Invariably, people long for guidance that is greater than whatever it is man offers. I remember reading and hearing that one particular man would, through the years, collect all the wise saying that he heard, transcribe them and put them in a notebook, or in some handy area where they could be retrieved when struggles mount up, or he just wanted time to contemplate. We all recognize that the experiences of people can turn into profound and practical wisdom that helps others through the valleys of their own lives. Whatever wisdom they accumulate, however, and no matter how great it is, pales in comparison with God’s Word. The Lord’s wisdom carries people through the darkest of times and it never grows stale. In the days of Amos, the Lord’s prophet spoke of a coming day when there would exist a famine of God’s word (Amos 8:11-12). This had a historical application, but a great many people are currently living with a famine of God’s Word in their respective lives even now. Consequently, when struggles mount up, they know not where to turn. It does not have to be this way. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV) RT
To a conscientious man or woman, the Word of God burns like a flame within the heart; it is not easily squelched. There is something about God’s Word that is unlike anything man ever produced. Whatever it is than man can inspire, there is an inadequate quality to it that will eventually arise. It is not this way with God’s Word.
Jeremiah the prophet expressed himself along this line exactly. Frustrated as he was at the time, he resolved to no longer preach the Lord’s Word to a people that had no interest in hearing anything, much less do anything about that which the Lord demanded. On one occasion he said (and wrote), For whenever I prophesy, I must cry out, “Violence and destruction are coming!” This message from the LORD has made me an object of continual insults and derision. Sometimes I think, “I will make no mention of his message. I will not speak as his messenger any more.” But then his message becomes like a fire locked up inside of me, burning in my heart and soul. I grow weary of trying to hold it in; I cannot contain it (Jeremiah 20:8-9, NET).
Perhaps you can relate well with Jeremiah on this. I hope so.
There was a king, however, who could not, did not, and made it a point to not allow others the opportunity to relate to the same. In Jeremiah 36, the righteous king Josiah (deceased at this time) had a son who was king and who regarded the Lord with scorn. His name was Jehoiakim. The Lord, through Jeremiah, preached and preached of the national leaders need to repent or the Lord would bring such disaster on the nation that the anguish they would experience would be unlike anything they could imagine. This message was received by some, but rejected by most.
On the occasion of Jeremiah 36, Jeremiah had his associate write out the Lord’s message and read it in the Temple. This was done and many of the people were alarmed. They passed word to the king, and the king called for the document to be read in his presence. Having read the document, the king cut it up and put the writings of Jeremiah into the fire (36:23), representing his scorn for that which the Lord said. To the king, he might have been reacting to this persistent prophet that always preached against him, but to the Lord the king represented Israel’s destruction. To him who is given much, much is expected.
The Scriptures teach that the Lord’s Word will accomplish its purpose (Isaiah 55:10-11), and the Lord’s purpose with His Word is for each to bow the knee to Jesus (Philippians 2:9). In every soul wherein the Lord’s Word burns, those are people who willingly bowed their knees before the Lord Jesus. On the other hand, there are a great many more who look upon the Lord’s Word as a petulant nuisance, and they just want preachers and Christians to stop trying to “force your morality and religion” on them. Representing this latter group in Jeremiah’s time was King Jehoiakim. What the king hoped to “burn away” only sealed, presumably, his eternal destiny (36:30-31).
There is a lesson in here for us. Will we learn it? RT
Just how strong are you? Are you so strong emotionally, physically, or spiritually that you won’t let another see your weakness’? Some people are not afraid to show their vulnerabilities to another; others won’t even consider such a thought. In fact, some go to great lengths to hide the vulnerabilities and weaknesses that exist within, and if one gets close to seeing and exposing (even if there is a desire to help) those weaknesses then heavy artillery comes out! Unbeknownst to a good many people, however, is that one’s weakness (singular or plural) is already exposed and known. Most definitely the Lord knows them (Hebrews 4:12), and many times fellow saints know them also. The great effort at hiding, then, is not so much because it is desired that others won’t see it (though this is true), but because we are hiding ourselves behind an imaginary wall of protection.
Recently, an article has been written regarding the topic of the “Synod of Bishops.” This article pertains to its use and relevance in the Catholic Church. Evidently, there was a point in Catholic history where the bishops of the church had less relevance than they do today. This has since changed and, in part, because of this collegiality of the “Synod of Bishops.” One author said, “The Council wished to remind the Church that bishops, always and necessarily acting in union with their head, are both vicars of Christ in their own dioceses and members of a special “college” which, under the leadership of the successor of Peter, has a unique and grace-filled role in the governance of the whole Church.” The desire of its existence then is in mutual support and guidance to the Bishop of Rome (or Pope). In fact, the last sentence of the article says this: “The whole process is an exercise of collegiality—a means of unifying the successors of the apostles under the successor of Peter to more effectively teach, rule and sanctify in the Church of Christ.”
The Catholic Church is not the church of Christ! Even though they like to consider themselves to be such, they have long since gone past any teachings of the Scriptures on the topic. In fact, not only will one not find the word “pope” in the pages of the New Testament, that same one who looks will not find “Synod of Bishops” in the New Testament either. Of course, the Catholic Church is not “plagued” by such limitations as in following the teachings of the Lord as revealed in the sacred pages of Holy Writ. With such an approach everything is certainly allowed. The sentiment of Judges 17:6 applies to them.
The Catholic Church is a man-made church that has no authority, absolutely none, to exist. A great many people feel that is fits in with the sentiments of the Holy Spirit in 2 Thessalonians 2, but whether it does or not, it is clearly not the church the Lord said He would build when He spoke to His apostles at Caesarea Philippi.
There is much to be said about and against them, and if one needs a place to start, let him start with what the Lord said in the New Testament (cf. John 12:48).
If there is no other reason for not practicing the Mormon doctrine of “baptizing for the dead”, we have one now. Apparently, a Las Vegas man decided to sue the Mormon Church because the church, he claims, failed to tell him the repeated movement “could result in physical injury.” The news report starts this way, “A Las Vegas man filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the LDS Church, claiming he suffered a permanent injury while performing baptisms for the dead in one of the church’s temples” (Deseret News, August 25, 2010)
We now have two reasons to not practice this form of religious teaching. First, it has no biblical sanction from the Lord. Second, one is liable to get hurt! Surely if the first reason is not sufficient, then the second most definitely is, wouldn’t you say?
Changing the tone of the remarks, let us take a moment to note what the Scriptures say. The phrase “baptized for the dead” is used in 1 Corinthians 15:29. The apostle Paul give no additional thought surrounding this phrase (practice), thus, any attempt to make a religious doctrine out of this is fraught with failures, not the least of which is the Mormon doctrine. From a website we learn that:
“…if salvation is only through Christ, what happens to all the billions of people who lived and died without ever even hearing of Christ? And if we must be baptized to enter into a covenant with Christ (as Christ plainly teaches in John 3:3-5 and as I discuss more fully on my FAQ page about baptism), what of those that never had a chance? For centuries, the mainstream theological answer has been that those souls are lost. Some ministers are not so crass today, but many still insist that they go to hell. I just saw a discussion of that issue on an email list of scientists who are Christians. Most views expressed there on the topic said they go to hell – and it is fair, since we are all depraved – but God in his grace elects to allow some of us to be saved, so why complain? That really bothers me. The truth is that God loves all his children and wants all to have the opportunity to hear and accept the Gospel of Christ.” (http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_BaptDead.shtml)
Note this issue, in part, is associated with two key points. First, those who died without ever having an opportunity to hear and believe in Jesus Christ now have an opportunity to be saved. Second, the emotional component of man will not allow him to accept the notion that one can be lost in sin.
On the first point, let the Scripture speak. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil “(2 Corinthians 5:10, ESV). The Holy Spirit declares plainly that one is judged based on what he (she) has done in this life. The good is defined as one’s response to the Lord (cf. John 3:31-36). On the second point, whatever difficulty man may have with what he does not understand, it is deadly to build a doctrine that sooths the conscience when one has only an earthly idea and not a heavenly one. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, ESV).
The Mormon doctrine, no matter the “honorable” intention that might be associated with it, is a doctrine that is deadly (spiritually)!