Just as Jesus was not of this world, true Christians are not of this world. This is the time to remove confusion, since the apostolic times, in the first century. Those claiming to be blessed, materially, are either deceived or are the deceivers of other people. Paul demonstrated a lack of value, in the flesh, after having become a Christian. The same applies to all true Christians.
“I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and, to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! But it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” (Philippians 1:20-24 NIV).
Paul’s words are applicable to those having received the Holy Spirit. The purpose of living in this world is to exalt Jesus. Although Christ left the scene, He still exists among true Christians, who allow Him to freely dwell in their lives. Christians are therefore separated from those of this world.
Just as the purpose of Jesus was sacrificial, the purpose of true Christians is also sacrificial. Nothing is owned by true Christians. As Christ lived only to do God’s will, true Christians live only to also do God’s will.
Large crowds were travelling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
“Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples(Luke 14:25-33 NIV).
The above teaching is explicit, in terms of defining true Christianity. A new life is applicable to those who forsake everything, including their own physical lives, to follow Christ. In other words, it should be regarded as foolhardy for one to call himself a Christian, when ignoring the above Scripture.
Jesus drove this point home, using the parable of a king, engaging in war, unprepared. The devastating effects of the war parable, garner Christian participants to appreciate the magnitude of Christianity. I am aware of the love of Christianity, across humanity. But at the same time aware of the deception in Christianity, across humanity.
Jesus, actually, warned of this, being a deception, serving those with ears to hear. It is extremely reckless for anyone to assume dependency on human figures, rather than Jesus. Anyone can be converted through anyone and by anyone. But what the convert does after baptism leaves nothing to do with the person having facilitated the conversion.
Those called into Christianity take instructions directly from Jesus. Communicating with Jesus does not need a go-between. As long as committed to following the person having facilitated repentance, a convert is in danger of violating the first commandment.
“You shall have no other gods before me”(Exodus 20:3).
Jesus is the only author of our salvation. Having been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, a baptized person is in communion with Christ. Listening to other voices, other than the voice of Jesus, is hazardous.
Christianity is not a casual matter. It is not something one engages in, for lack of other things to do. Christianity becomes THE thing, over everything else one might have ever dreamt of doing in this world. As to what that thing would be, depends entirely on God.
This precludes being envied or not being envied by anyone. Neither does this require being a utility of another, also similarly called. Christianity should not be confused with ideas of mentorship, commonly practised in denominational enclaves.
Although Jesus took time to mentor His disciples, the aspect of the Holy Spirit changed everything. The disciples were still as carnally minded as any other when Jesus was mentoring them. Jesus provided a Scriptural reference, designed to clarify this point.
“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted”(Matthew 23:8-12 NIV).
These are not idle words. Jesus was giving an instruction to those poised to be His followers. There is no human leader inferred in this passage. Each Christian is answerable to Jesus. If I am given the gift of being an instructor, Christ would be instructing through me. The wrong thing is to focus on my personality, thereby, assuming that it would be impossible for Christ to speak through me.
If the words spoken are of Jesus, why should anyone attribute those words to me? Conversely, when Satan speaks through me, why should those listening assume that it would still be Christ speaking? The voice of Christ should be clear to those aware of Christ’s words.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
“Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father. And I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:12-21 NIV).
When carefully analyzing the above passage, one perceives that the communication is individually focused. The term, “whoever,” implies that the audiences are assumed to make individual decisions. This is in consideration that people perceive things differently. But that does not change the actual words, as coming from Jesus.
The comfort that is entertained in denominational worshipping carries with it, a highly deceptive environment. Some preachers are more charismatic than others. There are also, denominations that appear more effective than others. But all that carries no bearing, whatsoever, on the person in whom the Holy Spirit dwells.
After baptism, a true Christian perceives no consideration of individual personalities. That person is God’s child, who hears God speaking, through whoever would be used, at any given time. The disguise can be in a person’s ability to speak, including his appearance. But that deceives only those without the Holy Spirit and not those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells.
“And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NIV).
Paul was not as charismatic as most people assume him to have been. His message was that people should listen to Christ, more than consider personalities. It should not be a question of the personality, speaking, but from where the message comes.
Some people, attempt to show how adept they would be, by evaluating variant speakers. I am yet to be convinced that such evaluators are God-sent? I suppose evaluations, if necessary, should be limited to reviewing the words spoken by Jesus, against those not spoken by Jesus.
The major concern, with Jesus, at this time, is the deception, having infiltrated Christianity, since the beginning of the century. Since His physical ascension to heaven, Jesus is assumed to be out of the picture. And yet Jesus is as present as He was, at the beginning of the century. He uses the despised of this world, just as He, Himself, was despised.
It is not difficult for a true Christian to know whether he/she would be God’s child or not. When gripped with trepidation, at the mention of death, as to be unable to advance God’s truth, one would not be God’s child. Hence, it is necessary to count the costs (Luke 14:25-33).
Also, when attached to a personality, considered as being your Spiritual leader, in this world, you are not a Christian. It may not be wrong to be attached to some individual, providing you with benefits. Many people also loved Jesus, for what they could get from Him. But that does not necessarily mean such people would be Christians.
What necessitates the need for clarity, is to avoid the deception that grips the unsuspecting. Safety lies in knowing where one stands and deciding according to conviction, rather than popularity. The dangerous thing is to mix two opinions in one, according to Revelation 3:16-19.
“So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich, and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness, and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent” (Revelation 3:16-19 NIV).
Deception comes from listening to voices, other than the voice of Jesus. A true Christian is aware of the gravity of being under deception. Why would one blindly follow a criminal, only because it looks fashionable to do so?
Jesus was very clear, on matters of deception. In other words, claiming to be Christian does not necessarily make one a Christian. The truth lies in whether a person adopts the words of Jesus or not. Those attached to Jesus have no doubt in their conviction.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”(Matthew 7:21-23 NIV).
The most fortunate Christians could be those having died without having moved away from the faith. Those still living can be said to be with Christ, but still facing the pangs of living in the flesh. The majority of those living fall into the trap of deception, through the raving trends of false Christianity.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
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