THE IMAGINARY KINGDOM OF THE RELIGIOUS MAN
The FABLED KINGDOM
2 Timothy 4:1-4
1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth.
18 If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.
19 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.
20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
1 Timothy 1:4
Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
1 Timothy 4:7
But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
2 Peter 1:16
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
IN REALITY THERE ARE ONLY TWO KINGDOMS
There are many different Kingdoms in this world but we know that in reality there are only two different kingdoms. There is the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the Devil. These two Kingdoms are in opposition to one another and will never be in agreement.
The enemy would love for people to believe that there are more than two Kingdoms and he works relentlessly at attempting to convince mankind that there are many different ways to Heaven. No matter how you read the Bible there is still only two Kingdoms – not three!
Look at this scripture where Jesus mentions both the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan:
25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Again I want to reiterate: there are only two Kingdoms! Further reading of the scripture underscores this dichotomy of Kingdoms:
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Notice that there are only two gates, two roads, and two final destinations. There is no third legitimate option. Third options are a fantasy! Third options are a fable! Third options are a myth!
I want to ask this simple question before we move on to the next section: What will happen if someone believes something false as being true? The answer is obvious: they will suffer the consequences of their misguided belief.
THE IMAGINARY KINGDOM OF THE RELIGIOUS MAN
Most people today believe, or they live, as if there is another Kingdom. They believe there is a third (3rd) Kingdom. They will tell you they believe there is a Kingdom of the Devil and then there is the Kingdom of God, which is for people that want to go to Heaven. Unfortunately it does not stop there, for they have created their own religious rules and feel that they will go to Heaven living by these misguided missives. This third Kingdom is a Kingdom of Fables! It is make-believe! It is not the true Kingdom of God! It is a fantasy of man’s own imagination!
What most people today believe about the Kingdom of God is really an imaginary Kingdom of Fables and dreams that has no basis in the Bible.
When I was a child I loved to read about knights in shining armor doing battle with fire-breathing dragons – of leprechauns hiding underneath toadstools - of elves creeping through the forests – of nasty trolls hiding underneath bridges to charge tolls on those that wished to cross over. But these were all fables! They were make believe and without one ounce of truth! It would have been peculiar for me to grow up and continue believing these myths.
This is what people believe about this Fabled Religious Kingdom:
1. This Kingdom has no set laws and absolutes. No clearly defined right and wrong.
2. In their Kingdom people can do whatever they want and still go to Heaven.
3. In this Kingdom they can live rebellious and disobedient to God’s will and in the end God will still take them to Heaven as his dear children.
4. Their ruler (God) is so loving he will not punish anyone for wrong behavior.
5. In this Kingdom there are very few things that are considered a sin. About the only thing considered sin is some churches is murder.
6. In this Kingdom no one judges any other person.
7. In this false Kingdom preachers are deified as little gods.
8. In this Kingdom people can dress however they please.
9. In this Kingdom there is no such thing as worldliness.
Beloved this is a fable! Their kingdom is no different than one made up of elves, gnomes, trolls, and houses made entirely of candy! It is all make-believe! It is not based on the reality of God’s Word!
God’s Word makes it clear what the Kingdom of God is really like and it is nothing like the Imaginary Kingdom I just described to you. God’s infallible Word sets the parameters of what is and is not acceptable.
The Bible tells us clearly that in the Last Days there would be those that would believe in an Imaginary Kingdom. The Apostle Paul said that men’s ears “shall be turned unto fables”. As a “True Church” we have to battle this “Imaginary Church” all the time. We are constantly telling people “There is no such thing!” It is just as ridiculous as telling a thirty year old man that there is no monster hiding under his bed!
THE LAST DAY FABLE MOVEMENT
Paul told Timothy that in the last days there would be a strong “Fable Movement”. Paul told Timothy, “For the time will come…” Beloved the time is now here!
He went on to give us these three defining characteristics of this movement:
1. They will not endure sound doctrine- This fantasy loving religious bunch will not adhere to sound doctrine. They cannot even “endure” listening to a true preacher preach the unadulterated Word of God. The Apostle Paul further said that they would turn their ears away from the truth. Have you ever tried to talk to one of those misguided souls? It is an exercise in futility! They will not listen to you!
II Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.
2. They will love teachers and teaching- Even though they will not listen to us they will listen to others, as a matter of fact the Apostle Paul said that they would “heap to themselves, teachers, having itching ears”. They are going to travel from meeting to meeting to hear the latest fad and fable. Today we are seeing just this: there has been explosion of conferences, retreats, seminars, and books/CD’s on every conceivable topic that is “spiritual”. The shelves of the “Christian Bookstores” are jam-packed with the latest and greatest from “In-Crowd” of preachers and teachers, who make millions of dollars of a gullible public.
3. They will turn to fables- The word fable here is the Greek word “Mythos”. This simply means that they will completely embrace the lie. They will embrace a false teaching, belief, and lifestyle. Today, people find it easier to believe a lie than to believe the truth and the more outlandish the lie the more “churchy” people seem to like it. Benny Hinn claims in his teachings that there are nine persons in the Godhead and that Adam was a Superman and could fly to the moon. Folks, if you think that is outlandish, I want you to know that there are thousands of other examples just as foolish and some even more so. People are so caught up in wanting to hear something new that they will accept any teaching as relevant. This is the generation that the Apostle Paul was writing about.
II Timothy 4:4
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
THE PILLARS OF THIS IMAGINARY KINGDOM
The ancient Hindu mythology taught that the whole world rested on the backs of four elephants that in turn stood upon the shell of an enormous turtle. Does this sound pretty silly? Sure it does! It takes more faith to believe that than it does to believe that our God created the Heavens and the earth in six days. This fantasy kingdom of worldly churches is built upon a foundation just as ridiculous as the ancient Hindu’s view of creation.
This is no sillier than the “Imaginary Religious Kingdom” of many modern day church-goers. So, what exactly does their imaginary kingdom rest upon? Well, you guessed it: on four imaginary elephants!
The First Elephant: Tolerance. Today, intolerance is considered one of the greatest sins of all. Why, we are expected to be tolerant of every lifestyle, belief, and individual. We are told over and over, that no matter how outlandish or degrading their lifestyle, we must be tolerant of them for we are not their “judge”. The mantra of this imaginary belief system is “Judge not lest you be judged”, which is found is Matthew 7:1, but is so grossly misinterpreted and misrepresented that very few people today even know what this scripture means any more. Here is the scripture in the context of the other scriptures around it:
1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
As you read the other scriptures you begin to realize that Jesus was not talking about righteous judgment at all, but rather He was talking about “Hypocritical Judgment”, which of course is wrong. Certainly, we do not need adulterers judging adulterers, or murders judging murders. Righteous men must judge righteous judgment.
The Bible clearly encourages us to righteously judge. Here are scriptures that prove this point completely:
1 Corinthians 6:2-5
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.
5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
Does God hate judgment? Here is another scripture that reveal God’s attitude about judgment:
28 For the LORD loveth judgment…
14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.
15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.
These scriptures in the New Testament make it clear that we must judge righteously.
24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
1 Corinthians 2:15
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
You see the unpardonable sin of this imaginary, make-believe, third Kingdom is intolerance. You hear this mantra chanted over and over from the religious circles to the political circles: “We have to be tolerant of other people’s beliefs and differences. You can’t judge anyone. You must respect their lifestyle”.
We are told to tolerate the homosexual, the lesbian, the transvestite, the trans-gender. We are told that we must tolerate the abortionist. We are told that we must tolerate adultery in men and women because it is just a genetic flaw in the cerebral cortex. We are told that we have to tolerate the youth “fooling around” (fornication) because “kids will be kids”. Body piercing? According to these misguided abusers we must tolerate it. There is only one thing these fable-believers will not tolerate and that is intolerance! They will not tolerate anyone standing up and saying that there is only one way and it is the Bible way! How dare we to think that our “narrow way” is superior to someone else’s way!
Their kingdom is not the true Kingdom of God. These worldly religious church-goers claim they are a part of the Kingdom of God but what they are really a part of is an imaginary kingdom that does not exist. It is a fantasy, a myth, it is not real! It is no more real than four elephants standing on the back of a cosmic turtle holding up the world.
The Second Elephant: Adjustable Truth. The second foundation of the imaginary kingdom is adjustable truth, or situational truth. False believers of today believe that truth is something that can be adjusted to each individual and each changing situation. They believe that multiple ideas and divergent beliefs can all be true at the same time. With this false idea they believe that two diametrically opposing viewpoints can both be right, or in other words, nothing or nobody is wrong, everybody is right.
Can two opposite things both be true? Can black be white or white be black? Can a lie be truth and the truth be a lie? No, of course not. Something has to be wrong and something has to be right.
First we must understand that Jesus did not come to bring us the truth. The Bible tells us that Jesus is the truth. The truth is not a thing, the truth is a person and that person is Jesus.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Jesus is the truth! What mankind needs today is so much more than just learning facts and figures. They must intimately and personally know Jesus as the Lord of their life. There is no way you can memorize your way into salvation – salvation comes as a direct result to my submission to His Lordship through repentance.
Truth is not an adjustable commodity. Truth is not an opinion. We do not preach Christ because He is our opinion. We preach Christ the Word of God. Why? Because He is the only hope for this world! If you want to know what is God’s will for your life then read God’s Word. The Word of God clearly expounds the mind of God on all matters of faith and conduct. To love the Word of God is the love Christ. To reject the Word of God is to reject Christ. To despise Truth is to despise Jesus!
This fantasy kingdom of deceived religious people is built upon a faulty foundation that does not exist. Their false idea is that all religions, all creeds, and all people are going to Heaven that each person has to make his own path to Heaven. No! Jesus is the only Way! There is no other way to the Father but through Him.
The Third Elephant: Lawlessness. These people are often referred to as anti-nomians, or “Against the Law”. Many of the modern churches of today believe that they can live any way they choose to because the Bible does not teach any rules to live by. This is absolutely incorrect!
Can you imagine the chaos in this world if there were no laws to govern by? Just think about the roadways that you drive a car on: what if there were no speed limits? What if there were no stop signs at the intersections? What if there were no laws telling cars which side of the roadway to drive upon? What if there were no laws governing licensing, vehicle inspections, and safety? It would be complete chaos on the roadway! It would be unsafe to travel on the road. My friend, if we do not have laws then this world in its natural setting could not function.
The same is true of the Church. Without laws, rules, and directives to live by then chaos will ensue. This is exactly what is happening today in churches all over the world. Most believe that God is so loving that he would not tell them what they can and cannot do. They believe that God would not dare tell them anything that would make them the least bit uncomfortable and the moment anyone tells them that God expects obedience out of them they cry, “Legalism”. Well, I would rather be “legal” than “illegal”!
This imaginary kingdom that people think is God’s kingdom has no laws. You can dress (or undress) any way you want to. You do whatever you like. You can drink, curse, view pornography, listen to worldly music, hate you neighbors, and anything else you want to and at the end of your life the great imaginary ruler of this Kingdom will take you to Heaven and heap more pleasures upon you. Nonsense! You might as well believe in tiny fairies flying around your house at night will you sleep than believe that any kingdom of God exists as the one I just described.
There is law in the true Kingdom of God! There are absolutes, meaning, there are things that are absolutely right and absolutely wrong. God did not give us suggestions. God has given us commands!
Jesus said this about the Law of God.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
This scripture, along with others, makes it very clear that Jesus did not come to eradicate the law as so many claim today. The modern day anti-nomians claim that grace removes the law but Jesus never made no such claim. Rather, the grace of God enables us to live an obedient and victorious life over sin.
This leads us to the next conclusions of the anti-nomians that inhabit this kingdom of trolls, elves, and fairy godmothers: no one can overcome sin, everyone is a sinner, and you have to sin every day. One once-saved-always-saved (OSAS) preacher was asked on national television if he was committing adultery at the time the Rapture took place would he go to Heaven. His reply was without hesitation and he unequivocally replied, “Yes”. When asked by the interviewer to explain he replied, “Well if my sins are this high”, and he held his hand up to his chest, “the grace of God is this high”, and he held his hand over his head, “so no matter what I do the grace of God covers my sin”. This is a lie! And the saddest part of this is there are millions upon millions of people that believe this.
I want to make it clear that no such Kingdom of God exists! God will not excuse unrepented sin. A moral failing as I just described will damn a man’s soul to Hell for eternity.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10
9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
On the subject of sin the Bible clearly teaches us:
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
1 John 3:6-9
6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
This mythological kingdom that some men call church or religion today does not exist as far as God is concerned. They may claim they are a part of the Kingdom of God but their Kingdom in no way resembles the Kingdom of God described in the Word of God. Jesus did not save us so we could continue in sin but he saved us to free us from sin. It is possible for you and I to “walk in the Spirit” so as to not “fulfill the lusts of the flesh”. There is a complete victory over sin for the Christian! Perfection is not a pipe-dream but a reality and all Christians are striving for perfection in Christ.
The Fourth Elephant: Humanism. This fourth elephant is highly visible in the deceived churches of this hour.
The Kingdom of God in the Bible is built around Christ. Jesus is the central figure of the true Kingdom. Everything is about Him and for Him. Our service is not to ourselves but to Him.
Today, in the modern fantasy kingdom of the religious man, everything is about people. One preacher I know made this statement in a service where I had visited to hear him preach, “The Church is all about people. People are the most important thing in the Church.” This may sound good to you up front but this is a total error. The Church is not all about people! The Church is all about Christ! To be sure, there are people in the Church and they are important to God, but our focus should never be on people, our focus should always be on Christ. When you make the Church all about people then the Church becomes humanistic. This is exactly what has happened today.
Today everything in Churches is about making the people comfortable. If the pews are not soft enough they will add another layer of padding. If the temperature is not pleasant enough they will adjust it to your satisfaction. Is it too loud? They will turn it down! They will put a gift shop in the Church so you can shop before service or during bathroom breaks. They will put a Starbucks coffee shop so you can enjoy a latte on the way in.
This imaginary kingdom panders to every want and whim of its deluded subjects. We refer to this as the “Seeker-Sensitive” approach and it is the way of doing “church business” in the 21st Century. Their goal is to make the Church a completely benign and pleasing place to visit. Research firms are hired to poll the community to find out what the neighborhood wants from a Church. Psychologists are put on Church payrolls to advise the leaders on how to appeal to a larger audience. Interior decorators are brought in to make sure all of the colors and decorations in the building create a blissful environment to lull the senses. The Church staff is routinely sent to training classes to be taught how to engage the populace in their kingdom. No stone is left unturned in the attempt to make the human comfortable. Are they kidding themselves? Nothing in that Kingdom is about Christ! It is all about the flesh! Can you imagine how John the Baptist or the Apostle Paul would have fit in those churches?
The pampered, perfumed, petted, and powdered leaders in these seeker-sensitive churches do not preach the Word of God but they preach a trimmed down Gospel that has been sanitized from all references to sin, repentance, and holiness. The message of their false gospel is not what you can do for God but what God can do for you. The prosperity message of today is completely humanistic. By their estimation man was not put on earth to serve God but put here so God could load them down with blessings. The tables have turned! God is no longer the focus of the Church – now people are the focus!
Look at the titles of the books by the ever-popular Joel & Victoria Osteen and you can clearly see what their kingdom is all about:
1. Your Best Life Now
2. Becoming a Better You
3. It’s Your Time
4. Love Your Life (Victoria Osteen)
There is one word that all these books have in common: You/Your. Who are they kidding when they say it is all about Jesus? No it is all about “You”. Christ is not the center of this nefarious gospel, “You” are! This is humanism pure a simple. The human has become the center of this kingdom.
My friend, hear me loud and clear: most of what men call “Church” and the “Kingdom of God” today is not the Kingdom of God. The followers of this illusory kingdom do not resemble the Christians of the Bible that left all to follow the Lord and many of them were martyred for it. The leaders of this third kingdom are not following the New Testament pattern of the Godly, holy, and serving ministry that was willing to face death and dismemberment to preach the Gospel. The one law of this fantasy kingdom is “If it feels good do it”. This false kingdom does not exist.
When I grew up a realized there are no giant beanstalks you can climb into heaven upon, I realized that Goldilocks did not eat all of the porridge, and that the big, bad wolf did not talk to Little Red Riding Hood (Wolves talking? I may have to take another look at that!). All of those were myths, fantasies, and imaginary. The false kingdom of “religious ideas” of our modern day is just as ridiculous as the bedtime stories of our childhood. If you want the truth then you need to turn to Christ the Word of God.