[forthright] Ear Scratchers

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2007 08:37:45 -0300
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

Read new conversion stories of people who found
the Way. http://forthrightpress.com/conversion/


Ear Scratchers
by Justin Ennis

My wife sent me a link to a news story/1 the other
day about a man who claims to be the reincarnation
of Jesus in the modern age. Of course, stories
like this aren't all that rare, but they do serve
to strengthen our faith by reinforcing what the
Bible has already told us. This particular story
is no exception.

On the second page of the report we read that
"[His message is] a pretty straightforward lesson
in the fundamentals of what he believes. And it's
an upbeat, no-fault, sin-free message. This self-
proclaimed Jesus does not believe in sin, hell,
the devil or damnation of any kind."

The man claiming to be Jesus is quoted in the
article as saying, "Heaven doesn't have anything
to do with your behavior." Naturally he has many
followers because such a message is always
appealing to so many people, and here is where we
find the Bible ahead of us.

In 2 Timothy 4:3,4 Paul writes,

  For the time is coming when people will not
  endure sound teaching, but having itching
  ears they will accumulate for themselves
  teachers to suit their own passions, and
  will turn away from listening to the truth
  and wander off into myths. (ESV)

It is always encouraging to me to realize that God
understands us so much better than we understand
ourselves. People follow a man claiming to be
Jesus and God tells us why: because he is
scratching their ears. In the end it has less to
do with his claim to be Jesus than with his
"appeal to their passions." Their desire to sin
and be justified for it rather than in spite of
it (Romans 3:23,24) has led them to find someone
who will scratch their "itching ears."

The story is an extreme example of the principle
at work in all of us and which we must always
guard against: that we will often deceive
ourselves to obtain what we want.

It may be difficult for most of us to be so
obvious about it as to follow a man claiming to be
Jesus and preaching a message of indulgence, but
in smaller ways each day I find that the
temptation to justify following my own desires is
always with me.

The Bible can be a help here, but the key is for
us to submit to it; to allow God to work through
the truth in its pages. In this way the Bible can
be a check on our lives and a straight-edge to
measure ourselves against as long as we remain
open to the truth of the word and allow it to
shape us into godliness rather than trying to
shape it into a justifier for sin.
1/ http://abcnews.go.com/Primetime/story?id=2925021&page=1

Justin lives with his wife and two daughters in
the high desert of southern California where he
enjoys hiking and bicycling. He meets with the
Indian Wells Valley congregation in Ridgecrest.

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