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Seeing the Truth When Others Don’t


A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
30 September 2012
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

 

Scripture References:

Mark 9:38-50
James 5:13-20

Do you remember in last week’s sermon I told the story about Joe, and how he greeted people on the streets of North Philadelphia, and how he cleaned up the sidewalk and street?
 
In the beginning people saw what he was doing, but they didn’t respond or help in any way; neither did they try to hinder what he was doing.
 
They just thought he was a crazy fool.
 
In Mark 9:38-50, we are told that the disciples responded in a different way, and Jesus corrected them.
 
Let’s take a look at this conversation.

38. John said to Him, "Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to hinder him because he was not following us."

Note carefully that John said that this man was casting out demons, and not simply trying to cast them out.
 
Whatever he was doing, he must have been doing it in the heavenly will of God, for the demons were being cast out.
 
See how Jesus responds.

39. But Jesus said, "Do not hinder him, for there is no one who shall perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.

Just because we are not a part of a specific church or group does not mean that what we are doing is against God’s will, no matter what anyone else says.
 
This is why we never concern ourselves with church denominations or even the ones that some people consider to be cults.
 
The only things that you will hear or see me write or speak about will be their practices that counter God’s creation and heavenly will, and bring harm to other human beings or other animals.
 
We all need to be working in faith together to free creation from its present corruption.
 
This is why Jesus says…

40. "For he who is not against us is for us.

This is why we struggle so much with the church’s behavior.
 
We never want to push them out of any church, all we want to do is expand their understanding of scripture so that they begin to see the loving, compassionate and peacemaking teaching of Jesus and follow Him as children of God.
 
However, on the other hand, most of the churches seem to see our compassionate views on bringing no harm to animals, which includes our not eating or wearing them, as a threat, and they do everything in their power to make us feel so uncomfortable, that we leave.
 
They try to hinder our peacemaking message, just as John and the others tried to stop the man who was casting out demons, and Jesus says that this hindrance is wrong.

41. "For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.
 
42. "And whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.

Almost every day, we hear from people who have lost their faith in God because of the hardness of heart they have encountered within houses of worship.
 
And I wonder why these religious groups are so intent on killing and eating animals that they are doing harm to other human beings, too, which is the opposite of the way Jesus wants us to live.
 
Thus, Jesus says to them…

43. "And if your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire,
 
44. [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.] 
 
45. "And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than having your two feet, to be cast into hell,
 
46. [where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.] 
 
47. "And if your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into hell,
 
48. where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. 

Verses 44 and 46 were added at a later date by an unknown scribe to reinforce the fear factor of these hard of heart people’s doom.
 
However, we can win over a lot more people with love than with fear.

49. "For everyone will be salted with fire.
 
50. "Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." 
NASB

If people don’t want to hear our peaceful message about freeing creation from its present corruption, much less follow it, that is their problem, and not ours; so never get angry, and just remain at peace with them.
 
However, continue to live and speak our message of peace for the whole of creation, for it will never go astray, and God will be glorified in the process.
 
Our message of peace is one of returning to the creation and heavenly will of God, which not only glorifies Him, but also eliminates the corruption of this earth, including, pain, mourning, and death for us and the animals.
 
With this in mind, let’s take a look at James 5:13-20, and discern the basic causes and effects of living in this world, as opposed to living in the will of God.

13. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praises.

Isn’t suffering caused by the corruption of this world, since there is no mention of it in God’s creation prior to the Fall (Eve’s and Adam’s disobedience)?
 
So what are we to pray for?
 
That we will no longer suffer?
 
Yes, but there is a lot more.
 
We are also to pray that we and others would be enlightened to the causes of the suffering, so that we all can take a stand against them, until we all sing praises.

14. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;
 
15. and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.

Are not almost all chronic illnesses brought on by eating animals and their by-products?
 
They sure are!
 
And are not all of these products the result of much pain, suffering, mourning, and death that is inflicted upon the animals in direct opposition to what God desires?
 
They sure are!
 
And if the elders of the church are also a part of this corruption, how will the healing occur?
 
But we are also told that our sins will be forgiven; doesn’t that solve the problem?
 
Not really, for the Bible also teaches us that it is our true repentance coupled with God’s lovingkindness, grace, and mercy that leads to our being forgiven.
 
This seems to be the major reason that so many Christians and others become sick and remain sick and die in their illnesses.

16. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

I hope we all heard this.
 
It’s the effective prayers of a RIGHTEOUS person, one who has repented and truly strives to live in God’s heavenly will, that can accomplish much.
 
But if neither we nor the elders are righteous, or even truly striving to be righteous, how can we expect to accomplish anything Godly?
 
We don’t believe we can, and as we look around the world, it appears that this understanding is true.

17. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months.
 
18. And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

I often wonder how much more Elijah could have accomplished if he hadn’t sacrificed any animals, and if he wouldn’t have been afraid of Jezebel and fled from her.

19. My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back,
 
20. let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.
NASB

This is a challenge to us all, and we totally believe that it all starts with returning to God’s creation intent, understanding that He wants us to care for the whole of creation, rather than dominate and abuse the animals and destroy our beautiful environment.
 
We are to be true peacemaking children of God.
 
Amen.

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