Searching for the Truth in the King James Bible;
Finding it, and passing it on to you.




EDITOR:
Steve Van Nattan

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HOW CAN YOU TELL
YOU ARE IN BAD COMPANY?

By Steve Van Nattan


1. They are critics instead of taking criticism.

An example of this is found in many preachers and Bible teachers. The Bible is a critical book-- it examines us as we read it, and it gives directions to us to alter our behavior.

Hebrews 4:12 (KJV) For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

You see, the word "discerner" in Greek is kritikos. From this word we get the English word "critic". This word is used in the Bible in Greek only once. It is teaching us that the Word of God is critical of us, not we of the Word.

Christendom is flooded, from Whiskeypalians to Fundamental Baptists, with snob jerk brats who reverse the process. They are critics of the Word of God. They tell us certain texts are mistranslated or were not in the original Greek, which neither they nor any of their friends ever saw. I also notice that these critics look quite elated as a long introduction is given before they speak to an audience.

The same must be said for all politicians. They are master critics of any other politician. They talk and talk about themselves, and then try to act humble later. What a circus. You do NOT need to make a friend of critics of the Word of God, and people who talk about themselves all the time.

2. They have no sense of wonder.

I don't know about you, but I get very bored with someone who does not like to step out the door and examine a flower or bird they have not seen before. 

We had a friend who was a woodsman of the first order. He hunted for food for the table, and he hunted coons to sell the pelts. One day he was sitting on a stump in the woods waiting for deer to come along, and out of a thicket stepped a huge buck with an enormous rack of antlers on his head. Our friend was startled, and he sat and just admired the perfection of the the animal for some time. The buck moved on, and he said he felt real stupid because he forgot he was looking for lunch, and there it stood waiting to be shot.

That man, in my book, is the kind of man I want to be around. I like that warrior / hunter who could step up on the wall and say:

Psalms 19:1 (KJV) The heavens declare the glory of God' and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

3. They are the center of their world.

Many people are drawn to people who are egomaniacs. We have seen this in history in men like Rasputin of Russia, Adolph Hitler, Winston Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt, and Barak Obama. You may wonder how I can lump all these men together so carelessly. It is only because they were egomaniacs. Some served those who exalted them, while others massacred them.

My point is this-- when you make a friend of an egomaniac, you are gambling. Will he be an Adolph Hitler, or will he be a Teddy Roosevelt? It is far better to admit that you are a pretty ordinary person after all, and make friends of pretty ordinary other people. There are not so many surprises.

4. They expect the worst.

I find that bad friends look down the road and see evil every time. They expect unseen people in high places plotting to destroy their lives, and they collect all the evil they can from Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. They follow politicians who chatter on and on about how evil the present administration is. They are also advocates of violence and rebellion, though they may not actually get violent themselves.

Remember, my friend, you will become like these people. They are the type who crave to make you into a dark minded fear monger.

5. They believe there is a God, but they keep him in a box.

This kind of person is the Christian's most dangerous friend. What they believe on Sunday is put away in the closet the other six days of the week. They may have some restraint, and they may have alleged "standards," but their heart is really looking for self-gratification and a buzz for the flesh. These are the Fundamentalist preachers who preach on short hair and long hem lines, but in a motel on the way to a preachers' convention, they order a porn movie on the cable TV. 

You may never learn the depths of evil in the heart of such a friend, but I promise you this-- if you hang out with them long enough, you will become like them.

 

6. They have no hope.

I am sick of alleged friends who see nothing but disaster coming. 

They believe every unsaved person they meet is trying to castrate their soul. They see evil in every news story. They are suspicious of good news, assuming there is an untold fact that makes the story very bad news indeed.

These "friends" have moved on even lower than number 4 above-- they have given up hope altogether.  

When this sort will not let me introduce some good news, or a positive factor into an ongoing discussion, I shuck them off. I will NOT attend a church where the men are all suspicious and talking about evil terrors lurking just outside the door. My God is out there too, and he is in charge. He can take my straight into the wicked's camp, and I can have a good day there.

Psalms 23:5 (KJV) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

These kinds of persons will do nothing but bring you down. They will add to any tension or stress you already have, and they will not defend you behind your back. They may seem loyal, but they will betray you if you cease to be of use to them in promoting themselves. You are in the most danger when you identify one of these people inside the Lord's Church. They have a Judas spirit.

The most glaring example of the above sort of person is politicians. We watch them as they exalt themselves, and, in our gullibility, we try to glean off urban legends about their ordinariness and sincerity. But, it is all a facade, an act, and they eventually all fall in our eyes and betray us.

If you have friends whom you use who feed your ego and give you the warm fuzzies, then you are one of the above people, and you are an artificial human being. You have a shriveled up soul, and your mind is dark and suspicious. Personally, I would avoid you like the plague.

Is there hope for a person of the above sort? 

Yes, but only after a total make over from outside themselves. 

"One cannot become the sort of person he hates and does not understand." 

Would someone remember I said that please? I like it a lot :-) Bit of ego I suspect......

If I am talking about you, then about now you are hot with rage and consider me a cynic and a bigot. Not so. I am trying to slap you hard so that, just maybe, you will repent and want to be delivered of your self-love drug addiction.

What will you have to do to be MADE over?

1. Admit you are a brat and a dark soul.

2. Find someone to follow who is totally the opposite of you. Find a teacher, and become a disciple.

The problem is, you do not need to find another person to follow who is very much like you. Well, there happens to be a teacher who is willing to disciple you to become a new person, and he is VERY MUCH unlike you.

He has published a book that you need to read. It will change you into the kind of person you crave to be:  READ HERE

It has been my experience in life that I find very few people with whom I really connect comfortably. I think this is very much because our society today is driven by trends and fashions rather than by relationships. I find that when I am in a group of preachers who seem to believe what I believe, still, there are the egomaniacs and power crazy brats. They bore me cross-eyed.

After driving 150 miles to a pastor's day retreat, I have often wished I had gone and had coffee with some good old boy back in my neighborhood. I might well be in the company of a man who has no zeal for the Gospel, but he is not trying to use me, and the moment, to climb higher up the social scale.

I feel guilty saying such a thing until I remember who my best friend is and who he liked to spend time with. Jesus Christ, having all the authority and divine attributes to make and rule the whole universe, spent most of his time with fishermen and sinners. Startling, is it not?

Matthew 9:9 (KJV) And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 
10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

Matthew was a tax collector and hated by his fellow Jews for working for the Roman government. Yet, Jesus WANTED him as a disciple. The result, in verse 10, is that Matthew attracted more tax collectors and sinners to hang out with Jesus. The religious establishment did NOT approve of this rabbi behaving in this way:

Mark 2:16 (KJV) And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? 
17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Jesus did not waste his time on those religious snobs who thought their "church" was clean and tidy and the only safe place for a good man to be. 

It is only dangerous to be in the company of sinners if they are changing me into a sinner. On the other hand, many sinners find that the price of sin wearies them, and they leave the bar or the sluts, from time to time, to have a cup of coffee with a Bible believer. It is like an oasis away from the artificial thrills of the driven life.

Here is a thought that came to me while I went away from the desk and my mind pondered this discussion-- Jesus did not hang out with publicans and sinners all the time unless they WANTED to be with him. Christ was the eternal God, he was sinless, he had on his divine mind thought processes that, if he brought them up, would be beyond human understanding. Yet, whatever he talked about, those Galilean good old boys stayed and stayed for more. Some even "stayed to pray."

The Apostle Paul spoke of this another way:

1 Corinthians 9:20 (KJV) And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.
22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

A word of warning-- The Pharisees will hate you if you are the friend of sinners and good old boys. They will assume you are being made into a sinner. A preacher once told me he never went to cafes because the people and language was to wicked.

Personally, the day I was invited up to the round table at the local cafe in Michigan was, to me, the choicest victory in my ministry. Did I ever do war with devils? Yes, but, you see, those devils were not friends-- the guys at the round table were real friends, and to be considered a friend of theirs was priceless. They knew exactly what I stood for, but they believed I liked them. No other kind of person was invited to the round table for coffee.

If that is all I ever am to this world, then so be it. When I think of some of the friends I have had along the road of life, I am blessed with memories. But, I will tell you this-- some of those friends were devils. Some of them had issues that were mind boggling. Why was I there? Answer: It is very simple. It seems that, at least for a small time, I was Jesus to them.

This thought is not arrogant of me-- it is extremely humbling to me because I know very well what a sinner I am. Only when Christ has any authority over my life do I become of any use to him. And, you know, when those moments happened, I was totally unaware of it. Sometimes it was many years later that I learned that I was Jesus to someone when they write a note and thank me for being there. That friendship was used by God the Holy Spirit to move that sinner along the way to Calvary. To me it was just a moment with a good friend and some good coffee.

Colossians 1:27 (KJV) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

If no one ever mistakes you for Jesus Christ, my friend, then you blew it bad.

So, if you are a preacher on the way through central Texas, and if you need a break from the snob show of your pastors' fellowship, send me email, and we will meet for coffee. Otherwise, I will be "about my father's business" keeping up friendships that are much too nasty for some people.

 

 

 

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