4 Steps to Avoid the Deception of a Sound Byte Salvation

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Sound Byte Salvation

We live in a world of sound bytes.

On a continual basis, we are being fed bits and pieces of information and we have little or no knowledge of the topic matter being fed to us. The internet and web sites like YouTube and Facebook are quickly becoming the only ways we acquire information. It’s almost “hard-wired” into our brains now. At any time, we can go online and read a quote, listen to an audio file, or watch the latest 30-second video snippet to satisfy our ever-increasing desire for knowledge and entertainment. But the reality is that we have no comprehension of the complexity of what we’re being fed.

At best, our understanding is only partial and our attention span minimal.

Unfortunately, this lack of consideration for detail has also carried over into our spiritual walks as well as our comprehension of the Word of God.

We all want our own “sound byte salvation”

bytes-gospel40,000 denominations (divisions) exist today, created by people (or groups of people) who have selected the attractive “bytes” of Scripture, assembled them together with other “bytes” taken out of context, and have formulated doctrines that are really nothing like what the Father originally intended to say.

As a fellow human being, I am no different than the people who created these denominations. When I read the Bible, certain Scriptures jump out at me and grab my attention.

Sometimes they leap off the page just because they sound good. At other times they sharpen my conviction on a certain truth. Many times God will draw my attention to a verse and reveal wisdom to me that I hadn’t grasped before.

I, too, have the same tendency to want to assemble MY favorite pieces of Scripture together, and create something that looks like a theological “Frankenstein’s monster.” When this happens, the temptation is always present within me to want to focus on a singular verse and give it “life” by applying my own understanding to it. But if I did that, I would be on my way to creating denomination number 40,001 and there would only be one member …. ME!

So I try to combat this tendency by employing the following strategy.

1 – Know the scriptural and historical context.

bible-studyWhen a Scripture jumps off the page at me, I read the surrounding text… not just the Scripture before and after the text, but the entire chapter… sometimes the entire book.

I am convinced that it is impossible to really understand a verse of Scripture unless you have a healthy knowledge of the setting in which it is written. That means getting in and doing the research for yourself, not taking what pastor so-and-so or prophet so-and-so says and applying it to your understanding, but really exercising your own brain and applying your own critical thinking to the subject matter.

Reading the Scriptures without any historical knowledge is also detrimental to understanding their context. This is especially true with the New Testament.

Once I began to grasp the cultural and historical backdrop of the land of Israel during the so-called “silent years” between the Old and New Testament, my view of the Gospels, Paul’s Epistles and the other New Testament writings were transformed and I saw things in a whole new light.

This study completely revolutionized my scriptural understanding and walk with God.

And I am certain that the church is crippled by this LACK of understanding.

2 – Learn the truth for yourself.

lie-truthNEVER, EVER rely on other people as your sole source of truth.

I’m not saying that other teachers are not useful to the Body, I’m just saying that we have surrendered our ability to think for ourselves in favor of letting other people spoon-feed us.

Paul wrote:

Romans 10:17
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

It is true that as you hear the Word, your faith will increase, but it is also true that if you are hearing fallible preachers on a regular basis and not spending your own time in the Word, you will end up believing whatever you are taught.

It’s just a simple dynamic of human nature.

That is why I spend 85-95% of my study time reading the Bible, praying and listening for His voice.

Any extraneous teaching is treated as “icing on the cake” and I ALWAYS check what is said against the Word before I choose to incorporate it into what I believe.

3 – Question everything you’ve ever learned.

puzzleThis is probably the most difficult thing to do because we are so prone to conformity. Thanks to most of the western churches (who are all-too-eager to produce their share of “cookie-cutter” followers), this tendency is ground into us from infancy.

It’s practically in our DNA.

If you don’t believe me, try politely disagreeing with your pastor.

An honest view of the modern-day, so-called “church” easily reveals that something is very, very wrong. No matter how badly you want to “think positive” about this situation, it has proven itself out time and time again.

Many people believe that the “turning point” was in the 60’s, when the hippie generation came on the scene, but I don’t think this is entirely accurate.

Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 that the “mystery of lawlessness” was “already at work” even in his day.

“Lawlessness” is still doing it’s work, ladies and gentlemen, and I am strongly inclined believe the “lawless one” has already been revealed, but that’s another study for another time.

Link: 2 Thessalonians 2 is Happening Now! The “Mystery of Lawlessness” is No Longer a Mystery

For now, we really need to look at WHERE we are and HOW we got here, from a historical perspective.

I’ve already done this research, and it shook my faith to its very core.

In fact, be warned… do NOT do this research unless you are ready to have things shaken. Most christians will not be able to handle what they find.

To those of you who dare to take this on, rest assured that if something really is the “Absolute Truth,” it will bear up under ANY scrutiny.

4 – Question your “inner voice.”

thinking-questionThe Body of Christ has been trained to think that any “inner voice” they hear is the Holy Spirit and must be the “Absolute Gospel Truth.”

As a result of this error, we have people running around trying to minister out of their inner impressions instead of a firm understanding of the Word of God.

You can thank the prophetic movement and other charismatic denominations for this error.

Nobody wants to even consider the possibility that they are wrong, so nobody bothers to check what they are “sensing” with the Word of God.

This is pride… plain and simple.

We must develop humility as we attempt to hear His voice, realizing that, no matter how strong our “impression” may be, we could very well be wrong.

On a personal note, I can usually gauge if someone is just “tooting their own horn” by how militantly they stand behind their so-called “Word from the Lord.” If there is no humility behind what they are saying, 9 times out of 10, I know it’s just a resounding gong. They are just regurgitating their own fleshly desires and impressions.

Of course, there is always that 1 time out of 10 that deserves consideration.

We must not walk out a sound byte salvation

I’m not above making a mistake – just ask my family (on second thought, please don’t), but I try to minimize my mistakes by applying the techniques outlined above. When I follow these, it helps me to listen to more than just the “sound bytes” of my Walk with Him.

This is not an art that I’ve perfected by any means, but I am getting better.

I hope this post has blessed you.

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27 Comments

  1. Good article! Thought it was going to address the “just ask Jesus to come into your heart” sound-byte gospel for someone in pain. Thankfully, I was given a full-meal-deal understanding of what I was saying yes to: conviction of Sin with a capital “S”, aka rebellion against God; repentance for Sin, meaning a willful turning away from darkness and a turning toward light; belief that what Jesus did really has saved me; transferring my trust to Jesus alone as my Savior (no self works or religious activity could do it); and submission to Jesus as my Lord (which was the problem to begin with). Without this understanding, true conversion is not possible and what we are left with is white-knuckle Christianity on one extreme and “greasy grace” on the other. Am so thankful for a revelation of God’s love and grace, and to be a new creation, %100 dependent on the holy Spirit for the renewal of my mind and for my sanctification. God is good!

  2. Kevin, you seem to be all over the place with this one. Could you zoom in on the point you wanted to make? Thanks

      1. Yes but that’s what a lot of these are all about. Maybe I was just wanting something different to think about and discuss.

        I’m a Berean of the 1st degree. I love the truth and defend it wherever and whenever I can. And love doing it. Very sadly, the America we live in is more and more wanting to wallow in lies. Grieving to the Holy Spirit (and me too) but prophesied so no big surprise (2 Tim 3:13). But we have hope to be happy about.

        And the wait will be worth it….

        “And it shall be said in that day,
        Lo, this is our God;
        we have waited for him, and he will save us:
        this is the Lord; we have waited for him,
        we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9)

        1. This is what God has me doing at the moment. If that’s not where you’re at I respect that, but instead of trying to get me to change into what you want me to be, you should respect what God has me doing. Whether or not you want to stick around is completely up to you.

          1. Some times people just want to control everybody and everything. Kevin don’t let this lady bring you down

  3. Thank you. I think we are in the same Book, on the same page, and pretty close on the same sentence. You are one of the VERY few I read or hear. I listen to /read Andrew Strom and Dave Wilkerson, who is no longer with us. He did not call himself a prophet, but he is the only one I know who has thus far been right about every prophetic word I know of that he ever spoke. God said that this is the kind of man we need to listen to. Check out his video on my home page. Elizabeth Marie McDonald Duncan on FB. Blessings.

    1. He has spoken some prophetic words that did not come to pass. Believe it or don’t, like it or not.

    2. Thanks Marie … I don’t count myself even in the same league as David Wilkerson (or Andrew, for that matter) … I just want to give what I’ve been given. What video are you referring to?

  4. Once again, thank you. I hope you carry this thought much further. I (and many others?) need it. Thank you!

  5. The Holy Spirit will lead one into all Truth. Not one’s religion – although it can and may be of some assistance. Not one’s pastor – although they can and may be of some assistance. Not the errant translations of the bible now found in all nations on earth , although they can and may be of some assistance. , Forget not- Our Heavenly Father Yahweh can, may and will use any personality, power, material, good , evil, or nation to accomplish his purpose of establishing his Kingdom on earth— To sustain , comfort, encourage, lead, protect and strengthen his true children. Believe it or don’t, like it or not.

  6. Thank you Kevin, & Praise The Lord God Almighty!!!

    i would love to read the research that ‘shook your faith to the core, to test my own….. Or maybe, you could direct where/how to start with the research, as my resources are limited, & need some guidance as to exactly what is being referred to here.

    Would also, like to read the material on the lawless one revealed………

    Thank you to all those who commented. And Kevin, i pray the Lord Yahshua will continue to open the eyes of your heart to His revelatory knowledge, wisdom & understanding., to be shared with the Body of Christ.

    May the Good Lord God Almighty abundantly bless you & your family too, with His Life!! 🙂

    1. Hi Sonja, check out my response to Harry King. You can email me if you want to know my take on the lawless one. I’m not 100% on that one … but it sure is making more and more sense.

  7. Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.

    Denominations are not Biblical. If most followers of Jesus Christ just spent even a few moments reading their Bibles every day they would see this. You are either following Jesus or you are not.

    Galatians 6:12-13 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.

  8. “For now, we really need to look at WHERE we are and HOW we got here from a historical perspective.

    I’ve already done this research, and it shook my faith to it’s very core.

    In fact, be warned …. do NOT do this research unless you are ready to have things shaken. Most christians will not be able to handle what they find.”

    where do I start?

    1. LOL …. OK, buy “Time is the Ally of Deceit” by Richard Rives … it’s the best $20 you’ll spend in your life, book-wise. Research the Maccabbees, Alexander the Great, the Hellenists and their influence on the land of Israel.

      Also, this free study on the book of Galatians has some great historical insight into that time. [http://www.bereansonline.org/studies/Galatians.pdf]

      Also study Constantine’s changing of the gospel …. that’s a big one.

      That should get you started. Don’t hesitate to write me if you have any questions.

  9. What the Word saith….

    8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
    9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
    10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
    12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
    13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Rom 10:8-13)

    That’s for people who put their faith in Jesus and not themselves for salvation. The strongest faith of all. Nothing doubting.

    1. For those of you who want to know what Paul really meant in this passage, study the passages that he was referring to … namely Joel 2 and Deuteronomy 30. It’s not what the dispensationalists have taught us.

  10. I want to emphasize here my agreement on No.4, Question Your Inner Voice. I was taught to look at the Word of God above all, and that my “inner voice” would be the Holy Spirit within me guiding me by what were called “checks”and “green lights”. I do not know if there is any truth in this teaching.

    Lately I began to really question why we need all these extras (manifestations, etc) when we have the Word of God. It began to bother me how much error we could accept by following these inner voices or anything else which is basically subjective. How is this different from the Catholic teaching that the Word of God is contained in both the Bible and the oral tradition?

    Once we accept that anything beyond the Word can be the Word (or on an equal par wit it), we have opened ourselves up in a dangerous fashion to error, albeit perhaps well intended error. Danger.

  11. What you have written is good but incomplete. I can never come into the truth alone, for the promise that the Spirit would lead into all truth was not given to an individual but to a body united in its submission to Christ alone.Once I find myself in such a body, where all are submitted to one another and to Christ, then we can expect a fulfilment of the promise.

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