Friday, June 7, 2013

Grave Men - Part Two

Joseph Herrin (06-07-2012)

Proverbs 27:6
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

One of the great obstacles standing in the way of an overcoming life is the proclivity of Christians to set truth and love in opposition to one another. Many have come to believe that truth and love are antagonistic to one another. This largely stems from a false understanding of love.

A majority of believers today view any action or word that results in suffering, pain, or offense as un-loving. It has become taboo to speak anything that would offend another individual, for this is regarded as being a failure of love. The end result of this thinking is a false conclusion that love must be tolerant of every action and belief whether it is true or false, holy or profane.

The media, school systems, and the government, have alike been used as instruments of Satan to inculcate the masses with this false view of love. People who stand for truth by decrying the evil, or falseness of such things as abortion, homosexuality, or the Islamic religion are decried as “haters.” Laws have been enacted in many nations that have made it a criminal offense to speak out against immorality. To suggest that homosexuality is deviant, unnatural, sexual behavior is judged to be “hate speech.” In certain countries that have historically been considered Christian it is now a violation of the law to read, or cite, certain passages from the Scriptures such as the following:

Romans 1:26-32
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

The words of the apostle above are regarded as an example of “hate speech.” Soon, it will be a crime in America to cite such passages publicly. The attacks on speaking truth are subtle and cunning. Satan is the mastermind behind them. It was a great achievement of wickedness to associate truth with hate, while redefining love to mean “tolerant.” The Scriptures declare that “God is love.” At the same time, the Scriptures reveal that Yahweh is not tolerant. Yahweh makes no compromise with lies, error, or sin. In Him is no darkness, nor shadow of turning.

The attack on truth is accelerating. In America we have recently observed how a simple declaration of truth can elicit violent reactions from government and society. Last year, Dan Cathy, the CEO of Chick-Fil-A, gave an interview in an obscure Christian publication that resulted in a firestorm of retaliation from both the public and private sector. Speaking to a reporter for Baptist Press News, Cathy shared the following:

Some have opposed the company's support of the traditional family. "Well, guilty as charged," said Cathy when asked about the company's position.

"We are very much supportive of the family -- the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

"We operate as a family business... our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that," Cathy emphasized.

"We intend to stay the course," he said. "We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles."

The only questionable statement in the citation above is the last line that says, “We live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.” As Cathy learned all too well, one can only do so if they are willing to suffer vociferous attack, to face the loss of business, and to be branded as haters. The response to these seemingly innocuous statements by the Chick-Fil-A CEO was swift and shocking. The Mayor of Boston posted a letter urging Chick-fil-A to “stay out of Boston.” The mayors of Chicago and San Francisco followed suit, telling Chick-fil-A they are not welcome in their cities.

It should be noted that the mayor of Chicago is Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff. Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters are also located in the city of Chicago, in a building whose zip code is 60606. Following is a quote from Rahm Emanuel.

“Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values,” Emanuel said Wednesday according to the Sun-Times.

Vandalism to a Chick-Fil-A Restaurant in California

Major universities across the nation had petitions floated by students and staff members to remove Chick-Fil-A restaurants from their campuses and facilities. Serving Chick-Fil-A food in any type of public venue became a politicized subject, as a recently promoted Army Master Sergeant found out when he served Chick-Fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party. His support of the Biblical definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman resulted in a reprimand and threats of judicial action.

The presence of a Satanic conspiracy in all of this is readily discernible. If only the promotion of immoral behavior is legal, while the promotion of moral values is criminalized, then one of the last restraints against a decline into absolutete moral decadence will be removed. Satan is attacking truth through the media, through government legislation and the courts, and through societal indoctrination. Men and women who speak truth are finding that they are swiftly branded as haters, intolerant, and are in need of sensitivity training. One can see the day swiftly approaching when speaking any truth that offends others will be branded as mental illness.

A recent post on CNET contained the following statements:

Oxford University researcher Kathleen Taylor believes that neuroscience can begin to affect -- with a view to, perhaps, curing -- human beings of their most extreme beliefs.

She gave a presentation this week at the U.K.'s Hay Festival ...

As the Huffington Post reports, Taylor thinks that there are certain beliefs that might soon be treated as illnesses.

She said: "Someone who has for example become radicalized to a cult ideology -- we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance."

In her view, certain beliefs cause "a heck of a lot of damage."

She referenced not only religious fundamentalism... but also behavioral mores such as spanking children.

In pointing these things out, my intent is not to instill fear about what is coming. Rather it is to declare to my brothers and sisters that the message of truth presented by Christians is under great pressure. This pressure has been exerted for generations. It has resulted in rendering the gospel of Christ impotent. Evangelism has been reduced to an appeal to man’s selfishness. All mention of judgment, of the wrath of God, and a requirement for holy and righteous living, has been expunged from the testimony of the saints. It has become unpopular, even unacceptable, to tell people they are sinners who will experience the wrath of God if they do not repent. All that is left is to coddle people, to make appeals based upon some false notion that Christ came to make men’s life materially prosperous, to help them enjoy themselves more fully.

I remember as a child back in the late 1960s and early 1970s being introduced to The Four Spiritual Laws as a tract to be used in evangelism. The little booklet begins with the statement “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” The tract goes on to explain how sin is keeping men and women from enjoying the wonderful plan God has for them. The presentation is totally man-centric. Its appeal is selfish. “You are missing out!” Absent is the message that “Your sin is an offense to God.” I cannot imagine John the Baptist using such an approach.

Matthew 3:7-12
"You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

John was a grave man. One might wonder that there were any at all who were able to receive his words. Despite the fact that John performed no miracles, and the only thing he did was proclaim a message of repentance and a warning that the kingdom of God was at hand, multitudes went out to listen to him. Many repented, gripped by the fear of Yahweh. By comparison, today’s preaching is insipid, impotent, bland, and is leading no one to reconciliation with God.

Having sat through dozens of chapel services both at the Rescue Mission and in jail, I have found that the majority of people coming in to speak are offering that which is worse than useless. In many instances their message leaves men more hardened in their sin. I have observed ministers assure wicked man, enslaved to evil desires, that they are guaranteed of going to heaven when they die because they have expressed belief in Jesus Christ. What folly! What tragic deceit! The word of God warns:

Ephesians 5:3-6
But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Galatians 6:7-8
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.

I John 3:7-8
Little children, let no one deceive you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil...

There is no salvation apart from transformation. Christians are commanded to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” I have sat through services where many “empty words” were spoken. My spirit burned within me as I have listened to people who call themselves Christians tell men and women that all they need to do is confess belief in Christ and they are assured of going to heaven when they die. The world is filled with men who honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him.

During my time at the Macon Rescue Mission Yahweh introduced me to a man named Randy Simmons. In Randy’s life I have observed a genuine work of transformation. Randy came to the Mission as a broken man, enslaved to alcohol and various other substances. Yahweh has done a progressive work in Randy’s life. He first delivered him from alcohol, then from pharmaceuticals. He then convicted him of his use of chewing tobacco. More recently Yahweh has been dealing with Randy about the consumption of caffeine. The battle has been fierce. It has been back and forth at times, but I have watched Yahweh persevere in this brother’s life as one by one enslaving desires have been conquered. The fear of God has proven mighty and effectual, keeping Randy engaged in the struggle.

Randy has traveled with me across the country on some of my speaking tours. During the past few years he has remained in Georgia where he ministers to the homeless on the streets of Macon. Randy has given freely of all his substance to help feed, clothe, and care for the poor. He has carried men who were at death’s door to the hospital. He has sat up all night in the emergency room waiting for some man who was experiencing the results of alcohol poisoning to be seen and admitted for treatment.

Skipper was one man with whom Randy had frequent involvement. Randy very much liked Skipper. When Skipper was sober he was a very humble man. He was always courteous, and very thankful for the smallest things people would do for him. I knew that Skipper enjoyed doing crossword puzzles. On a number of occasions when I went to visit him I took along a large print crossword puzzle book. You would think that I had gone to the moon and back to get it, for Skipper was genuine and effusive in his gratitude.

Skipper heard many of my sermons in the Mission chapel where I exhorted the men to repent, and spoke to them of Yahweh’s provision of deliverance through His Son. Randy continued to declare this same message to him. On a number of occasions Skipper got in such bad shape physically from his drinking that it looked like he might die. Randy impressed upon him the need to repent and begin living a life pleasing to God. There were occasions when Randy and Veronica got Skipper off the street and set-up in a room. Skipper received a monthly check from the government. This made it too easy for Skipper to live a life of drunkenness. Other street people were attracted to him. They would come to his room and drink. Some would do drugs. Skipper was repeatedly robbed. Unable to pay his rent he would always go back to living on the streets.

At times Randy would become frustrated with Skipper. He was vexed that Skipper squandered so many opportunities to get his life right with the Lord. Randy pressed hard at times, telling Skipper he needed to act now, to not hesitate, for Randy had seen men who spurned the admonition of God end up being disciplined in some very distressing ways.

A few months ago Randy and Veronica were able to get Skipper admitted to a detox program. Skipper got dried out, but when he returned to Macon it was only a short time before he was back to his old habits and haunts. During the last couple months of his life Skipper stayed in an abandoned warehouse that was inhabited by a number of street people. One who stayed there was a large, homosexual man who was violent and threatening toward others. Randy had a number of encounters with this man, and knew that he was bad news. Skipper did not have to live at the warehouse. He had been helped to get a room a number of times, but he always lost it through poor decisions and an uncontrolled appetite for alcohol.

The local police were suspicious of Skipper’s death, for he had bruising on his body. They interviewed the homeless people who stayed at the warehouse and learned that Terry, the violent homosexual male, had thrown Skipper off of the loading dock the day before Skipper died. Skipper ruptured his spleen and was bleeding internally. The next day Skipper died.

Randy demonstrated the love of God by feeding him, clothing him, getting him cleaned up when he soiled himself, taking him to the hospital when he was nearly dead. Yet, Randy also manifested the love of God by warning Skipper of the consequences of continuing on in a besotted lifestyle. He urged Skipper fervently to repent and begin living for God.

Skipper died on Friday. The following Monday Randy went to a downtown ministry that feeds the homeless. The man running the outreach normally says a few words before feeding the people. This day he made mention of Skipper, for all the men and women on the street knew of him. This man assured them all that Skipper was now in the arms of the Lord, for Skipper was a servant of God. This statement was patently false. Randy’s spirit was provoked when he heard these words.

Randy made his way over to a table where 8 or 9 homeless people were sitting. As he sat with them Randy told them that the statement the man spoke was not right. He told them that Skipper was not serving God. Randy shared that the Scriptures state that no drunkard will inherit the kingdom of God.

I Corinthians 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Randy thought perhaps some would become angry by his words, yet no one contradicted what he shared. Randy spoke words of sober truth. With this man they all knew having recently died, it was a moment for sober reflection.

Ecclesiastes 7:1-5
It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart... The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning, while the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure. It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man than for one to listen to the song of fools.

Why did the man running the outreach tell those gathered that Skipper was in the arms of Christ? I do not doubt that he was in part influenced by the pervasive pressure of society that impresses upon mankind that the worst evil of all is to offend someone. Tolerance, and acceptance of every person, every lifestyle, no matter how decadent, is considered “Christian.” Yet, this man did the homeless people no favor by assuring them that a man who not turned his life over to God, who never broke free of the shackles of sin, was abiding peacefully in heaven in the arms of Christ. Rather than promoting the fear of God, his words served only to further sear the consciences of men and women who themselves need to be loosed from sin’s shackles.

Randy called me that night. He was somewhat despondent, for it is difficult to always be the one who seems to be bearing a difficult message. This is made more trying when one is surrounded by Christians who refuse to speak difficult words of sober judgment. It gives an appearance that there are kind and compassionate Christians, and then there are those who are harsh and unloving. Yet, in the eyes of God it is not the ones who avoid the hard sayings, who shy away from speaking words of reproof and rebuke, that are loving. We are exhorted as disciples of Christ to “speak the truth in love.” Leave out truth and you will also be forsaking love.

II Timothy 4:1-2
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Yahshua, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.

Christ Yahshua is to judge the living and the dead. His judgment will be without partiality. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. When was the last time you heard a message like this? You won’t hear it from the happy ministers of prosperity on T.V.. Indeed, such words are becoming increasingly rare. They seem to be from a bygone era.

Are you afraid to speak truth? Have you compromised by becoming tolerant of sin, idolatry, and immoral lifestyles? Has the message of truth delivered to you in the Scriptures been corrupted by the pressure of society to not judge, to not offend others?

Randy cuts the large yard on his grandfather’s property. Some weeks back Randy’s grandfather purchased a new riding mower. It was an unusual event for his grandfather to make this purchase, for it was a costly mower. Randy recognized that the Father’s hand was in it. Vehicles represent ministry, and the act of cutting grass is symbolic of God cutting away at the flesh of man.

Isaiah 40:6-7
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of Yahweh blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.

Whether one calls it flesh cutting, or the crucifixion of the flesh, man’s flesh must be reduced in order that a spiritual creation might arise. The ministers of the cross are given a sober task. It is often a thankless task, one met with great opposition. To succeed these ministers must set their faces as flint. They must keep Yahweh’s desires uppermost in mind, not seeking to be man-pleasers.

Randy perceived a parable in the mower his grandfather selected. It is manufactured by a company called Gravely.

Gravely Mower (Randy is NOT pictured)

The word “Gravely” is defined as follows:

•    serious and solemn
•    full of or suggesting danger
•    important; crucial
•    sober

Paul wrote, “I solemnly charge you...” Peter stated, “Be of sound judgment and sober spirit...” The issues before us are important, they are serious and crucial. Do you feel beaten down at times because you are proclaiming a message of sober judgment when all around you are speaking only pleasant words? Are you accused of being a wet blanket, of being a rain cloud while others are partying? Let it rain! Let the rain become a flood! Satan would seek to quench the voice of conscience, to silence the message of judgment. Do not let him succeed. Be resolute. Be committed. Though all around you decry you as full of woe, a messenger of doom, do not let them silence you. The end of all things is at hand.

Only those who have died to the flesh will experience resurrection life. Grave men bury the most bodies.

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Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063


JMD said...

Unfortunately, I have sat through funeral services that were puzzling as to whom had died. By the time the eulogies were finished the person I knew for many years was not the one to be buried. Confusing? Yes, and I might add it was not edifying or challenging to those in attendance.

Joseph Herrin said...

Hello JMD,

I agree that one of the most common venues for false statements, lies, and deceitful statements to be spoken is at funerals. It seems that Christian men and women, including most ministers, believe it is acceptable to lie at funerals for it seems socially unacceptable to speak anything other than positive things about the deceased.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

gijane02 said...

Hello Brother Herrin,

This post brought to mind a song by the group Acapella called 'Teaching the Truth In Love'

Are we teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
Are we holding pure motives,
Showing that we care
Are we teaching the truth in love

A man came to my Jesus
Telling all that he had done
To fulfill the good commandments
He knew every single one
But Jesus said there's something
That indeed he did lack
The savior told the truth
He didn't hold the message back

He was teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
While holding pure motives
And showing that He cared
He was teaching the truth in love

A woman caught in evil and without an alibi
The truth, so very obvious, made no attempt to lie
With all the foes against her how she felt so all alone
Until Jesus asked the people who would throw the first stone

He was teaching the truth in love
Telling it like it is
While holding pure motives
And showing that He cared
He was teaching the truth in love, in love, in love, in love

Sometimes it's hard to know exactly how we are to share
With our Master's words of confidence, directly, do we dare?
Should we water down the message, should we tell them only parts?
Will they see Him in our message, will they see Him in our hearts?

I ask for your added prayers to speak the truth in love during this week. We are visiting my sister-in-law and my nephew and the absence of his father in his life is causing him to chose destructive behaviors. He is only six years old and he came close to being expelled from school. I am praying for boldness to share with them the need for Christ in their lives. Thank you for your posts.