Sunday, August 06, 2006

False Promises

Jn.3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This world is in desperate trouble but they do not realize it. We, the followers of Jesus, have a solemn obligation to warn them as well as point them to Christ. But we must "preach the Word", holy and pure, and without our slant. It has become obvious that in an effort to make the Gospel more attractive we have made promises on the behalf of God that He has not made Himself.
Imagine a man called William. He is lost, and like all others like him if he does not become a follower of Jesus Christ he will eternally perish. Now let's say I have become aware of William and I desire to see him come to salvation and an opportunity to witness to William presents itself to me.
Now assume that if William becomes a believer in Jesus Christ he will lose his job as a bartender, his wife will leave him, his teenage children will disown him, he is so much in debt he will go bankrupt, he will lose his health insurance, his health deteriorates over the next five years, and after a year long painful illness he dies at the age of 53, without his family and penniless. In a nutshell, by receiving eternal life he has lost everything here.
Conversely, if William does not become a follower of Christ he will continue to live a reasonably pleasant family life, he will have a good relationship with his children, he will pay off his house in fifteen years, his health insurance will pay for an operation that saves his life, he saves enough money to purchase the bar he works in, and he lives a rewarding life and finally dies at age 84 with his loving family at his side.
Now that we have mapped out two scenarios that are linked to whether William becomes a believer or not, I now have an opportunity to witness to William about Jesus. Which of the following statements can I truthfully share with William:

William, Jesus will help you attain a better life here.
William, Jesus will pull your family together.
William, Jesus will help you with your finances.
William, Jesus will heal you.
William, Jesus will give you creative ideas for business.
William, Jesus will make you a success here.

Are any of those statements going to be true in William's case if becomes born again? How about these:

William, Jesus wants you to surrender your life to Him.
William, count the cost of following Christ.
William, Jesus will give you inward peace you've never known.
William, you may have to suffer for Jesus but it will be worth it.
William, Jesus guarantees you one thing - eternal life.

Let us present the truth and revive an emphasis to the world that Jesus is the Son of God and He alone gives eternal life! In many ways eternal life has been so relegated to the back burner, that many people, including some Christians, would read both of William's futures and almost begrudgingly choose the one where he gets saved. Why? Because the things of this world have been so much a part of our lives that we believe God has promised them to us and we will feel misused if we didn't get them.
One final question. What if William was informed that if he becomes a follower of Jesus he would have to suffer the things we discussed and on the basis of that information he rejected Jesus. Then he was informed that God relented, and now if he trusted Christ he could still live the good life we discussed and on the basis of this new information he trusted Jesus. Did he really get saved? I have just outlined the process on which millions have been converted. Many have embraced a Jesus that they have been told will help their earthly lives in the way they desire and in so doing have they become followers of Jesus based on a bait and switch sales pitch?

Welcome to the new oxcart of today's Christianity!


Stuart L. Brogden said...

The evangelical church has been seduced by the siren call of pleasing men, gaining the approval of men, and being sated in the visible rewards of their labors. Too rare is the sermon that calls men to repent, faced with hell. Far too seldom are we reminded that Satan rules the Earth for this season and that "friendship with the world is emnity against God." It's almost to the point that we are taught that God's main concern is that people have a "good life" and celebrate it as a form of worship.

"Die to self" vs. "your best life - now!"; which message appeals to the flesh? Why is the church peddling pagan messages?

Revival and reformation - in the church and in each of our lives.

Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

Stuart, that statement that "God's main concern is that people have a good life and CELEBRATE IT AS A FORM OF WORSHIP" is deeply revealing. It reminds me of Satan's temptation of Christ while promising him all the treasures of earth. Great comment.

Mike Ratliff said...

The "Your best life now" gospel is no gospel at all. Persoanl Holiness is not cheap nor does it come from cheap grace. It resides only in those who are Jesus' true disciples. The promise is that they will have joy and thereby be strong in the Lord and bear much fruit. (John 15)

In Christ

Mike Ratliff