Thursday, October 20, 2022

Personal From... What Is True Spirituality?

Leonard V Johnson    About

As I have written and given sermons about – there is a grave increase in Satan the Devil’s persecutions upon God’s chosen begotten children – worldwide – as we get ever closer to the end of this present evil age! In this Personal I’d like to speak about just what is true spirituality? But first: We here at the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries, and this certainly affects our affiliated churches, have been persecuted for Christ Jesus and His living Word, Truth, and Plan for the redemption of all mankind; and I’m certain that we shall continue to be persecuted until our final breath. The most popular and influential social media platform around the world – Facebook – has silenced our Lord Jesus Christ’s voice. The Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries' Facebook page was “disabled” because they say that we went against their “Community Standards.” Having not been given the chance to challenge their decision, we were told, “We have already reviewed this decision and it can’t be reversed.” I can’t even imagine what it was that we did that was so vile and against their “Community Standards” except boldly and confidently preaching the living word of God, the Truth of God, and the ultimate Plan of God!? This shouldn’t come to us as a shock, brethren, we are told by our Lord Jesus –
     ’ Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17) But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils [even deliver you up to Facebook’s “council”] and scourge you in their synagogues [their churches]. 18) You will be brought before governors and kings [and in this instance, the self-proclaimed “king of social media”] FOR MY SAKE, as a testimony [a witness] to them and to the Gentiles’ – Matthew 10:16-18.
     And, as I witness to you this day – if you, dear brethren, do not stand up for your fellow brothers and sisters that are being persecuted by this self-proclaimed “king of social media,” when he comes after you there will be no one who will stand up for you! – Amos 8:11-12. We had been boldly and confidently preaching God’s message without fear on our Facebook page – Philippians 1:14. Are other churches preaching so boldly and confidently on their pages without fear!? It’s possible, but like us, they too will eventually be silenced. However, most churches of this world compromise. They compromise with this “council” and its “king” – going only so far as to not be “locked-up” or “deleted” from social media! The righteous are to be as “bold as lions” (Proverbs 28:1), yet, prudent in all things. As I said, this world’s churches are compromising with “Babylon the great”! Did we push the envelope!?
     Well, it doesn’t take much “pushing” in this present evil age – does it!? The Apostle Paul writes – “Yes, and all who desire to live godly IN CHRIST JESUS will suffer persecution.” He goes on to warn us brethren that towards the end of this present evil age – that “evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse …” And this would include imposters for Truth, Justice, and the American Way – a time when Americans believed in America. As Robert Turner writes in the American Thinker, Americans who “saw it, flaws and all, as a source of truth and justice in its distinctly American Way. In schools public and private students daily pledged ‘allegiance to the American Flag and to the republic for which it stands.’ In history and government classes a sense of pride was instilled and the American Way was seen as valuable, meaningful and absolutely worth defending. America was to them the difference maker that had for the second time in a half century defended the world against unspeakable tyranny and oppression. Americans were rightfully proud of their country.” And, might I add, an America which proudly pledged “one nation under God”! But this new generation of Americans – and a growing (exponentially because of our southern border is open) number of illegal immigrants – do not have pride in the uniqueness and greatness of this nation. Instead, many holding onto and dwelling on early flaws that America has overcome to a great degree. “ … deceiving and being deceived. 14) But you [you and me brethren] MUST CONTINUE in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them” – 2 Timothy 3:12-14.
     A new generation with a Woke movement which has crept into a large part of the Black communities – and which has become entwined with the terrorist organization Black Lives Matter, and still yet being intertwined with the term Cancel Culture, which is not so much a racial term but an ideological one.
     But, getting to the very subject of this Personal – what is true spirituality!? I hear frequently, and I’m certain you do as well brethren, the phrase “You aren’t very spiritual! Are you!?” or “So, you think your spiritual, huh!?”
     We need to be warned against being deceived into a false standard of “spirituality.” Let us examine God’s living word – let us see our LORD God’s true Scriptural standard.

 Four Things Accepted As Being A Spiritual Person

My wife and I have had over at our home, several times, a woman who calls herself a Christian – and as I have stated before; if she was outside in a monsoon rain she would drown because her nose is so far into the air – has cultivated spiritual-sounding words and phrases which makes her appear to be spiritual. Like, “Oh, I can’t come by this Sunday, because we’ll be going to church!” Now, that may not sound that “spiritual” – but with her arrogantly marked conspicuous religiosity, it is.
     There are FOUR THINGS normally regarded as a sure sign of a spiritual person –
  • Their speech. According to what each individual considers is righteous speech.
  • Their knowledge of God’s living word. According to what each individual considers is the truth of God.
  • Their “faith.” According to what each individual considers is faith.
  • Their rigid standard of “righteousness.” According to what each individual considers is righteous.
     And I say “According to what each individual considers” because like what occurred to ancient Israel, in this present evil age it is growing that everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes – Judges 21:25. And our LORD God warns us, through the Prophet Isaiah, “’ Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!’” – Isaiah 5:21.
     A great many think that a church service – or for that matter, a sermon – is boring unless there is entertainment. My own wife admitted to me that unless there is “entertainment” like in the Black churches, she would be bored. I asked, “So, you find my sermons boring!?” I knew she couldn’t answer – she’s never watched or heard my sermons. Yet, they would certainly be boring to her, no matter how edifying, unless she was being entertained – unless I was entertaining her and full of a certain emotional enthusiasm, which is fluent in this world’s accepted spiritual phraseology – like constantly screaming, “Praise the LORD!” If such things such as 75% entertainment, a choir and an organist is present then they enjoy themselves immensely, whether they learn anything worthwhile or not.
     Of course it’s true that some people are naturally emotional. Let us see from God’s living word that emotion along with spiritual phrases are – of themselves – not the essence of true spirituality. Now, they may be a natural result, an honest and spontaneous expression of it; yet, if deliberately generated and “worked up,” it is counterfeit. And those who deal in this counterfeit spirituality insist that they are genuine! We are told by our Lord Jesus Christ, ’ You will know them by their fruits’ – Matthew 7:16; Galatians 5:19-21.
     Sadly, there are also those who do not believe in much of anything, even of the entertainment I spoke of earlier, or any spiritual manifestations. Yet, they could quote you a chapter and verse in God’s living word without missing a beat. They often have queer religious habits or hobbies resulting from their misapplied and wrongly understood living word of God. They like to try and corner others with their quotation of Scripture. Arguing Scripture is one of their favorite hobbies. Their misguided belief in arguing Scripture is what they believe will win them eternal salvation – without true repentance, or obeying God or doing His will – living a life IN CHRIST JESUS, showing before others the fruits of God’s Spirit – cf. Galatians 5:22-23.

Are You Saved By Faith Alone?

What about this whole group of people that claim that one is saved “by FAITH, and FAITH ALONE!?” They are not too concerned about obedience to the LORD God, or about the glorious Spirit of God, and they seldom mention such things as the elementary principles of Christ – such as repentance from dead works, true baptism, the laying on of hands and the resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. Instead they solely teach, “Just give your heart to the Lord and your saved, and upon death you will go off to heaven to be with the Lord.”
     And if you are so bold to ask such a “convert” what happened – what happened when they “gave their heart to the Lord” they usually say something to the effect of – when the preacher laid his finger on my forehead, I felt the power of God come upon me. My legs collapsed from under me and I crumbled to the ground. I could feel the power of God radiating from one end of my body to the other.
     Their religion never truly works any miracles in their lives – as they proudly announce, “Jesus died for my sins,” and we do not have to obey, just BELIEVE in the Lord, and we shall be saved. These types of churches should be called “entertainment clubs” – they are not the Church of Jesus Christ which helps save lives.

Surrounded By Self-Righteous Wannabes
Then there are also those who are spiritually so rigid in their standard of righteousness. I recall a story that a friend had told me about him driving down the road, having had stopped at a red light, and a homeless looking man walks up to his window screaming, “Are you a rock, unmovable!?” Apparently trying to quote the Apostle Paul!? – cf. 1 Corinthians 15:58. In fact, a great many of them are so strict in following God’s commandments that they fall into the error of following the Judeo-Christian – the Old Covenant “letter of the law” way. They consider themselves scrupulously honest, severely punctual, and critically exact. But as the Apostle Paul said of these types of people of his day, they are “ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness.” – Romans 10:3. They are usually extremely harsh, stern, and intolerant to those who do not live up to their ideas or ideals of their righteousness.

God’s Righteousness – as defined by Him

Let us learn from God’s living word and learn what is God’s standard of spirituality. Of a true spiritual mind, the Apostle Paul writes – inspired by the Spirit of God – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 2:5. No one will come to understand the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God except by receiving the Spirit of God. This is also the meaning of the Days of Unleavened Bread – “Let this mind be in you.” For seven days practice this imbibing Jesus Christ – “…which was also in Christ Jesus.” – and tragically and unfortunately a great many DO NOT teach this! And quite frankly they don’t teach this because they don’t know! That’s what the Days of Unleavened Bread are all about! If you take on these seven days with this understanding, the Days of Unleavened Bread will become one of the most spectacular periods of your life – a yearly reminder that you need Jesus Christ! In you, through you, over you – all of you! In all of you!
     Our Lord Jesus tells us, ’ Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me’ – Revelation 3:20.
     And He means exactly what He says! He will literally come in, through His Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:17) and LIVE IN YOU – if only you will surrender all of yourself unto Him and let Him in.
     “For to be carnally minded is death, …” – and all carnal means is “meaty,” or “of the flesh.” We were born carnal. “but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7) Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the Law of God, nor indeed can be.” Without God’s Spirit people are hostile towards God!
     Verse 8 – “So then, …” – and I want you to catch this – “ … those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Those people who do not have God’s Spirit – those people who have not been symbolically imbibing daily – like the Days of Unleavened Bread – the Spirit of God, the Words of Jesus, the mind of Jesus – “…cannot please God.”
     Verse 9 – “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” So, unless His Spirit abides within you – CHRIST IN YOU! – living. His life of true righteousness in you, you are not a true Christian.
     Verse 10 – “And if Christ is in you the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit [the Spirit of God, the mind of Jesus Christ which lives in you if you’re a converted member of the family of GOD] is life because of righteousness.” – and that righteousness is not yours, it’s the righteousness which comes from Jesus Christ and Him living in you!
     Verse 11 - “But IF the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, …” – remember the IF! IF the Spirit of Jesus resides within you, and the Spirit of God the Father, “…He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [by, and through, and with, and because of] His Spirit who dwells in you.”
     When Father God first calls us and takes us as His begotten child, He takes us who had been worldly, filled with sin, lustful, disobedient. His ultimate aim is to make us like Him. This transformation is truly a tremendous undertaking. It truly is a miracle. Last night in prayer I was reminded of the time when our Lord Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” And as tears was streaming down my face – the eureka moment when it was revealed to me that I was born with transposition of the great arteries so that – like He tells His disciples in this instance, “ … ‘that the works of God should be revealed in him.’ That the LORD God would gift me with sight! For He says, ’ For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind’ – John 9:3, 39.
     We must commit, brethren, to real and true repentance. And you have to be willing to accept correction and repeated chastisements from the LORD God – ’ My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6) For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every [child] whom He receives’ – Hebrews 12:5-6. Let us, brethren, completely surrender ourselves unto JESUS CHRIST. It is the mind that has to give up all of its own way. It is the mind that must completely surrender its rebellion against God, and henceforth is willing to obey the LORD God – no matter what the cost. A mind FILLED to overflowing with real love for the LORD God (the first four of the Ten Commandments) and real love and concern for our fellow human beings (the last six of the Ten Commandments) – including our enemies.

True Spirituality

The true spiritual individual can confidently say, as the Apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” – Galatians 2:20. When you can honestly and sincerely say this, then you truly have the mind of our Lord Jesus Christ within you!
     A true spiritual individual does not flip-flop on doctrines or spiritual issues – “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of A SOUND MIND” – 2 Timothy 1:7. We are not, brethren, one of those carried away with every false pseudo-spiritual or occultism, in which false manifestations of God’s divine Spirit is being counterfeited by demonstrations of self in nothing more than a fanatical emotionalism. The Apostle Paul writes – through the very Spirit of our great and powerful God – “ … we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” – Ephesians 4:14. And, as the Apostle Paul said to the Church in Corinth – “ … in understanding be mature [spiritually] – 1 Corinthians 14:20.
     “’ By their FRUITS,’” not by their fanatical emotionalism – such as their supposed ability to babble in an “unknown tongue.” Or their empty profession of faith, their self-righteousness. It’s by their “ … love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” These are the things which expresses – in living character – and witnesses to others true spirituality. These things are the expression of God’s love “poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [which] was given to us” - Romans 5:5. Truly, the Holy Spirit within us is GOD’S LAW in action in our lives! “ …love is the fulfillment of the Law” – Romans 13:10. And this is true spirituality.
     “Though I speak with the [languages] of men and of angels, but have not love [agape love; Godly love], I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal” – 1 Corinthians 13:1.
     There were pompous and self-righteous people there in ancient Corinth – as there are even today in this world – who spoke with eloquence. And there were those who spoke in various languages which they abused to purposes of mere ostentation.
     “And though I have the gift of prophecy [also, inspired speaking], and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” – 1 Corinthians 13:2. 
     “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned [cf. Daniel 3:28], but have not love, it profits me nothing” – 1 Corinthians 13:3.
     What is it to have Godly love!? Notice –
     Love suffers long [is patient] …” – under the provocation of evil. “ … and is kind; love does not envy [also the Greek includes jealousy]; love does not parade itself [in words; such as those who use words and languages as mere display], is not puffed up [as with entertainment zeal]; 5) does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked [easily], thinks no evil [basically, imputeth not evil]; 6) does not rejoice in evil, but rejoices in the TRUTH; 7) bears all things [as in – we should endure without divulging to the world our personal distresses], believes all things [as in – unsuspiciously believes all that is not palpably false], hopes all things [what is good of another, even when others have ceased to hope], endures all things [as in – persecutions in Christ Jesus in a patient and loving spirit] – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.
     Read those four verses again, this time substituted your name for the word love – do you measure up to the gift of God’s Holy Spirit!? □

1) Turner, R., Truth, Justice and the American Way, American Thinker, 12 May 2019, Retrieved 19 Oct. 2022.

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