Hate Week Essay #7: Hating Jesus, once

 

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For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. Titus 3:3

I was saved in my early 40’s. I vividly remember my antipathy toward Jesus for most of my adult life. I conceded that there was likely a God, that part was easy. Just look at the Creation. It’s obvious someone made it all.

A distant God who didn’t meddle in my affairs, but was intelligent, provided this earth to dwell on, and was amiable in His looking down at us was the God I’d made up in my mind.

The notion that God judged, was involved in our affairs, and created heaven and hell as well as earth, was unconscionable to me. I was a good example of the people described in Romans 1:21.

The Jesus, blood, sin, wrath, resurrection thing was beyond me. I thought the cross was ridiculous and gross. I wanted nothing to do with any part of the Jesus story. I hated Jesus with all my body, soul, strength, and mind. As a result, I hated others too, as the verse says. This world is full of haters, the satanic hatred only the unregenerate, darkened heart knows.

I was a terrible sinner, going about my sins, cherishing them, justifying them, and loving them. I hated Jesus and I loved my sin. I hated others, as the verse today states.

Thus, unbeknownst to me, I had many woes laying on my shoulders, for doesn’t the scripture say-

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

I was in this wretched state when in His timing, God sent the Holy Spirit to open my eyes. I suddenly saw my sin and it was terrible. I cried out to God, yet He had even given me the voice and the urging to do it. Though I’d spent so long in the wilderness, darkened and debased, He loved me. My hate for Him was deep and abiding, but His love for me was everlasting.

Anyone who is saved now hated Jesus once, also. In our daily lives we often get so busy that we forget this great love and our former great hate, at least I do. Would you love anyone who hates you outright? My goodness, that’s a tough one. We’re called to, but actual implementation of it, even to our death, is something that mystifies me. Yet Jesus did it. He lay down His life for His friends, gave himself totally to His Father for our benefit. He died for people who hated him with a worldly, satanic hate.

Let our hate go. We should harbor none of it in ourselves after salvation. We should only hate the things that Jesus hates. As our sanctification grows, our worldly hatreds diminish because love increases. The scale should be moving in the other direction. Giving up worldly hatreds is hard, but look at the sweet exchange. We can all cry out as David did,

Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! (Psalm 25:7)

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Hate Week Essay #6: When will we hate Jesus? Answer inside

No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)

Jesus is an all-or-nothing proposition. This is because He is all. He is the all in all (Colossians 3:11). He is everything good, He is sufficient. Nothing should compete with Him. Hence the warning about two masters.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

No man can serve two masters … – Christ proceeds to illustrate the necessity of laying up treasures in heaven from a well-known fact, that a servant cannot serve two masters at the same time. His affections and obedience would be divided, and he would fail altogether in his duty to one or the other. One he would love, the other he would hate. To the interests of the one he would adhere, the interests of the other he would neglect. This is a law of human nature. The supreme affections can be fixed on only one object.

Please be aware of any growing idols in your (and my) life, whom you (and I) are serving. We cannot have two masters else we will hate the one. Jesus is too precious to risk hating Him, even if for a short while before realizing and then repenting.

Answer to the Title’s question: We will hate Jesus when we serve another master.

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Hate Week Essay #5: Jesus said to hate our family? Can this be true?

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26).

This seem harsh. This seems contradictory to the God of Love that we know Jesus to be. So what can it mean?

By the way, that its the first question we should ask when we see something we don’t understand in the Bible, or when we see something that seems to contradict. There are no contradictions in the Bible. If we can’t reconcile two verses, i.e. ‘God is love’ and ‘hate your mother’ or ‘Honor your mother and father’ but ‘hate your mother’ then there is something I must do to understand it, because I’m wrong.

I like Gill’s Commentary. Many commentaries are available for free at biblehub.com. There are concordances, lexicons, devotionals, and more.

Gill’s says of the Luke verse:

and hate not his father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple: not that proper hatred of any, or all of these, is enjoined by Christ; for this would be contrary to the laws of God, to the first principles of nature, to all humanity, to the light of nature, to reason and divine revelation:

but that these are not to be preferred to Christ, or loved more than he, as it is explained in Matthew 10:37

Ohhhh! Getting clearer now.

A parallel verse was mentioned so let’s take a look at it. Scripture interprets scripture. Commentaries are helpful, but scripture is best. That’s where parallel verses come in.

He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37)

Christ should be primary in life and love. Paul carries this sense of highest love for one, that by comparison it’s hate for the other in Romans 9:13-

As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

The verse to which Paul was referring is from Malachi 1:2-3. GotQuestions is helpful here,

So, considering the context, God loving Jacob and hating Esau has nothing to do with the human emotions of love and hate. It has everything to do with God choosing one man and his descendants and rejecting another man and his descendants. God chose Abraham out of all the men in the world. The Bible very well could say, “Abraham I loved, and every other man I hated.”

Yes, context is king when studying scripture. The Malachi/Romans verse isn’t referring to one man, but nations from one man.
There’s one more parallel verse to the Luke verse I’d posed at the start. John 12:25-

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

S Lewis Johnson of Believers Chapel Dallas had preached on this verse. He’s a preacher I like.He explained

What does he mean by that? Why, you know he means that it is possible for us to be so desirous of life as we want to live it that we actually are unfruitful in our lives. We may desire the kind of existence that we desire, we want the world’s wealth, we want the world’s power, we want the world’s pleasure, we want the world’s glory, we want to live our lives as we wish to live them and that’s right, you may live for a time but you abide alone. … In other words, if you want to keep your life you can keep it, but you’ll lose it. And if you’re willing to lose your life, if you are willing to have your set of priorities such that Jesus Christ is first in your life, then you’ll gain it. And furthermore, you will gain it unto life eternal and fruitfulness.

Hate is complicated, isn’t it? There’s things God hates, things we should hate because God does, the world’s hate, our hatred of even our parents or our own life in comparison to the life we should live in Christ…

The Bible is an endless wealth and treasure of precepts and doctrines, all pointing to the One alone who is worthy: Jesus Christ. Emmanuel, God with us. Our love for Him should be the primary orientation of our lives.

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Hate Week Essay #4: Hate Equals Darkness

Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. (1 John 2:9)

What does this mean? Can we hate our brother if we’re saved? I thought our lives were supposed to be characterized by love?

Yes, that is true, but the sin nature is still inside us, crouching at the door and waiting to leap. Since our lives are supposed to be characterized by love, our lives should reflect the highest and best love: love for Jesus and love for our brethren. Sadly, it doesn’t always happen that way.

Else, as Paul put rhetorically but actually to the Corinthians,

For I fear that perhaps when I come I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish—that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. (1 Corinthians 12:20)

Else, why would Jesus and Paul admonish those who take the Lord’s Supper to reconcile with brethren or examine one’s self before doing so, in order that taking the Supper would not be done in an unworthy manner? (1 Corinthians 11: 27; Matthew 5:23-24).

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary puts it simply

his brother—his neighbor, and especially those of the Christian brotherhood. The very title “brother” is a reason why love should be exercised.

The command to love one another is an old one, says John in 1 John 2, but with a new twist. John uses the analogy of light and dark throughout his epistle. The command to love is nothing new, but it is a specific and foremost spiritual test to determine who is in the faith and who is not. John MacArthur here in his sermon Live Life By a New Love:

If you hate your brother, if you hate others, if you hate those in the Kingdom, if you hate anyone essentially, if you don’t see people the way God sees them then He’s not in control of your heart. Love proves everything when connected to sound doctrine.

But in 1 Corinthians 15, if you don’t have love it’s all noise, it’s all noise. So the practicality of it is, if you’re a true Christian it’s going to show up in your love, not perfect love, love is not going to be the perfection of your life but it will be the direction of it. You’re going to have a heart of love for those around you, not a heart of hatred. You’re going to want to serve those around you, not demand from them. You’re going to want to help those around you, not harm them. You’re going to want to come to the aid of those around you, to lift them up not to step on them. And particularly is that true among believers. If you don’t have a love to be with God’s people, it’s a clear evidence that you’re in the darkness no matter what you claim.

The Light is warm and bright, it’s where love is.
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Is Billy Graham in heaven? (Updated) By Elizabeth Prata

Update: I added a link to a video and a book review. Both involve Iain Murray’s book Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000.

The book is a historical record of the ecumenical movement in the United States and Great Britain in the latter half of the twentieth century. In it, Murray traces the developments in the ministries of several key figures in the era, most notably Billy Graham, J.I. Packer, and John Stott. His conclusion is that because of a desire to have a place at the table of ecumenical discussion, a long series of what seemed at the time to be relatively innocuous decisions eventually blurred the bright line that marks out what it means to be a Christian.

Graham has much to do with the divide, having been an active ecumenical preacher for most of his life. Graham’s legacy impacted much of the evangelical world for half of the last century. Please read the review, the book, or watch the video. It’s highly interesting.

Book review: https://www.9marks.org/review/evangelicalism-divided-iain-murray/
Video Evangelicalism Divided

———————–original essay——————————

220px-Billy_Graham_bw_photo,_April_11,_1966Billy Graham, aged 99, has passed away. Best known for his itinerant global evangelism, his Decision Magazine, his Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and the popular radio show Hour of Decision from 1950 to 1954, Graham spent his life preaching to the masses.

He developed mass evangelism events that came to be known as “Crusades”. His first major outdoor preaching Crusade occurred in Los Angeles in 1949, with 350,000 attending over 8 weeks. Afterward, when Singer-songwriter Stuart Hamblen announced on air that he had been converted, national newspapers and radio personalities perked up over this new fiery preacher. Newspaper Magnate William Randolph Hearst telegrammed his editors across America to “puff Graham” meaning, to write pleasant and complimentary features on Graham in order to promote him. As a result, Graham rapidly became a coast-to-coast figure. His fame and name only increased since that moment to within five years, Graham was featured on the cover of the national magazine of Time, an enormous honor for a personality in the public eye for so short a period. He retired from public Crusades in 2005.

Graham perfected the ‘aisle walk’ introduced by Charles Finney, usually to the tune of Just As I Am. At the conclusion of the music and preaching, Graham invited those who were seeking to “accept Christ” to stream down the aisles and speak to counselors in the front. There, they would receive further information or answers to their questions. Some would ‘decide’ to become Christian there on the spot.

Graham was also the author of what is now known as The Billy Graham Rule, a short version of his original Modesto Manifesto. The Manifesto was a white paper generated by Graham and his inner circle outlining a rigid set of rules to which the association would adhere as they traveled the road with the Crusade, so as to encourage accountability and limit temptation of all kinds, sexual and financial, foremost. The rules were:

  1. The Graham team would avoid any appearance of financial abuse.
  2. They would exercise extreme care to avoid the appearance of sexual impropriety.
  3. They would cooperate with any local churches that were willing to participate in a united evangelism effort.
  4. They would be honest and reliable in their publicity and reporting of results and
  5. never argue with local journalists reporting about the numbers of participants in the crusades.

Through 2016, Gallup Poll’s “Most Admired Man and Woman Poll” showed Graham with 60 appearances in the top 10, the most of anyone, with eight second-place finishes.

——————————————

The above is the Billy Graham the world knows. It is the Graham most of the evangelical world knows. But the truth is available and it’s public and can be seen by those willing to look.

Mr Graham no doubt preached with fervor and intensity, at least in the early days, However soon enough, as early as 1952-54, he began to compromise his message. Some say it was even before that, when Roman Catholic Bishop Fulton Sheen took a young Graham under his wing in 1944. In 1954 Graham spoke to the Liberal Union Theological Seminary in NY, repeatedly calling his ministry “ecumenical”. By 1957 Graham’s split from conservative fundamentalist preachers was complete.

Graham believed that if a person was sincere enough, even if they didn’t know Jesus or hadn’t repented, they would go to heaven. In fact, Graham held to what is known as a “Wider Mercy” view, that God, in the end, will have a wide mercy on all, not just those who are in Christ. He stated this not only on the Hour of Power with Robert Schuller in 1997 but to Larry King in a televised interview, to McCall’s Magazine in 1978, and the BGEA affirmed this has been Graham’s belief since 1960 when he wrote about it in his own Decision Magazine. (Source). Youtube video here.

In 2005 he refused to state the Gospel clearly and affirm Jesus’ exclusivity as the Door to heaven. (source here.)

Those counselors at the front? They included people from liberal Protestant churches, rabbis, and Catholic priests. This was because in order to obtain sponsorships, Graham had promised ‘we wouldn’t try to compete with their churches’ nor ‘to draw congregants away from their churches’. Seekers would be asked which church bus they came in on or which church they attended or which friend they came with, then shuttled to the appropriate counselor. Billy’s son Franklin works with Catholic priests in the same way at his events that he calls Festivals.

A major research project was done some years after the major crusade at Harringay, London. It found no lasting effect from the Crusade, though there had been thousands who professed Christ at that time. Belfast native Cecil Andrews of Take Heed Ministries has more in his sensitively done video, Billy Graham, the Man & His Message.

Unfortunately, Graham’s unorthodox views did not end with his denial of Jesus as exclusive way to heaven.

Graham didn’t believe that a literal fire and torment was part of hell, that the virgin birth wasn’t necessary for belief, and that Roman Catholics were brothers who differed with Protestants only in later church tradition. Graham was a Legalist who even threw his own daughter under the altar of popularity and reputation, reversed himself on AIDS, reversed himself on Mormonism (all when it as politically expedient), perfected “decisional regeneration,” believed in baptismal regeneration, thought that not everything in the Bible was literally true, said he didn’t feel called to state the dividing line between truth and false, heaven and hell (to Larry King in 1997), and more. Harry Truman called him a counterfeit in 1950. Editor-Publisher of the Sword of the Lord, John R. Rice broke with Graham in 1956.

I have many, many links and video and written newspaper proof of these assertions. They exist. I don’t present them lightly. Or you can search. One wonders how many aberrant beliefs one can hold before one is declared a false teacher.

Now to turn to Matthew 7:21-23.

Jesus said,

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

I pray that Billy Graham had indeed repented in his youth and was truly saved. At the same time I don’t know how someone with the Holy Spirit in them could say that if you’re just sincere and know there’s a God you go to heaven, even if you don’t know Jesus. If that Matthew verse wasn’t written for someone like Billy Graham, I don’t what is. He lived a life harboring aberrant beliefs from the start, compromised the Gospel from the start, sought fame and popularity from the beginning. The world loved him. Look at these verses:

If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. (John 15:19).

I repeat, the world loved him.

Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets. (Luke 6:26).

I repeat, all the world speaks extremely well of Graham.

Should we be surprised that someone like Billy Graham could spend his life as a counterfeit? It’s possible, if you know how deep sin goes and what the Bible says about false conversions, like the Luke verse.

What I hope is that Billy Graham will be in heaven. What I fear is, that he is not.

Hate Week Essay #3: The World will hate you

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. (John 15:18)

The kind of hate we discussed on Monday was the kind of righteous holy hate that God has against sin, divorce, lying, and the 6 other things the Proverbs listed. On Tuesday I followed that up with looking at our hate against those things that God hates, which, mirroring our God, is also a righteous hate (hopefully).

But the world’s hate comes from a completely different fountain. It comes from satan’s river of hate, and the world not only drinks from that fountain, but is immersed and submerged in it.

For what reason does the world hate Jesus? He explained that in John 7:7b

but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.

The Gospel is a command. It is a command for repentance and to obedience to God. People are commanded to repent because, as the other part of the Gospel so clearly says, people’s works are evil and do not please God. They will be judged one day.

No one likes to be told they are sinners, evil, and judged as wanting. In fact, the reprobate mind (as the unsaved possess) cannot understand those things. Therefore they will hate the one who tells them. They hated Jesus for it, and they hated it so much they killed Him.

Gill’s Commentary: how they had expressed their hatred, not only by words, calling him a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a sinner, a Samaritan, a madman, one that had a devil, yea, Beelzebub himself, but by deeds; taking up stones to stone him more than once, leading him to the brow of an hill, in order to cast him down headlong, consulting by various means to take away his life, as Herod did in his very infancy;

And as Paul alluded to here, they will hate the Apostles and disciples for it.

Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? (Galatians 4:16).

Stephen told the Jewish leaders the truth, and they were cut to the heart, but as Ellicott’s Commentary explains, it wasn’t a righteous anger over their own sin, it was a hatred of the one who told them.

They were cut to the heart.—Literally, were sawn through and through. The word describes a keener pang than the “pricked” of Acts 2:37, producing, not repentance, but the frenzy of furious anger.

The world has a killing hatred of Christ and His people.

Some Christians think that if we make the church friendly, those who are seeking will eventually relax into repentance. But it is not so. There is no one seeking after God, no not one, Romans 3:11 says. Therefore there are no seeker friendly churches. And secondly, the Gospel is tampered with to make it palatable to those whom people think are seeking. But the Gospel is a violent thing, it commands what doesn’t want to submit, it reveals what doesn’t want to be revealed. It judges, it forces. Any Gospel that’s changed in any aspect is no Gospel at all.

Paul said in Galatians 1:8,

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

No, we must carry the exact message the King sent to His Ambassadors, whether it’s received eagerly or in rejected in hatred.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible reminds us not to be deterred.

If the world hate you – The friendship of the world they were not to expect, but they were not to be deterred from their work by its hatred. They had seen the example of Jesus. No opposition of the proud, the wealthy, the learned, or the men of power, no persecution or gibes, had deterred him from his work. Remembering this, and having his example steadily in the eye, they were to labor not less because wicked men should oppose and deride them. It is enough for the disciple to be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord, Matthew 10:25.

They hated Jesus. At some point, someone will hate you (and me) for sharing the Gospel, or for witnessing with our life and deeds. And that is good, for we would be like our Master. It’s hard to slough off the world’s hatred, but this world is not our home. We are from a far country, where no hatred exists, only love and devotion to our Master.

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Hate Week Essay #2: Wisdom hates what God hates

Yesterday at the opening of Hate week, we looked at what God hates. If God declares in His word that He hates something, it’s incumbent upon us to know what it is and to hate it too. We are made in His image, so we should love what He loves and Hate what He hates. We must obey Him and glorify Him. If we do the things He hates, we don’t obey Him, love Him, or glorify Him. Therefore, we look into these things, as unpalatable as they are.

It couldn’t be clearer in Proverbs 8:13.

The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Matthew Henry explains from his Whole Commentary on the Bible, opens with saying that hating what God hates gives men good hearts. Then,

v. 13. True religion, consisting in the fear of the Lord, which is the wisdom before recommended, teaches men,

1. To hate all sin, as displeasing to God and destructive to the soul: The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, the evil way, to hate sin as sin, and therefore to hate every false way. Wherever there is an awe of God there is a dread of sin, as an evil, as only evil.

2. Particularly to hate pride and passion, those two common and dangerous sins. Conceitedness of ourselves, pride and arrogancy, are sins which Christ hates, and so do all those who have the Spirit of Christ; every one hates them in others, but we must hate them in ourselves,

The froward mouth*, peevishness towards others, God hates, because it is such an enemy to the peace of mankind, and therefore we should hate it. Be it spoken to the honour of religion that, however it is unjustly accused, it is so far from making men conceited and sour that there is nothing more directly contrary to it than pride and passion, nor which it teaches us more to detest.

*The froward mouth speaks false doctrines, and bad counsels and deceits.
*The froward mouth is the mouth that speaks perverse things

As the Geneva Study Bible says succinctly,

“So that he who does not hate evil, does not fear God.”

Kind of puts it into perspective, doesn’t it? Hate evil. This is wisdom.

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EPrata photo