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Double Double, Toil & Trouble: Part 1 - Chapter 1 - Beginning Points

Double Double, Toil & Trouble: Part 1 - Chapter 1 - Beginning Points

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Published by Rob Wilkerson

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Published by: Rob Wilkerson on Jun 29, 2012
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Double, Double, Toil & Trouble? © Rob Wilkerson
Chapter OneBeginning Points
I have a story to tell. It is one that would make you cry. It would make you wonder howthe bride of Jesus Christ, His church, in some places throughout the world, could exist insuch a spiritually chaotic state and still be called a church. The Corinthian church was just such a place. Subtract the greeting and the closing of Paul to this church and thereader would seriously wonder if those people could be called saints. I pastored such achurch once.But there is grac
e…even in those places. There are saints…even in those conditions.
Though I have a story about such a place and people, I cannot tell it any longer. I didonce, for many years. It all happened to me in 2004 in a small town in the southeast,settled dee
p in the “Bible belt.” The trials there lasted sixteen months for me, longer for
those I left behind, and even longer still into the future for those who have not yet dealt
with it or the ramifications and consequences. That’s why I’m thankful for grace.
Itcovers a
multitude
of sins.
Rejoicing For the Right Reason
My sins during this story have been covered by that grace. I told my story many, manytimes. I even hung on to it, inwardly clinging to it, reviewing it often, taking greatdelight in the fact that I and others really were genuinely persecuted for the sake of Christ. Yet typical of the disciples who followed Jesus in His day, I rejoiced in the wrongthing (Luke 10:20). The disciples
after 
Pentecost rejoiced that they had been counted
worthy 
to suffer for Jesus’ sake (Acts 5:41). And in recent times I’ve discovered a
difference there between what the text actually said, and what I was actually doing.Peter and John rejoiced for the right reason, that their names were written in theLamb
’s Book of Life which counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for Jesus. I, on the
other hand, had spent years rejoicing for the wrong reason, that I was persecuted for
Jesus’ name, and I did so by retelling the story over and over again. My wife will tel
lyou, I basked in the details. So many of the terrible events left such a terrible
impression in me and on me that I can’t help but remember so many dates and times.Yet my suffering was nothing compared to what Jesus’ endured. That’s why Peter and
Joh
n rejoiced in the fact that they were essentially partners with Jesus’ in suffering, and
not in the actual suffering which they endured. But grace puts me in good company
with them, because there’s hope for me to mature like they did.
 
 
Double, Double, Toil & Trouble? © Rob Wilkerson
My sad story does
n’t make such a good bed time story for your kids, though my kids
lived through this story for several hundred nights. But this entire story converges right
here to the reason why I’m writing this book.
It is not only possible but greatly probablethat you have done what I have so many times before by reading what the Bible says,only to close it, misunderstand what it says, and therefore live out thatmisunderstanding.
The Devil and Your Bible Reading
The devil is behind such Bible reading, make no mistake. It is his every intention tocloud your thinking while you are reading your Bible, to make you see things that are
not there, to tell you lies about what is there, and to lead your life off course, even if it’s
only one degree off course. Why? Because he knows that travelling one degree off course for days, months, and years means hundreds of miles off course down the road.I think that would adequately describe my own life in many respects.I confess this to you to help you understand from the start that it is not only possible,but greatly probable that you, like myself, have been duped by Satan in your Bible
reading at some point. He tried his tricks on Jesus, if you’ll remember. When Jesus was
being tempted in the wilderness for forty days and nights, Satan tried three times to
take advantage of Jesus’ weakened physical condition and lead Jesus to misunderstand
and misinterpret the Old Testament. In each of the three temptations recorded, we seeSatan using wilderness conditions
 –
which are trials and temptations for us today
 –
to
provoke Jesus to reread God’s Word in a different light.
 
Satan knows that if he can get us to question God’s faithfulness and goodness in the
middle of extremely difficult circumstances, we will probably continue on walking withGod, but we will do so believing lies about Him. His primary aim is to get us to quitwalking with God altogether, something he accomplishes with a few by leading themwith lies for decades until they eventually become an agnostic, angry, apostate. But ourtask as believers is to continue walking with God by being led by the Spirit of God,something Paul says defines us as children of God (Rom. 8:14).
The Devil and Your Theology
Theological subjects are not out of bounds for Satan by any stretch of the imagination.Many Christians seem to differentiate between theological subjects and Bible reading.The fact of the matter is that theology is simply defined as what we believe about God.And what we believe about God is always reflected in the way we act toward Him andone another.If you believe God is an angry deity who is heavily and impatiently tapping His footwaiting on you to get your life straightened out, you will live like a legalist.
(That’s
 
Double, Double, Toil & Trouble? © Rob Wilkerson
someone who looks at all the outward and external reflections of Christianity and triesto conform without ever experiencing or tasting real grace.) If you believe God is a fluffycloud of eternal bliss and joy who patiently waits on you with a fake smile on His facewaiting on you to get serious about following Him, you will live like a antinomian.
(That’s someone who believes that grace means God has forgiven all our sins and just
continues to look past all our rebellion and disobedience.). The fact of the matter is thatGod loves us just the way we are, but He also loves us too much to leave us the way weare.Theology comes from
what 
we read in the Bible, as well as
how 
we read it. If we onlyread the Old Testament for example, then we come to view God as liberal theologiansdo: an old-fashioned, outmoded God whose left us a few morals that we can live bytoday. If you only read the New Testament, then you come to develop a view of Godthat is not rooted in His holiness or His seriousness about sin. It is absolutely necessarythat every Christian read
all 
the Bible and not just parts of it.And
how 
we read is just as important. If we read the Bible without a true intention todo what it says and a heart for obedience then we will not truly grasp what it
is
sayingand therefore what it means. Jesus talked about this in His parable of the sower and theseed. Only the last seed grew strong because it landed on good soil, which represented
the heart of the person who hears God’s word and obeys it (Matt. 13:1
-23). But if youread it like some kind of encyclopedia on the Christian life, searching and studying here
and there for answers to your questions, you’ll never discover that God isn’t reallyasking the same kinds of questions you are. As a result, you’ll live your life in
andthrough the lie that God is more interested in your happiness than your holiness.Getting this attitude straight is absolutely essential before you move on to the subjectmatter in this book. The trials and tribulations that fell on me and a few of my friendshappened because of a theological subject. Even though some disagreed with thesubject, they claimed to love God and His Word. Yet their behavior could not have beenmore opposite and detestable to Jesus. Therefore, they failed to see that their theology
was actually erroneous. What they believed about God…what they
truly 
believed…wasreflected and evidenced in how they treated God’s people. And in my case, what I truly
believed about God was evidenced in how I treated my enemies. Jesus was just as clear
about that (“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you…”) as He wasthe other (“Love one another as I have loved you…”)
 
Working Out My Theology in Fear and Trembling
All of this amazingly sad history happened because of one hyphenated word: double-predestination. Of all the issues associated with the theological subject of Calvinism,this was the one that was wielded recklessly as a weapon against me and my friends.Because it is so misunderstood, and because the mere mention of it produces emotionalupheaval in the mind and heart of the average Christian, it is always the first weapon an

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