|The Good, the Bad, the Righteous|
|The Good, the Bad, the Righteous|
George Washington, the first president of the United States, was called a Deist by some. A Deist is someone who believes that God exists, but that He doesn’t interfere in the affairs of men. George Washington (the supposed Deist) rightly said, “Morality cannot be maintained without religious Christian principles.”
When the first congress under the Constitution assembled in New York City on April 30, 1789 to hear George Washington’s inaugural address, President Washington appropriately said:
No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency…You will join me I trust in thinking, that there are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free Government can more auspiciously commence.
A Deist, huh?
Martin Luther King, Jr.
What about Martin Luther King, Jr? He was called a communist. Well, the problem with that is he was a Baptist preacher. A preacher’s job, of course, as Charles Spurgeon rightly said, is to slay sin—to break the bands of wickedness; not to enslave, but to set them free. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the opposite of a communist; he was a preacher of the gospel.
What about Benedict Arnold? Everybody thought he was a patriot, yet, when exposed, he was found to be a man that committed high treason against his own country.
What of Ben Franklin, one of the least religious signers of our Constitution? As the governor of Pennsylvania, he issued statewide prayer proclamations. He recommended Christianity in public schools. Benjamin Franklin boosted church attendance. He also called for chaplains and daily prayer at the constitutional conventions. This is also the man that said, “Disobedience to tyrants is obedience to God.” Oh, did I forget to tell you, Ben Franklin also said at the foundation of this country, “There is no such thing as an atheist.” How contrary to the mind that’s at enmity with God.
Well, let’s go to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Pharisees said of Jesus, “…This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils” (Matthew 12:24). Jesus answered in John 8:49-50, “…I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.” Look how the world labels men of righteousness to be the contrary. What of the Son of God? Beelzebub? Hmm. John 7:12 says:
And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him (Christ): for some said, He is a good man (those were the common people who heard him gladly): others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people (parentheses added).
Remember what Jesus said to his brother in John 7:7? “The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” What about in John 15:25 when He said, “…They hated me without a cause.”? Or remember in John 15:17-19:
These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Or we can go to King David in Psalm 109:1-4:
Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise; For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They compassed me about also with the words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. For my love they are my adversaries…
Verse 5 goes on:
And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
You see, the problem with the world is that their love is set to their own standard, which is really lust. They like to do that which is right in their own eyes. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil...” Why is it that men look at good men and call them bad from the world’s point of view? The love of Christ is completely contrary to the love of the world. Friendship with the world is enmity (an enemy) with God. We need to hear the right voice. Men do not understand the character of God—that’s the problem. “God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness” (Psalm 47:8). Psalm 97:2-3 says, “Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about.”
What about Jeremiah 9:24?
But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.
We need to put things back into context and understand the character of God. That’s why men mislabel men.
In 2 Corinthians 7:1 it says, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” What is the fear of God? Proverbs 6:16-19 says:
These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
You see, reproofs of instruction are the way of life (Proverbs 6:23). That’s why we look at it as hate, because God’s love is sacrificial, and it’s in holiness. So what do we do? We call his love hate. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Most men find love in a flattering tongue which works ruin to their souls, as it says in Proverbs 26:28. Jesus says that the truth will make men free in John 8:32. Please read Hebrew 12 in whole and Revelation 3:17-22. In Isaiah 61:1-2 Jesus preached (and so does his church):
“…good tidings to the meek...to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn…”
He gives “beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified” (Isaiah 61:3). Again, that God might be glorified—not man—that no flesh should glory in the presence of the Lord.
We already know that what is highly esteemed by man is an abomination in the sight of God. The Bible also clearly tells us, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26). When men are loved by all you’d better look the other way. To loose the bands of wickedness is what the church is called to preach; to undo heavy burdens as it says in Isaiah 58—to let the oppressed go free, and that every yoke is broken. Preachers are to preach to men that which saves their souls.
What about Elijah? He was labeled the troubler of Israel. Let’s go to 1 Kings 18:17-18:
And it came to pass, when Ahab (the wicked king) saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim (parentheses added).
You see, if you go to Isaiah 59:12-14, “For our transgressions are multiplied before thee (God), and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; In transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in street, and equity cannot enter” (parentheses added).
Pay attention to verse 15: “Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey…” Again, let’s put things into context. It’s the veil calling the righteous the wicked, or labeling righteous men wicked things.
What of Jeremiah? What did the people say of him? They said, “Go prophesy somewhere else. What was Jeremiah doing? Let’s go to Jeremiah 18:18 and find out:
Then said they, Come, let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.
Listen to what Jeremiah said in verse 19-20:
Give heed to me, O Lord, and hearken to the voice of them that contend with me. Shall evil be recompensed for good? For they have digged a pit for my soul. Remember that I stood before thee to speak good for them, and to turn away thy wrath from them.
And then all of the sudden the curses were pronounced by Jeremiah upon those that rejected the word of the Lord. Where did Jeremiah prophesy? Well, he went unto the kings of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. He went to the gate, as it says in Jeremiah 19:14, “…and he stood in the court of the Lord’s house; and said to all the people…”
What about Paul who was called a mover of sedition:
For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: Who also hath gone about to profane the temple… (Acts 24:5-6)
Oh! Paul was an apostle, the earliest and most influential interpreter of Christ’s message and teachings; a Christian missionary was that of Paul. Paul was sent to preach to men, to open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to the light, and from the power of satan to the power of God (Acts 26:18).
What about the disciples? It was said that the disciples turned the world upside down. No, they turned it upright, America. Acts 17:5-7 says,
But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them (Paul and Silas) out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also
Caesar was set against God, and God was set against Caesar, and he was telling the church to obey his decrees. “Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decree of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus” (Acts 17:7). The decrees, folks, were against God.
Let’s put things into perspective. During the revolutionary war in America, the motto was “No king but King Jesus.” And again, disobedience to tyrants was obedience to God. When we label men of a righteous sort, remember, God sent them; the world did not. So let’s get it right!