You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
Why am I still so empty after the church sermon?
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PERSONAL COMPLETENESS CAN ONLY BE FOUND IN JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF
Everyone on earth is trying to find completeness; wholeness and fullness in and around themselves. However, there is a place inside the yearning human spirit or ‘heart’ of every person, (1 Ths. 5: 23) which billions of people through the ages have tried to fill with outward political and religious practices of all sorts, outward wealth, beauty, health, happiness, relationships, and prestige — but to no avail. Since that day in Eden, when humanity disobeyed God and fell from their perfect state or position of completeness in Him, they have been trying to erect safe and prosperous kingdoms to fill that inward void. They tried to find perfect lovers to complete themselves. They attempted to build perfect families and friendships, and continually strived to execute perfect rule over others. Yet, all of that came up empty in the day when they had to meet their Maker and realized their countless religious practices, abuse and control of people and animals, and political excursions bought them nothing. Every single thing on earth had to stay behind and perish, even all their good works and whatever they perceived as completeness, because their immortal human spirits had to leave it all behind to give an account before the almighty throne of God for everything and everyone He had entrusted to them during their short lives here on earth, (2 Pt. 4:10-14.)
This happens because we ourselves and those in control of our lives, focussing on what is physical and thus temporal, usually struggle endlessly to ‘better’ our religious and political worlds, and to change us from the outside in. All this might give us fleeting feelings of accomplishment, pleasure, comfort, and a notion of completeness and security, but nothing can change anything about the fallen human spirit, corrupted soul or mind, and the lost spiritual condition of humanity. Only Jesus can fill that nagging, empty “God place” deep inside us all, which everyone yearns to fill with something tangible, while not even the most grandiose, expensive substitute will do.
Only Jesus Christ Himself could complete us, (past tense in the lives of all true believers,) Col. 2:8-15. This is so because the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible is a Person, the Almighty God Himself, not a step-by-step, manmade ritual or outward, ceremonial church or other religion, (Heb. 1:1-14.)
Religion can be anything. Satanism is also a religion. So is the sinful love of self, (the dangerous spiritual illness called Narcissism,) the love of money and power, and mere church attendance. In contrast to all these schemes of man, Jesus works from the inside out. He places His real spiritual Kingdom inside His true disciples, (Lu. 17:20-21 KJV.) He addresses our dreadful spiritual position without God before He changes the emptiness and imperfection in our lives.
Ž It always stuns me to realize how unpopular the Real Scriptural Jesus really is; (thus He called Himself “The Narrow Way;”) how the self-enhancing doctrines of church religion made the true teachings of Jesus unpopular, and how unpopular the true body of Christ always was, (Heb. Chapter 11; 1 Cor. 12:1-31.)
Ž By the billions, people choose popular prosperity lies and spiritually dead church ceremonies that promise to make them rich and feel devout; adoring the dangerous wolves in sheep's clothing that fleece them and feed on them, (Mt. 7:15.) This is so because those shameless, sacrilegious religionists deceive believers to think they do not have to obey the Truth of God's Word, they do not have to change their hearts, minds, and lives by submitting to God and following Him above all else — they may do empty outward religion and everything else their own way, (Rom. 12:1-3.)
When will we realize that Adam and Eve disobeyed God only once in Eden, allowing deception to enter into their minds, and they died spiritually, dragging all of humanity with them? Scripture makes it clear that God never changes. God's view on sin and other types of disobedience never changes. That's why Jesus commanded us to be continually on our guard against deception. To flee from false teachers and prophets, and never willingly allow any form of deception into our thoughts and lives because our eternal lives and the eternal lives of all those we are able to influence, depend on our loving obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ above all else, (Matthew Chapter 24.)
JESUS IS A PERSON NOT A RELIGION
One reason why ‘church’ cannot work, is that one cannot have a personal relationship with the system of secular church, or any other religious system. One can only have a personal relationship with the evil mastermind behind that system and his name is Satan, the greatest theologian of all time. Following church and other religion is spiritual death; following God Jesus in the Truth of His Word is eternal life, (Heb. 1:1-14.) Because Jesus is a Person; the Savior Who fulfilled the entire law in our place, He does not require a system to establish and uphold His Spiritual Kingdom, which resides inside the Scripturally born again ‘hearts’ of sincere believers. Hence, Jesus can never be pleased with empty words, songs, deeds, wealth, fake power and fleeting beauty of any kind. That is why religion can never be part of God’s plan of redemption for humanity. Jesus requires our personal, sincere worship in spirit and in the truth of His Word; not a ritual, manmade ‘stairway’ of sanctimonious church works, which lead to some unknown heaven that does not exist, (Jn. 4:21-24.)
Ž Religion will always leave us empty inside because it teaches stagnant well-water derived from some Bible verses and made into false doctrines that steer pagan, Christianized church norms and forms. Jesus will always fill us completely if we seek His full contextual, Scriptural truth, because His Life is The Living Spring inside every sincerely and personally born again human spirit. Only Jesus is the real Christ, the Redeemer of the entire world, Who gave Himself wholly for us. Thus, Jesus does not merely want our money, goods, religious works or praise. Jesus wants us in totality: who we are and everything our lives are comprised of here on earth. Only Jesus is God Himself; our Creator and the Creator of His entire universe. So, Jesus requires our souls or minds, hearts or human spirits, bodies and lives in a never-ending, personal relationship with Him, (1 Ths. 5:23; Jn. 3:16; 1:12-13; Gal. 4:6; Mt. 10:39.)
WE ALL HAVE TO DIE TO LIVE IN CHRIST; THERE IS NO OTHER WAY
Only Jesus Himself could atone in full for humanity’s sinful, lost, and cursed state without God, so that humanity can know and worship the living God once more. He never sent an angel or a human to do this dreadfully dirty work for Him. It certain that no one can enter Jesus’ true Kingdom through another ‘door,’ but only by accepting and following Him Personally. So, all self-reliant manmade ‘worship,’ works of the Old Testament, ceremonial temple law; obedience to the false church hierarchy, and all dogmatic ‘salvation’ and ‘blessing,’ which avoid spiritual death to all sin and self, is a great insult to Him.
Jesus did not bid us, ‘Come as you are to stay as you are for you can enter My holy heaven as dirty and deceived as you are! No, Jesus commanded us to die to the sinful lusts of this world and the deception of all religion, to fully accept and follow Him in the truth of His entire Word. This is the Only Way to live in Him for all eternity!
Ž It is a deep, unchangeable Gospel truth, which deceivers have tried to change throughout all the ages, that without death to sinful self and the sinful world, no one will ever be able to live in Christ — and certainly not for all eternity in heaven with Him! Thus, Jesus Himself taught us in Mt. 10:39, “He who finds his life [in this sinful dimension without Me, although he might sound and look calm, prosperous, and religious,] will lose it [for all eternity.]” And Paul explained in Rom. 6:6-8, “If we died with Christ we shall also live with Him.” Luke 14:33, “He cannot be My disciple who does not give up all his possessions...” Lu. 9:23, “Deny yourself, take up your cross, [the hard and seemingly unbearable burdens and circumstances that never seem to change,] and follow Me, [instead of allowing circumstances to pull you down and away from Me,]” because both the good and the bad things in this life will pass away, but My life and eternal life in heaven, according to My Everlasting Word, will never pass away!
Only Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. Only Jesus will return to earth as the Lion of Judah to judge all sinful men and their empty religious works. And only Jesus will return for those who truly belong to Him: (Jn. 1:1-14; 3:16; Rev. 19:11-16; 1 Ths. 4:14-18.) All other so-called ‘saviors’ of the world were and are ordinary human beings, and most are already sleeping in their graves, awaiting the resurrection to stand in judgment before the Most High God, (1 Tim. 2:5; Rev. 20:11-15.) But Jesus lives! And He lives forever and always so that all who sincerely and personally believe in Him and follow Him to the end of this life in the truth of His entire Word, can also live forevermore.
Ž As a result, all those who truly died to sin and self to live in Him, are for always complete in Him. Because Jesus promised us spiritual life and inner peace in abundance due to our completeness in Him, the only ‘completeness’ outside us is actually complete chaos: political and religious chaos, family chaos; friendships, wealth and health that all eventually fail. Therefore, Jesus’ sincerely born again disciples, who have His Kingdom of Peace inside of them, do not look for completeness in this world’s wealth, or its religious and political systems; fame, fortune, or in other people. While the love and help of our good parents, spouses, children, and friends are great gifts in this life, Real Completeness can never be found outside or around us. True completeness is only to be found in Christ because His Kingdom is inside all His disciples. True disciples are already fully complete in Him and nothing can ever add to that.
IMPORTANT AND IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JESUS AND RELIGION
The Following is an extract of the free book ‘Relationship Versus Religion:’
Jesus is a Person, therefore He focuses on agapaö and agapė - our love for God and our fellow man, (Jn. 17:3; 1 Jn. 2:3-11.) Jesus sees every human being as an individual. Position, education and wealth do not impress Him at all. While religion focuses on conquering countries and subjecting the world to religious rule, grand buildings, religious robes and Sunday best, Jesus concentrates primarily on the salvation and renewal of our inner life - our spirits and our souls.
Religion cherishes pomp, ceremony, agendas and meetings, while everything of this world is subject to our personal relationship with God in and through Jesus Christ. First and foremost, He is simply interested in what comes from the heart, or the supernatural, born again human spirit of humanity, (1 Ths. 5:23.) This is the ‘inner sanctuary’ of God, where the Holy Spirit constantly dwells inside the true believer. From the blood-cleansed, human spirit of man, the Spirit of God executes His holy reign; first affecting the mind or soul of man, and flowing from there outward to touch his entire life.
Consequently, mere man-made religion, church-buildings, an unscriptural hierarchical clergy, rites, rituals and ceremonies, church catechetics, Christian relics, and learned prayers and hymns without spiritual substance do not interest Him at all. (Heb. 8:9-10; Rom. 14:17-18; Heb. 7:48-49.) Above all: while religion is always based on denominations (or divisions of Christianity) and exclusivity, Jesus can never be limited to a church, a certain denomination, or any other group of religious people. One can merely decide to change membership from one religion or from one church to another, but one cannot join Jesus’ political party or ‘church’ organization – He simply does not have any of these. Every individual of whatever race or position, who personally and sincerely accepts Him, is born spiritually into His unseen, spiritual kingdom.
Consequently, the names of Jesus’ believers do not have to be recorded in a church-register; they should only be recorded in heaven’s register: The Lamb’s Book of Life, (Isa. 43:1; 1 Pet. 1:17-18; Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-5; 18:36; Rev. 5:9-10.)
As He directly opposes the controlling and oppressing hierarchies of all religion, Jesus does not overload His disciples with religious and ceremonial burdens and tasks. He anoints or supernaturally empowers every one of His disciples to be a spiritual king and priest, to minister with Him as joint-heirs of His kingdom in a position of spiritual honor, where no rank and preference exist, (Mt. 11:28-29; Rev. 1:5-6; Rom. 8:17.) Therefore, Jesus commanded every believer to make the most of his or her personal opportunities, gifts and talents to glorify God, (Mt. 25:14.)
Contrary to the brainwashing techniques and doctrines of religion, Jesus also commanded His disciples to use their brains to question, test and prove everything, spiritual matters included, with an attitude of respect - which is not needless, hurtful criticism, but the personal responsibility of all His children, (1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Ths. 5:21; 1 Jn. 4:1; Heb. 5:14: Mt. 7:16.)
Fundamentally different from the pampered church clergy, Jesus’ real ‘elderly’ leaders, women included, must be willing to lay down even their own lives for His flock as the Holy Spirit leads, (Jn. 13:14; 1 Jn. 3:16.) Vastly different from the so-called ‘hyper’ anointing that church clergies assume, Jesus functions in the power of His Holy Spirit through His believers who willingly obey the truth of His contextual Word, (Jn. 14:23-24; Rom. 8:14.)
Unlike religion, Jesus does not force us and bring us into bondage; He calls us and sets us free, (Mt. 11:28-30; Jn. 8:31-32.) Opposing all religion, which is always based on legalism and salvation by works, Jesus does not bring outward, man-made laws, rituals and catechetics to govern the lives of His believers. While religion always ‘conforms’ its members to its outward church standards, Jesus does not attempt to change people from the outside. Hence, He does not use psychology or behaviourism, positive confession or any other human teaching to change sinful habits into ‘good’ habits: Col. 2:4-8.
While religion’s notion of sin is always the neglect of temple or church worship, church sacrifice, and disobedience to its hierarchy, (which manifests in a total lack of shame and moral conscience,) Jesus judges only a lack of Moral Love for God, ourselves, and other people, (Jn. 13:34; Mt. 22:37-40.) Hence, Jesus sees all so-called ‘bad habits’ as sin and He expects us to simply confess them and repent in the power of His Holy Spirit, (1 Jn. 1:7-9; Phil. 4:13.)
Jesus does not dress spiritually dead religious humans, still controlled by the cursed sin-nature, with salvation and holiness. Christ brings spiritual life, transformation of the soul or mind, and His Godly nature to His born again believers, (Jn. 3:3-5; Rom. 12:1-3.) Jesus does not force us to obey manmade sacraments and learned catechetics; He “engraves” His Royal Law of agapaö (love for God,) and agapė (love for man) on our spirits, and “implants” His Word into our newborn spirits, assuring that His disciples can naturally understand, follow, and obey Him: (Heb. 10:16; James 1:21.)
COUNTERACTING SOUL-CONSUMING RELIGION, JESUS GAVE HIMSELF IN OUR PLACE AND TORE THE VEIL OF SEPARATION BETWEEN HUMANITY AND GOD ONCE AND FOR ALL
The entire system of all religion, Christianity as well, is based on oppressing laws, intricate rituals, and outward piety; never giving anything of eternal worth but claiming absolute submission to it’s rule, and providing only material membership. Jesus, on the other hand, gave everything of Himself and asks nothing in return but Love for Him, the truth of His Word, His spiritual Kingdom, and His spiritual body of believers. Although many denominations preach that Jesus received 39 lashes prior to His crucifixion, the Henry Matthews Commentary states, “Jesus was scourged. This was an ignominious cruel punishment, especially as it was inflicted by the Romans, who were not under the moderation of the Hebrew Law, which forbade scourging above 40 stripes; this punishment was most unreasonably inflicted on one who was sentenced to die.”
The excruciating humiliation of Jesus was to buy healing for our emotional and spiritual wounds, and for all our sicknesses. He even “became a curse” to buy back our blessed state in God. He was wounded for our transgressions of the Law; bruised, oppressed and afflicted for our iniquities, as He poured out His blood, His soul, as the Sacrifice for our entire state of sin and lostness without God:( Isa. 53:5-12; Gal. 3:10-14; Heb. 9:13-14.) The innocent Jesus also endured the shame of physical nakedness so that God could clothe us with His mercy once again, (Mt. 27:35.) His Royal Divinity was ridiculed by the draping of a scarlet robe over His shoulders so that the fallen kings of Eden could wear the mantle of God’s anointing once again, (Mt. 27:28-29; 1 Jn. 2:20, 27) He endured the crown of thorns for the dethroned kings of Eden to reign anew, (1 Pet. 2:9-10.) Without complaining, He carried the reed-sceptre of mockery so that His royal priests could have the spiritual authority to unlock His kingdom for all the others who would also choose to believe in Him, (Mt. 16:19.) He was despised, rejected and scorned, for God to accept us in honour once again, (Heb. 2:7-10.)
The cross was the cruellest form of execution imaginable; diabolically designed to inflict the maximum amount of pain and suffering. Some of the hardened Roman emperors could not endure the thought of the utmost cruelty of the cross and ordered that their condemned prisoners first be strangled and then be nailed to the wood. Still, in our place, Jesus had to endure the full brunt of this Roman execution. While Christ literally became the Ultimate Sin-offering, He was ousted from God’s Light into darkness outside the presence of the Father. At that moment Jesus found Himself at an intensely deserted place without God where we should have been for all eternity. He was rejected in darkness so that God could adopt us into His light, and it manifested in a physical darkness that lasted for three hours on the earth, (Mt. 27:45-46; 1 Pet. 1:17-19.)
At the moment of Jesus’ death, the price, which the Ceremonial Law commanded for humanity’s redemption, was fully rendered and He could cry: “It is finished! [I have done it all! I have completed My task!]” (Jn. 19:30.) When Jesus uttered His victory-cry, the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom – another manifestation of the glorious outcome of this spiritual battle, (Mt. 27:51.) The veil of the Old Testament temple divided the Holy of Holies, (God’s direct presence), from the holy place, (God’s forecourt). The veil of the temple was the symbol of separation between God and humanity. The symbol of hamartia, the state of sin and cursedness, which hung between God and humankind. Old Testament Israel could only draw close to God by obeying all the love-requirements of the Moral Law, and atoning for their lack thereof by adhering to the ritual commandments of the entire Ceremonial Law, fulfilled by the ministrations of God’s Theocratic, priestly government, the Levitical priesthood. A ritually cleansed high priest could enter but once a year through the veil, to bring Ceremonial sacrifices in the Holy of Holies.
Temple sacrifices would atone firstly for his own sin and then for the sin of the people, (Heb. 9:1-7.) However, on Golgotha, Jesus’ complete fulfilment of the Dual Law, (the ceremonial temple law and the inward Moral Law of Love,) destroyed that division between God and humanity forever. His complete atonement destroyed our state of sin and cursedness, and ripped open the spiritual veil of division between God and the human race once and for all, (Mt. 27:51; Rom. 3:23.) From that moment on, true believers can boldly go before the Father’s sacred throne to worship Him in spirit and in truth again. They can enter into the Holy of Holies, not through any of their own accomplishments, but through the broken body of Jesus, which became the torn, spiritual blood-veil between God and the human race, (Heb. 10:19-22; Jn. 4:22-23.) The scourged flesh of Jesus became the New Veil of spiritual cleansing, mercy and forgiveness between God the Father and His beloved humankind. The Veil of spiritual acceptance. The Veil of complete redemption or spiritual freedom. The Veil of healing. The Veil of blessing. The Veil of spiritual life in the here and now, and life for all eternity in the presence of the Most High God in the hereafter, (Jn. 11:25.)
The Old, priestly government of the physical temple also lost their office that day on Golgotha. It was no longer necessary to fulfil the ritual requirements of the Ceremonial Law on a physical altar in a physical temple anymore - although all denominations kept these offices and old temple-forms in some way or another, (1 Pt. 2:9-10; Heb. 13:10; Eph. 5:23.)
The Old Testament, hierarchical priesthood descended from the tribe of Levi, but Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah, “making it plain that another [High] Priest arises Who was not constituted on the basis of a requirement, [of the Ceremonial Law], but on the basis of an endless Life, after the order and with the rank of Melchizedek. So the previous physical regulation, [concerning the Levitical priesthood], is cancelled… but instead a better hope is introduced through which we now come close to God… For the Lord has sworn: You are a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, and Jesus has become the Guarantee of the better, stronger agreement of the New Covenant. The previous line of priests was prevented by death from continuing their office, but He holds His priesthood unchangeably, as He lives forever.”
The whole chapter of Heb. 7 focuses on Melchizedek, the High Priest of God, King of Righteousness, Prince of Peace and King of Salem, to Whose mystical priesthood every sincere believer now belongs, (1 Pet. 2:9-10.) As God does not have an ancestor line, He inaugurated an entirely new line of priests on Golgotha. As the Spiritual High Priest, Who is also King and God at the same time, Jesus now directly Heads His spiritual, royal priesthood of sincere believers, who all descend from His God-King-Priest order of Melchizedek. Thus, real New Testament, spiritual leaders serve in a completely different way than the Old Testament, priestly government did, (1 Pet. 2:4-5; 9-10; Rom. 12:1; Heb. 13:15-16.)
Jesus not only brought about salvation, redemption and blessing for all of humanity who would sincerely believe in Him. That day on Golgotha He literally became their Ceremonial sin offering; their Spiritual Altar, their Spiritual Temple, their Spiritual High Priest, and He brought into being the incomprehensible miracle of His New Testament kingdom on earth inside His unseen, spiritual body of believers. To know Jesus This Way is completeness and full freedom in Christ. To know Him like this, is to never ‘thirst for water’ again, because all the Living Water of Christ Himself is already inside us!