salvation” in other words to preach in the position of a pastor, missionary, or evangelist. This is a ministry that, according to I Timothy 3:2, is only for qualified men (“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…”) It is hard to be the “husband of one wife” and be a woman.
The second definition is “to proclaim.” All Christians, men and women, are to proclaim the Gospel by telling others about Jesus Christ. If you will not tell your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and strangers about Jesus you might want to check up on your salvation. Christ gave us a promise and a commission in Acts 1:8 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” This commission is given to the local church which is made up of the individual Christians that have joined with that church. This means each of us is to proclaim the Gospel starting at home (our Jerusalem), then our Judea (our nation), into Samaria (our neighboring countries), and to the uttermost parts of the world! This is done through your personal witnessing and inviting folks to your church and then through the missions program of your church. Giving the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a person that does not know Jesus as their personal Saviour is the most important work that you can do for Jesus Christ.
Another way of witnessing is through your life and how you live it. This is often referred to as “lifestyle evangelism”. I must stress that this will never replace and was never meant to replace verbal witnessing, but how you live your life will give credence to your verbal witness. Let’s put it this way, if I were to come and tell you that Jesus loves you and He can wash away your sins and give you a new life and while I tell you this I am drinking a beer or smoking a cigarette would you believe much in that “life changing” talk? No, because anyone can see that the Bible teaches us in I Corinthians 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” and in Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” The Bible goes a step further and says “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also…” (Habakkuk 2:15a) Our lives ought to reflect the change that Christ made in our hearts. To many “Christians” today are not proclaiming the Gospel either through their mouth or through their living. America needs preaching from God’s pulpits and from God’s people.
There is a major problem in churches today. That problem is the lack of the preaching of God’s Word. The great Apostle Paul admonished the younger preacher Timothy to “Preach the word…” (II Timothy 4:2) Romans 15:4 tell us “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” The Bible is given as an example and for the learning of all Christians. It teaches us that we should all be bold in our witness for the Lord and in our preaching of the Word of God (Acts 4:31 “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”). As I said, there is a problem in churches today. This problem is two fold, (1) lack of preaching from God’s Pulpits and (2) lack of preaching from God’s People.
The first problem is the reason for the second problem. Preaching is God’s method of delivering the Gospel (1Corinthians 1:21 “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Titus 1:3a “But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching…”). God gives His churches pastors to preach the Word of God to His people (Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”). These Men of God are to fulfill certain requirements found in I Timothy 3:1-7 and in Titus 1:4-9 and if they do not meet these requirements they should NOT be preaching in a pulpit.
Now, too many preachers are preaching “thus saith Dr. Boastalot” instead of preaching “thus saith the Lord”! We hear them talk about the reasoning of men, their experiences, some feel good stories and very little, if any, of the Word of God. Now, quoting a man and telling a story or an experience that gives some light to what one is preaching is one thing, but more often than not it is more of those than the Word of God that is spoken. The Bible says “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” (I Corinthians 1:18) Our example from Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles is preaching! Matthew 3:1 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,” Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Acts 4:33 “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” If a man stands in a pulpit, before a congregation of people, and will not declare “thus saith the Lord” with conviction and without apology that man is not fit to be a pastor!
America is in a great spiritual decline. The need for America today is not necessarily a new president. The need for America today is some preachers with backbone! Men who will boldly stand before their church and say “thus saith the Lord”! Preachers must stop prancing around sin, and being in sin themselves, and start preaching against it! “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)
Problem #2 will be discussed next week.
Just wanted to take a moment and let folks know that my dad, Michael E. Thornsley, graduated to Glory on Friday May 4th at 12:45am. He was a faithful servant of the Lord, husband, father, and grandfather. We will miss him a lot but praise God for the Blessed Hope that we have in Jesus Christ! I WILL see my dad again.
His funeral will be on Friday May 11th at 10:00am at First Baptist Church of Peaceful Valley in Colorado Springs, CO. We will be streaming the service live at www.ustream.tv/channel/fbcpv. Remember the time is Mountain Time Zone.
My mom has requested that donations be sent instead of flowers. The donations are for the church plant here in Salida and may be sent to Old Paths Independent Baptist Church 329 W. Hwy 50 Salida, CO 81201. Thank God for a Christian mother that wants to help God's work.
Thank you all for your prayers. I will post more about my dad later and will also be putting a video about him on our websites. God bless.
Pastor Mike Thornsley Jr.
Now, I want everyone to understand that I believe very strongly in freedom of Conscience. If one wants to believe different than I, so be it. I also believe that I have the right to preach my faith and try to convert others to the Lord but, a true Christian knows that the Bible is very much against the idea of mixing religions or what is known today as ecumenicalism.
The Bible is very clear about what God thinks of ecumenicalism: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you…” (II Corinthians 6:14-17) Belial means “worthlessness” and is a Biblical epithet for Satan. In the verses above the Apostle Paul is linking unbelievers with unrighteousness, darkness, and Satan. This is not saying that unbelievers are the devil but that their father, knowingly or unknowingly, is the devil. (John 8:44a “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.”) The Biblical term infidel refers not only to non-“Christian” religions but even to those that consider themselves Christian yet preach a different Gospel than what the Bible teaches (i.e. Jesus is not God, The blood is not important, salvation other than by grace through faith). Galatians 1:8 “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Ecumenicalism is nothing more than Satan’s work to unite true Christians with false religions in order to make Christianity ineffective in reaching the world for Christ. Fundamentalism was the beginning of this movement. From fundamentalism Christians moved to modernism and neo-evangelicalism each movement taking churches closer to the world and false religion. “The church has become worldly and the world has become churchy.”
My friend, I am writing this article to help born again Christians to understand that we are to be a holy and peculiar people, separated unto the Lord (Romans 12:1; Ephesians 1:4; I Peter 1:15-16; Titus 2:14; I Peter 2:9). If you are not a born again Christian this will make no sense to you and most likely you will be upset by what I have said. I just want you to know that Jesus loves you and wants to make you one of His children but He hates our sins and must judge those that will not except His forgiveness through His shed blood. The Bible says it this way: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) May you let God’s Holy Spirit speak to your heart.
Many of you have seen the bumper stickers that spell out the word “Coexist” using the religious symbols of various religions. The word means “to exist at the same time.” It is obvious that all religions are existing at the same time but those with the bumper stickers are implying that all religions should work together and even become a one world religion.
If you are a Christian the Bible has a very explicit command from God to us: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you”. (II Corinthians 6:17) The Bible is full of verses with this same command to be separate from the world. This means we are not to be like the world. We are to be a “peculiar people” according to Titus 2:14 and I Peter 2:9. This does not mean strange but rather different. We are not to talk, act, look, or be in any way like the lost person. This is not to make ourselves out to be better than they, because we know that we are just sinners saved by grace. No, this is to show them the difference Christ can make in their life through salvation. If we have not had a change in our lives that can be seen from the outside then how can the lost know about the change that has happened on the inside? I say this to introduce my topic, “Why a Christian Should Not Celebrate Halloween.”
Now, some of you are saying “Come on! Halloween is just innocent fun.” Well, I could go into the historical reasons to not celebrate Halloween. The historical records of Halloween are varied and many but all can be traced to pagan worship. These same traditions have come through time to today’s activities surrounding Halloween. There is not one thing connected to Halloween that is holy or Christ honoring. Let me name a couple of things about Halloween that clearly show that it is the devil’s holiday and therefore should not be celebrated by Christians.
First, the holiday’s main theme is death, witches, demons, murderers, and sorcerers. What Christian can honestly claim that celebrating this wickedness is ok? The Bible is very clear about these wicked practices. Deuteronomy 18:10-12 “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” I Corinthians 10:20b “…I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” Revelation 21:8 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Secondly, and you might think this is small, but the main celebration time of Halloween is during the night. John 3:19 tells us “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Wickedness loves darkness! When I was a boy living in Missouri, every year we would find one or two sheep in the woods that had been stolen and sacrificed by devil worshippers on Halloween night. It always happened at night! Satan loves the night because his wickedness, done through people, can be hidden from sight so that people will say, “Oh, it’s just good, clean fun.” These things make God sick! Therefore the celebrating of them makes God sick! You cannot be holy and celebrate the devil’s holiday and God said “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16b)