When I was a little boy and Television was new, Saturday mornings were a wonderful time. Some of you have never seen a black and white television with rabbit ears, but trust me, to a 6 year old boy in 1957 that magic box in the living room was heaven. Saturday morning was the stuff that dreams were made of. Saturday morning made elementary school tolerable. We knew that if we suffered through day by day, Saturday morning would come. Then there would be glory.
Saturday morning I would jump out of bed wide awake and creep to the tv at 6am. The line up was:
6:00…Test pattern… a solid tone of audio known as a sounder with a single image, usually in kalideoscope form or the illustration of an American Indians head for some strange reason.
6:15…Some pencil necked geek college professor talking about some unintelligible mish mash of newtonian physics and basic trigonometry. I would hold my nose and cover my ears for the next 15 minutes.
6:30…Laurel and Hardy (what better way for a little boy to start a glorious day than to watch two ignoramouses push a grand piano up 500 steps only to have it roll, bounce and shatter it’s way back down all of the 500 steps?)
7:00…The little rascals (this was the prelude, the warm up for heaven )
7:30…The Cisco kid and his side kick Pancho
8:00…The Red Rider and his pal little beaver
8:30…Gene Autrey and his side kick Smiley Burnett and some glorious mornings…George “Gabby” Hayes…Gabby was a sidekick for both Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey. Gabby Hayes had no teeth. Gabby did not try to hide this fact. He never wore dentures. He just talked without them. He once described Roy Rogers as a “Rootin, Tootin six gun shootin, ring tailed…buckarooooooooo!” Try saying that with no teeth.
9:00…”Hoppy”…Hopalong Cassidy. Here is a trivia fact…Hoppy’s real name was William Boyd.
9:30… Mighty Mouse… I never could figure out why they threw in cartoons in the middle of cowboy heaven…during this respite you could take a bathroom break and reload your cap guns. I usually swapped holsters and gun sets and got ready for the next cowboy shows. It used to aggrivate us that our sisters would show up about this time. They hated cowboy shows but they liked Mighty Mouse and the following show Heckle and Jekyll the nutty magpies (crows) that were in a perpetual chase scene down a hall with hundreds of doors that they slammed in the face of the stupid sheriff dog that chased them until he dropped. Then the girls would leave us in Nervana until their shows (My friend Flicka, Fury and Circus boy) came on.
10:00…Heckle and Jekyll
10:30…Back to the glory…ROY ROGERS my hero…The King of the Cowboys and My personal horse…Trigger. This was the climax of my week. I was riding down the dustry trails with Roy wherever he went. Then in the blinking of an eye, the show was over and Pat Butrum would be riding off in his jeep Nelly bell with Roy. Years later Pat Butrum became Mr. Haney on Green Acres. After Roy, my week started going back down hill.
11:00…The Lone Ranger… a close second to Roy. The Lone Ranger show opened with an off camera Radio voice announcer saying in a deep bass voice “RETURN WITH US NOW TO THE THRILLING DAYS OF YESTERYEAR.”… Then the Lone Ranger would show up on his wonder horse Silver…who was the village idiot compared to my horse that I lent to Roy Rogers…Trigger. The Lone Ranger would shout into the wind…”Hiyo Silver and Away” and Silver would stand on his hind legs and rare up in the air scratching at the air with his front hooves.”
11:30..My second favorite adventure…Sky King. The same radio voiced announcer from the opening of the Lone Ranger would bark… “Out of the blue of the western sky comes…SKY KING and his airplane Songbird.” Oh boy…Allen was in heaven when Sky would roll his old beechcraft up on its left wing.
Then it was the girl shows. Allen and the boys would be on their bicycles chasing bad guys and blasting them with cap guns. We would return to the “thrilling days of yesteryear”.
Now the point of all of this, is that to return to the thrilling days of yesteryear may be ok when you are an 8 year old boy wearing pajamas, cowboy boots, a loaded six gun holster with your all important cowboy hat and your Red Rider 30-30 saddle gun, but as adults, God’s plan is for us to live in this present moment.
I recently heard a Preacher railing intensely about some sins that he believes will stop God from blessing Christians. The more wound up he got the longer the list grew. Momentum filled the sails of the preacher and he went off the deep end. Beyond, God violating his own Word and stiff neckedly refusing to bless those who commit these, the preachers championed sins, “yes” he declared, “those who commit them will not inherit the kingdom of God.” In other words Christians who commit them are going to hell.
As I sat bewildered listening to the preacher spew the old covenant law onto his flock I just scratched my head in wonder. He was hanging the book of proverbs on his folks as if they were obligated by God to keep these observances of Solomon, an old covenant Jew. He completely ignored the fact that Proverbs were not even Law for the old covenant Jew. Proverbs is a book of the observances of Solomon using the supernatural wisdom that God gave him as a gift. It was as if Jesus never came to set the Jews free from the law. It seemed entirely irrelevant to the Preacher that the flock whom he was addressing were Christians of Gentile origin who were never under the Hebrew law to begin with.
“God will not bless sinners”, he exclaimed, regardless of the fact that God has already blessed us all with all things that pertain to life and Godliness, not through our behavior but through the knowledge of Jesus. (2 Peter 1:1-3) “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have (past tense) obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our savior Jesus Christ; Grace and Peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power HATH (past tense) given unto us ALL things that pertain to life and Godliness. “
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who HATH (past tense) blessed us with ALL spiritual blessings in Heavenly places in Jesus.” (The Apostle Paul…Letter to the church at Ephesus…Chapter 1:3).
God clearly has already blessed those of us who are saved with all blessings both in this life and in the life to come. God does not take back gifts and blessings. “The gifts and callings of God are without repentance.” (Romans 11:29) Our blessings are given to us when we believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead and confess with our mouths that Jesus is lord. They are given to us by the Grace of God and received by the free gift given to us by God, of the faith of the Son of God. We are not blessed by our performance, nor do we have blessings withheld by our misbehavior or sins.
Jesus taught us saying…”If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly father give good gifts to you if you ask?” Matthew 7:11
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delievered him up for us all, how shall He not with Him FREELY give us ALL things?” (The Apostle Paul, letter to the church at Rome; Chapter 11verses 31and 32.)
Even though God has given us all things, will sin stop us from receiving them? Absolutely, but not because God is punishing us. Sin is a reflection of unbelief. The more sin that is in our lives, the more unbelief we have. Unbelief is the only thing that will overcome the promises of God and Jesus, and it is the only unforgiveable sin. Here is a practicum on how this works. If you believe that as promised by the Gospels that “the God of all hope will fill you with joy and peace in believing”, then you do not need to buy hapiness at the liqour store or on the corner. If you believe that Jesus guaranteed our prosperity, then there is no need to steal.
The preacher was merely teaching what he has been taught. The problem is that most preachers do not understand that we are under the New Covenant bought,paid for and guaranteed by the blood of Jesus. Our relationship with God is based on the complete work of Jesus on the cross and in his ressurection and not on our performance, and that the Old Covenant does not apply to us. Not only that but there are serious consequences for once being made holy, blameless and unreproveable in the sight of God by accepting the work of the blood of Jesus, and then placing ourselves back under a performance based relationship with God. Consider the following teachings from Paul…
“For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse; for it is written…cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things written in the book of the law to do them.” ( good luck. this means that once you decide to try to build your relationship with God on how good or bad you are, then you instantly become responsible for keeping 100% of all of the ten commandments and all of the more than 600 attached ordinances. If you fail to keep all of these in the flesh and in your heart, then you get the promised consequences of THE CURSE. For the details of THE CURSE, read the 28th chapter of Dueteronomy beginning in the 15th verse. But as you make your decision, I suggest you note Paul’s following inescapable conclusion… “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for The just shall live by faith “. (Galatians 3:10and 11)
One of the most frequent questions that I am asked is this, why do bad things happen to “believers”? Frankly, I believe that all who are Christians are saved, but experience teaches me that very few who are saved, believe the teachings of Jesus outside the plan of salvation. The question was answered by Paul. JESUS IS BECOME OF NO EFFECT UNTO YOU, WHOSOEVER OF YOU ARE UNDER THE LAW, YE HAVE FALLEN FROM GRACE. (Galatians 5:4) If you believe that your behavior is a better conduit to God than the blood of Jesus and His grace, then you have rejected the blood of Jesus and you are on your own.
When you are exposed to a message of works remember what Jesus said when he was asked a direct question about works. “Then said they unto him, what must we do that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered unto them, This is the works of God, that you believe on Him whom He sent.” (John 6:28and29)
The preacher actually said that there are Christians that will go to hell because of their behavior. This would only be true if Jesus did not mean what he taught. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to judge it or condemn it, but that the world thorugh him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is already condemned, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18)
Many have recently asked me about how Jesus deals with sexual sins. Some have heard sermons misgouteing Paul about how people who commit certain specific sexual sins will “not inherit the kingdom of God”. Paul meant that anyone who commits any sin especially sexual sins has no excuse before God unless they have Jesus as their savior. How did Jesus deal with sexual sins?
The scribes and pharisees thought they had nailed Jesus in a conundrum. They thought that they had him in an inescapable trap. The Roman law stated that a Jew could not condemn another Jew to death. The Hebrew law stated that a woman caught in the act of adultery must be stoned to death. So when they presented him with the adulterous woman, he had to violate a law. Then they could try him for blasphemy or turn him over to the Romans for violating Roman law.
“They said unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned; but what sayeth thou? (and you thought Bill Orielly invented the What Say You question) This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him, but Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, (I believe that he was writing the sins of each person there, individually) So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He who is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last; and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. when Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman where are those thine accusers? hath no man condmned thee? She said , No man Lord. And Jesus (Who was the only one in the crowd qualified to stone her and compelled by the law to do so.) said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.”
Then spoke Jesus again to them…I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:4-11)
Why do people fight so hard against the gospel of Grace taught by Jesus? Why do they insist on mixing the old and new covenants? Why do people accept salvation from Jesus but no more? Why do Christians feel that they must please God with their performance to keep their salvation and get blessed? Because, this is what they have been taught by people who wish to return to the “thrilling days of yesteryear.”
Moses was faced with the exact same behavior. God had promised to deliver his people from the bondage of slavery to works. God’s people were enslaved by the Egyptians who forced them to make bricks all day in the hot sun. They preferred to be slaves to the work imposed on them by the Egyptians than to walk in faith with God into “a land flowing with milk and honey. “God had just done a series of miracles to deliver them with all of the gold and silver of Pharroh and from Pharroh. Still they refused to believe God. They wanted to go back to slavery. They threatened to kill Joshua and Caleb who believed God. They voted to appoint a captain to take them back to Egypt. So, God waited until all of the adult unbelievers had wandered in the desert until they died before allowing the believers, Joshua and Caleb to lead the survivors to the land that God had promised them.
Jesus freed the children of Israel from the law and the Gentiles from the sins of their flesh. Yet many of both prefer the slavery of trying to work their way to salvation and the blessings of God.
Works or Grace and Truth…The decision is ours.