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Sermon 152 – Totem Pole or The Cross

26 Dec

Just about every practicing Christian I’ve interacted with over my 70 years pretends to love God but in reality, secretly lives for the top position of the Totem-pole. The Totem Pole and the Cross are on opposite ends of the spectrum. One is looking good in the eyes of others, the other is looking stupid in the eyes of others. One is God and the other is Mammon … you can’t serve both.

The will of the Father

You don’t get to heaven by being ‘good’ or doing ‘good’ (Ephesians 2:8,9). You can only access heaven by doing His will.

Not everyone that says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of My Father (Matthew 7:21).

His will is not just hearing or sensing His voice and then following it; that could be a demonic deception. It’s His Holy Word that is His will. The Bible is God’s last will and testament in written form. Both the Old and the New are His will. Each individual is responsible to search the scriptures for God’s truth, and not just rely on what the church is telling you. You can blame the church for its failures and mess, but you are personally responsible to discern the Truth of His will found in his Word.

Why is the Bible, God’s will?

God instructed and inspired men to write it so everyone could know what God wants from us. The Bible is that instruction. It is the Word of God, from God. In fact, it’s not just letters on a page; Jesus, Himself is that Word. Jesus, Himself, is the living breath of God. The words below the surface of the Bible are spiritual, and if you really want heaven, you have to search for the treasure hidden in plain sight in His Word, the Bible.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word became flesh, ie. Jesus, and dwelt amongst us (John 1:1-17). In the beginning God created everything by Jesus, His Word. He spoke it into being (Genesis 1:3). If the Word created everything, then the Word is the answer to everything. To ignore the written Word or interpret it by your feelings and experience, or just do what the church says, will simply end in your demise and ruin.

How do you know what is His will?

The Word of God is the measuring line. Almost all western Christians think they do God’s will, but few have time to, nor are inclined to, even read The Word, so they rely on the church’s teaching, their feelings, and their experience.

They evidence this belief with being good. By this, they mean … cruisey, cool, hard-working, not having any problems with people, empathy, generous, doing what you’re told, not smoking, not going to discos, not committing adultery, not being boastful, going to church, helping people, not getting angry, not swearing, speaking nicely, giving up bad friends, etc.

But they never weigh up their actions with the Spirit of the Word of God. Rather, they weigh up their actions by their own feelings and experience, and what their feelings think the Word is saying. They never judge their actions as to whether they may be contaminated for totem-pole position, and always thinking they are important and expecting others to like them and favour them, and ignoring the fact that they think they are better than their neighbour, yet denying it to themselves.

If you’ve got a problem with me, you’re the problem

I’ve discovered the average Christian believes the lie … if you’ve got a problem with me, you’re the problem; and if I’ve got a problem with you, you’re still the problem. This is not the will of God. This is simply the selfish deduction of hurt feelings. People that believe this are clearly not Christian.

You won’t find this in the Scriptures, and therefore, it’s your will, not His. This is the will of the anti-Christ. This is totem-pole belief masquerading as Christian.

God has made His will plain regarding … divorce (Malachi 2:16), homosexuality (Romans 1), reputation, pride, judging others, loving your neighbour. Most good Christians accept the adultery bit, and the homosexuality bit, but conveniently ignore the secret things that can’t be seen, like the coveting bit, and the totem-pole bit. From God’s perspective, the totem-pole bit is the crunch point of His reality, and retaining it will block His salvation from you.

The Totem-pole is a direct contradiction to the Cross

As quoted by Indigenous Foundations … “Totem poles are monuments created by First Nations of the Pacific Northwest to represent and commemorate ancestry, histories, people, or events. … Most totem poles display beings, or crest animals, marking a family’s lineage and validating the powerful rights and privileges that the family held”. I suggest. it’s all about showing-off family status.

It’s all about showing-off position … being higher than your neighbor

Today we recognize that a “low man on the totem pole” is a person of no status or power, someone at the bottom of a hierarchy. It’s the same as saying someone is “low on the pecking order” or “the lowest rung of the ladder”.

Human nature hates being on the bottom of the pile, so it quickly learns to keep others happy so it’s never put down. In order to keep the church happy, it tries to do good deeds. In order to keep God happy, it tries its best to worship Jesus and follow His teachings. In order to keep parents and authority happy it tries to do what it’s told, and in order to keep others’ happy it tries to show care, empathy, generosity or helps of some kind, but the underlying motive is always totem-pole, not cross, so it never fully satisfies and never fulfils, although it feels good for a season. 

The Cross

The Cross is the place of … no reputation, the place of mocking because you’re a Christian, the place of loneliness, the place of being misjudged, the place of aligning with Jesus, the place of zero importance. It’s the place of sacrificing the favour of parents/ancestors (Luke 14:26), and sacrificing being liked.  It’s the place where you eventually give up your will to do His will (John 4:34, Luke 22:42). It’s different for everyone, but it’s still the same place of pain.

The modern Western church teaches what the world teaches … you are important, you do have a purpose for life, always strive for the best position … you deserve it, and don’t let anyone put you down. The church teaches that Jesus paid the price so you can live without any pain and always under His blessings. But it’s a lie of half-truths. Jesus said … If they called Me ‘Beelzebub’, they’ll call you it, too (Matthew 10:25).

Even though the Cross is painful, and even though it’s the place of death, it’s also the place of resurrection and relationship with the Father. It’s the place where put-down no longer has its power to hurt and manipulate you.

The Western church doesn’t live by His whole will. It lives by selective will. It lives by keeping people happy, and making people happy, and saying it loves God. It likes to look good; it’s fearful of persecution.

It’s pretty obvious why few are willing to go the way of the cross … everyone loves the praises of men more than the praises of God (John 12:42,43), so why do it the hard way; take the easy ‘good’ and ‘be nice’ way. But you’ll be only fooling yourself and competing against everyone else pretending the same.

It’s all about Will

All humanity is born with a strong self-will … I will, I won’t. It’s this will that must be broken for Christ.

Jesus gave up His will to do the Father’s will. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). That’s the secret to salvation. You can’t do it with just your mind-power; it requires a cross. No cross, no death to ‘will’, no faith, no salvation. Until you give up your will to Christ’s will, whatever you do for God is really only for your totem-pole.

Pastor Anthony McNaughton

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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