Forgotten Word Ministries
Self-Interest Over Truth
This cannot be overstated!
In times of imminent danger, historically passengers on ocean going vessels could always count on the captain of the ship. He was the one who protected them when they were in harm's way. If the ship was sinking, the captain was the last to leave, and, if necessary, was evening willing to go down with the ship.
This time honored tradition was tarnished in August of 1991. The captain of the Greek cruise liner Oceanos abandoned his ship off the coast of Africa with more than 160 passengers still needing evacuation. Captain Yannis Avranos made a cowardly and convenient escape via a rescue helicopter. Howard Chua, in Time magazine, reported that Avranos rationalilzed his behavior like this: "I wasn't needed on the ship. I could contribute more on land.
Governor Pontius Pilate of Judea had a real dilemma on his hands. The dilemma’s name was Jesus Christ. As Governor of Judea, he wanted to rule well for Caesar so as to stay on good terms with numero uno. But he had the Jewish rabble to contend with whose hearts were set on fire by Hell, which flames were fanned into an inferno by the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Jewish mob demanded that Jesus be crucified for blasphemy.
Ole Pontius knew that
he had a potential riot in the making which would reflect poorly on his
governance. Job security! This whole issue to him was like carrying a
bottle of nitroglycerine through the middle of a jostling and frenzied
crowd of black Friday shoppers.
On top of all that, Governor Pilate had his own conscience to deal with, skewed as it was. Deep down in Pilate’s gut, he knew that Jesus Christ was an innocent man. Even his wife warned him by way of her nightmarish dream that he should do nothing to this righteous man. (Matthew 27:19) So in Matthew 27:23 Pilate with a pale face and a tinge of desperation, asked the maddening crowd who demanded that Jesus be put to death,
“Why, what evil has He done?”
What to do?
So to clear himself of all responsibility and guilt, he calls for the phony-stage props of self-absolution as he washes his hands with water from a basin in front of the murderous multitude and says in Matthew 27:24,
“I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”
The entire act was as false as covering rotten wood with aluminum or vinyl siding.
And it wasn’t long as we read in Matthew 23:26, after the charade of Pilate’s washing his already blood-stained guilty hands in a contrived innocence that,
“He delivered Him to be crucified.”
There you have it! Very simply:
“IN TRUTH HE PRONOUNCED JESUS INNOCENT IN ONE MOMENT,
BUT IN SHEER SELF-INTEREST HE CONDEMNED
JESUS THE NEXT.”
It is not far from home, is it? We can profess Jesus to be the Holy Son of God in church Sunday, but on Monday when a fellow worker curses His name, we fall silent less we offend. Self-interest rules in our lives more than we want to think about or admit.
“LET CHRIST THE TRUTH BE WHO HE IS, WHEN IT COMES TO
CHOICE, SELF-INTEREST WILL ULTIMATELY
RULE THE DAY.”
That is how self-interest works:
OF FAITH PROCLAIMS US CHRISTIANS IN
CHURCH, BUT OUR PUBLIC SILENCE DECLARES US
US TO BE INFIDELS."
If you will:
PREACH CHRIST IN OUR SERMONS AND ATHEISM
IN OUR PRACTICE."
For Pilate, it really was the age old game of “Political Expedience and Correctness” that has played itself out through the ages to this very day. Hey, whatever it takes to be appointed or elected!
So truth and morality are shuffled and denied by politicians for the sake of self-advancement and self-profit in an ever increasing heathen society. Much as Barack Obama’s evasive polish and sleight of tongue addresses the multitudes with switching eyes as unfocused as postholes, as America’s thoroughly Christian heritage is pooh-poohed if not denied to please the growing anti-Christian multitudes.
HEALED NAAMAN BOWS TO RIMMON
Naaman was captain of the army of the King of Aram (Syria). He was a valiant warrior, and highly respected by his King. He had served his King with military distinction, if not outright heroism.
There was only one big
problem! Naaman had become a leper! The “L” word was as feared in
that day as the “C” word is in ours. “Leprosy” was the “Cancer”
of Old and New Testament history. It too played no favorites and was no
respecter of persons. Plus those who had leprosy were quickly separated
Naaman had a young girl who they had captured and enslaved. She became a servant to Naaman and his wife. And this girl said to her mistress one day in II Kings 5:3,
“I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria!
Then he would cure him of his leprosy.”
You don’t get to be
general by being dumb. Naaman went to his king and told him what the
girl had said. The King said, “By all means go, and I will send a
letter to the King of Israel.” (II Kings 5:5) So Naaman loaded up
with silver, gold, and ten changes of clothing. Changes of clothes were
used in exchange in those days for money.
When Naaman delivers
his King’s letter to the King of Israel, the King of Israel thought to
himself, “Boy! They’re trying to find a reason for invading me. I’m
already paying them tribute as a satellite state. Now they want to
invade. They’re asking me to cure this man of leprosy, and if I don’t we
are dead ducks.”
The King of Israel then tore his clothes in mourning and anguish. Then he receives word from Elisha saying, “Send him to me and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. (II Kings 5:8) Naaman came and stood before the house of Elisha. Elisha sent a messenger out who relayed his instructions to Naaman saying in II Kings 5:10,
“Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be
restored to you and you shall be clean.”
What was Naaman’s reaction? He was General – General Naaman! He was furious! He was in a rage! He started to return home with all of his entourage and all the money. One of Naaman’s men finally got up enough courage and in effect said, “If Elisha had asked you to do a great thing, wouldn’t you have done it? Well then, if he simply asks you to wash and be clean, even more then you should do it.”
So Naaman humbled himself – not in one of the rivers back near Damascus. But Naaman humbled himself by going to the Jordan River just as he had been instructed. He dipped himself in the Jordan River seven times and came up the seventh time completely healed and cleansed from his leprosy. We read in II Kings 5:14,
“…and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child….”
Of course Naaman now knew the truth, namely that the God of Israel had delivered him from his leprous-death sentence. He takes it even further and says to Elisha in II Kings 5:15,
“Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth,
but in Israel….”
Naaman professed the only true God and thereby renounced all idolatry, and even took two mules back with him burdened with earth so as to build an altar to sacrifice to his new found God to end all gods.
However, there is a catch. It is the catch of “Self-Interest.” Naaman intuitively sensed that inherent in “The Only God Reality” were the imperatives of the 1st and 2nd Mosaic Commandments. First, that he could not have any other gods before “The God To End All gods.” Second, that he could not make any idol image or bow himself down to an idol god.
However such truth was too strict for Naaman and imperiled his self-interests. Why? Because his King was a heathen idolater just as Naaman had been. And it was Naaman’s job and duty to assist his King and support him when he entered the temple and bowed before his god. He requested of Elisha in II Kings 5:18,
“In this matter may
the Lord pardon your servant: when my master
goes into the house
of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans
on my hand and I bow
myself in the house of Rimmon…the
Lord pardon your servant in this matter.”
Bow or get fired if not executed! It is really something, in fact it is incredible:
“HOW SELF-INTEREST WILL COMPROMISE AND OUTWEIGH TRUTH.”
Naaman now knew that Rimmon the god of Aram was no god at all. In fact, it had been the God of Israel all along who had given Naaman victory in battle. (II Kings 5:1) But for the sake of favor with his King, he would bow with his master to that heathen idol. Better to bow than to be busted or beheaded! We say once again:
"SELF-INTEREST IS THE GREAT WHEEL THAT MOVES THE UNIVERSE
AND BOWS THE KNEES OF MAN."
So he asks pardon for what he was going to do, and that is assist his King in performing heathen worship, of which he had been a part for many years. Better to bow before Rimmon than to lose his place. Elisha accomodates Naaman at the spiritual and conscience level he is on. Naaman was at the point where tragically so many people remain:
"THEY MAINTAIN THE TRUTH OF THE ONE GOD, BUT THEY
ARE NOT FULLY MAINTAINED BY IT BECAUSE
Today, we have “Seeker Friendly Religion” which could also be called “Casual Christianity.” It is “Truth” redesigned, diluted and compromised to accommodate “Self-Interest.”
I’m a Christian, but you don’t have to go to church to be a Christian. I go when it suits me. Anyway, these church people have themselves cancelled evening services which they had for decades. I agree! Service optional religion is what I like. Weekends are for family and friends as well as for God. Plus there are times that I simply need to crash. I go to church when I can. And on top of that, I often have to work on Sundays to keep my job and pay the bills. Pardon me, but I still have to bow down to Rimmon like all the rest of the Rimmonites.
It has been my painful conviction for some time now that most modern religionists no longer have the slightest concept of the sacredness, importance and meaning of the "Sabbath Day." The "Seventh Day." It has never dawned on them, nor have they ever been taught that Adam and Eve were created on the sixth day, meaning that the first full day of thier lives was the "Seventh Day." They fully began thier lives with the celebration of God and His creation. If you will:
"THEY COULD ONLY LIVE THEIR LIVES ARIGHT WITH A FULL
DAY OF WORSHIPPING THE LIFE-GIVER AND CELE-
BRATING HIS VERY GOOD HANDIWORK."
Without the "Seventh Day" as the first full day of worship and celebration, the following six days become meaningless and drudgery. The world cries:
"THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY."
"THANK GOD IT'S SUNDAY."
I’m a Christian but I don’t get into all of that tithing business. You don’t have to buy your way into Heaven. I give as circumstances and business permit. But that 10% stuff is just plain excessive! What with Uncle Sam taking bigger and bigger bites out of my paychecks, and inflation requiring me to spend more and more for less and less! I give to church as I can, but it is getting harder and harder. I am having increasing difficulty paying the $1800.00 monthly mortgage, the $475.00 and $289.000 monthly car payments, as well as the boat and RV payments and all related increasing insurance premiums. Man, it is really tough. Pardon me, but I still have to bow down to Rimmon like all the rest of the Rimmonites.
“WE WOULD BE LOST AND HEADED FOR HELL IF JESUS CHRIST
HAD PUT SELF-INTEREST FIRST.”
“HOW SHOCKED THE SELF-INTERESTED, CASUAL CHRISTIANS
WORLD WOULD BE IF THEY FOUND OUT THAT CHRIST
IS AS SELF-INTERESTED AND CASUAL AB0UT THEM.”
“HOW SHOCKED PEOPLE WOULD BE IF THEY REALIZED HOW MUCH
THEY WANT PARDON, AND HOW LITTLE THEY WANT
NAKED, UNVARNISHED TRUTH.”
FROM “I’LL DIE WITH YOU” TO DENIAL
We all remember the words of Peter to Jesus in Matthew 26:35,
“Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny you.”
Who could ever forget his words? Not because of the words themselves of course, but what soon followed. Peter will die for His Master at one moment, and not many hours after deny Him. You remember all of this I am sure. Peter will prove himself to be nothing but a piece of pliable rubber with a big mouth.
Peter, the self-proclaimed giant of faith, was sitting in the high priest’s hall warming himself when a servant girl came to him as read in Matthew 26:69 and said to him,
“You too were with Jesus the Galilean.”
Boom! There she was out of the blue declaring his association with Jesus Christ. It was like a red-hot line drive that Peter was not ready for at all. In terms of warfare, it must have sounded and felt like sniper fire. The girl's accusation burned in his brain. The devil usually sets us up by coming at us just as he fell from Heaven, like lightning.
But never mind, Peter was so resolute in his faith that he had promised Jesus a short time earlier that he would be faithful to Christ to the death. Satan had met his match this time! But Peter’s response to the innocent servant-girl hits us in the solar plexus. He says in Matthew 26:70,
“I do not know what you are talking about.”
Peter was caught off
guard which all of us know about. What was happening to Jesus, the
arrest and all, had already rocked his faith. Now that he had denied
ever being with Jesus, his shaken world suddenly went into a severely
wobbly orbit which he for now would not recover from. Peter had already
begun his descent.
Satan heard Peter’s denial. It was so easy! Satan always continues his assault quickly when he sees that the soul’s devotion is beginning to ebb, and the human spirit’s guard is down. He will intensify his siege when the human soul slides downward into self-interest and security.
Another servant girl will do just fine, for it worked so well the first time. You and I must know this:
“RARELY DOES THE TEMPTER AND TEMPTATION ATTACK THE
HUMAN SOUL WITHOUT A SOON-SECOND ASSAULT.”
We read in Matthew 26:71,
servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there,
'This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.'”
Another big chunk of Peter’s faith flies off as he swears an oath to her and them in Matthew 26:72,
“I do not know the
A double whammy! Now Satan has Peter on the run. Satan is not dumb! He never sleeps nor is he guilty of laziness or loitering. He never overlooks an advantage, and now the advantage is all his. Strike while the iron is hot! Satan always keeps the pressure on! So we read in Matthew 26:73,
“And a little while later the bystanders came up and said to him,
‘Surely you too are one of them; for the way you
talk gives you away.’”
The heart is sickened to read what happen next in Matthew 26:74,
“Then he began to curse and swear, ‘I do not know the man.’”
A tragedy that sends shock waves through our souls ever time we read this. Not only denying any knowledge of Jesus, but doing so with cursing and swearing. But not totally shocking when you think about it. The cursing and swearing was an attempt to identify himself with those who loathed Jesus. For added effect! Self-interest knows no boundaries. Peter then went into the solitary confinement of self-interested loneliness and horror. He retreated to the edge of nowhere.
“THE DEVIL WILL ALWAYS WELCOME A MAN BUILDING HIMSELF
UP SO HE CAN BRING HIM DOWN WITH EVEN
“THE DEVIL CAN TAKE A CONFESSOR OF CHRISTIANITY AND TURN
HIM INTO AN ARGUMENT AGAINST CHRISTIANITY
ALL IN THE SAME DAY.”
Then to add insult to
injury the rooster crowed and enforced Peter’s threefold denial of
Now hear this:
“EITHER WE WILL DENY SELF OR DENY CHRIST.”
Whether we like to admit it or not, that simple but eternally profound “Either-Or” is the dividing and decisive factor in all of words and actions. You and I have to grasp this:
“WHOEVER SPEAKS AND ACTS ON BEHALF OF SELF-INTEREST
AS HIS GUIDING LIFE PRINCIPLE WILL ALWAYS SPEAK
AND ACT IN OPPOSITION TO THE INTERESTS
“NO ONE WILL EVER LOVINGLY EMBRACE THE INTERESTS OF
CHRIST WITHOUT RENOUNCING THE INTERESTS OF SELF.”
It is that basic, as well as cut and dried! Why else would Jesus say again and again words like those in Mark 8:34?-
“If anyone wishes to come after me, LET HIM DENY HIMSELF, and
take up his cross, and follow me.”
Allow me now to quote
from my recent book Modern Christianity Corrupted pages
147-148: “The comprehensive duty in Christianity is self-denial…And be
assured of the following, that no one opposes Christ but for the purpose
of serving self. Likewise, no one truly affirms Christ without the
willingness to deny self. We cannot have it both ways. It is either
HAIL KING JESUS or HAIL KING SELF.”
Continuing the quote: “Is self-denial an easy thing to do? No, not at all! Denying self is not a simple goodbye to self. Hey self, see yah! I wish it were that easy. Not so. Not in the least. After all, we have lived with and served self for as long as we can remember. Self came into the world with us and has stuck to us like glue ever since. Self is the dominating influence in our lives.”
Then from page 164: “In
Religious Humanism the controlling principle is always to soothe the
selves and pack the pews. In Christianity, the guiding principle is
always to deny the selves and make disciples. In the first instance we
have soothing pew-packers, and in the second instance we have disciple
“This is where genuine Christianity begins. Complete self-denial! Fail here and no one will be able to carry out faithful Christian discipleship, at least, not for very long. It won’t last! Why? Because the very next thing that Jesus commands His would-be disciple in Mark 8:34 is to,
“…take up his cross….”
"The logic of Christ is
flawless as always, and is illustrated by the discipleship principle
that only those who say no to self will be able to say yes to the cross.
We cannot hang on to ourselves (self-interest) and carry our crosses for
Christ (His interests) at the same time. Self is far too self-protecting
for cross bearing."
Finally: “The cross of course for Christ ultimately speaks of death. It is obvious that,
THOSE WHO DENY SELF WILL BE WILLING TO DIE FOR
CHRIST. HE WHO IS RELUCTANT TO DENY SELF WILL
DENY CHRIST TO SAVE HIS OWN NECK. THAT
IS JUST THE WAY IT IS.’”
It has gripped me for many years that Peter’s first self-interest motivated denial was simply that he did not know what the servant girl was talking about. It was only after first falsely disassociating himself from Jesus that he then was pressed into twice lying flat out by swearing and cursing, “I do not know the man.”
The hole that
self-interest digs for itself by denying truth gets deeper and deeper.
Always! You and I must hear this!
So too when it comes to the doctrinal and moral absolutes of the Holy Bible! This is how it goes. Again we must say that it is incredible how self-interest will outweigh and then bury truth. It goes like this, first:
“A TRUTH THAT IS ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN BUT IT OPPOSES AND
THWARTS SELF-INTEREST, THAT TRUTH WILL THEN BE
LOWERED INTO A PROBABILITY.”
Then when truth is demoted to probability, the Biblically indisputable will begin to be disputed. As in the case of the infallibility and exclusivity of the Bible as God’s only and sacred revelation to man. That is no longer indisputable, as now sacred Scriptures only probably contain the Word of God here and there, but are not in total the Word of God. So that everything from creation to Christ's return is being debated in the church as to its actuality and factuality.
In point of fact, because of the modern religious humanism church opening itself to and entertaining people's self-interests, everything including the absolutely indisputable sins of homosexuality and same-sex marriage are now being disputed in the modern church as to whether or not they are sins after all. This past week on Fox News and the Sean Hannity program, Hannity interviewed Joel Osteen and asked him what his stand was on homosexuality and abortion. His answer was:
"THEY ARE NOT GOD'S BEST."
Well now, if homosexuality and abortion are not God's best, then they are perhaps God's average or God's worst. But we all know that God does not have a second best, an average or a worst. God is perfection! He only is and has "The Best."
But what this false prophet left the viewing audience with was the strong probability that homosexuality and abortion were not sins at all, just inferior options from God's point of view. However, not only according to the Bible is homosexuality an abominable sin and abortion murder, but Joel Osteen's theology, if we can call it that, is an abomination as well.
"WHEN ABSOLUTE TRUTH IS PROBABILIZED AND DISPUTED, IT WILL
NOT BE LONG AND THAT TRUTH WILL BE DENOUNCED AS
AN ABSOLUTE FALSHOOD.”
Always! He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying.What are your thoughts on this article?