Monday, July 29, 2013

The Servant Conduit has become the Served Master

has become

In God’s redemptive plan He uses people to spread His gospel and eternal Word. And inside that plan He would call men to be shepherds to His flock. The Spirit would call a man, equip him, and ordain him to be the conduit through which God would minister and feed His people. We call them pastors or preachers and they were to be used of God to minister God’s Holy Word and to draw people to a closer relationship to Christ Jesus.

There were many challenges to men like that. They would have to immerse themselves in God’s Word and in prayer, they would have to draw very close to Christ themselves, they would have to give their lives for the sheep, and they would have to be extremely careful about being idolized themselves by people. God will not share His glory with another and these men were to be conduits of His light and not generate their own carnal light.

If these preachers and shepherds walked in the power of the Spirit they would have to walk in unusual and profound humility as well. They would have to deny themselves and lift up Jesus. And when the Industrial Revolution came they would be put to a very difficult test. Would preachers allow themselves and their name to become a “brand” and be used as advertisement in  order to generate book sales, conference attendance, church membership, and greater and greater recognition throughout the culture? In essence would these men allow the hedonistic culture to use them in the same way it uses rock stars, Hollywood actors, television people, sports figures, and politicians?

And now in so many cases these men, and now women, not only allow themselves to be marketed like some new cereal, but they even embrace the promotion and work with the advertisement campaigns. Yes, they love the applause of men. Those who were to be servants are now served. Those who were to be conduits are now masters. Those who were to spread His message now spread their own and at a sizeable cost to others and at a sizeable gain to themselves. It is a monstrous exhibition that betrays the very fabric of God’s Word as well as completely misrepresents the Christ Himself. The present ecclesiastical construct exists within the power of the culture and it bears carnal fruit.

Gone is self denial. Gone is personal sacrifice. Gone is being clothed with humility. Gone is any vestige of the teachings of Jesus. Gone and rejected are the words of the Baptist who said, “He must increase but I must decrease”. It is impossible to completely reveal the spiritual treachery that now exists and is practiced in the ecclesiastical construct in the west. It has no relationship to Jesus or His teachings. And those who have certain titles not only perpetuate this fraud, but they continue to expand and build upon it. And year by year the entire spectacle grew into a more repulsive monster until what is generally referred to as the church is little more than a collection of people who are comfortable and contented and who receive the self affirmation they desire every Sunday.

And in the midst of it all are the preachers. Now most of the local preachers have no notoriety outside their parochial ministry, but many if not most follow and adhere to some well known preachers. Yes, they are a part of the hedonistic and capitalistic culture which has placed a stranglehold upon the church. Set up a national conference, advertise with some famous preacher’s names and some famous music people, and make it sound like you will not want to miss it, and you will have the desired results. And the result will be a great attendance, much excitement, thousands of dollars spent on all kinds of things, and all the speakers and singers being well recompensed. It resembles a rock concert.

We now have quite a number of famous preachers and their famous subordinates and many of them have established their own brand complete with logos and mantras. And this phenomenon is not limited to the liberal wing of evangelicalism. The orthodox crowd has their heroes as well and many of them are literal millionaires. And the unspoken and spoken suggestion is that they speak and teach things that you need and can only get through them. And with all the books and CDs and conferences and speaking engagements and radio and television you would think that the spiritual condition of people might be soaring, right? You would be wrong.

In fact you can take a faithful and committed member from an orthodox church, and take one from a Roman Catholic church, and take one from a Pentecostal church, and take one from a non-denominational church, and take one from Rick Warren’s church or Joel Osteen’s church or many others, and you may be surprised to find that the overwhelming distinguishing factor is what they say they believe. Their lives and how they live them are almost without any dramatic difference. They borrow money. They drive cars with many accoutrements. They enjoy certain forms of entertainment. They have compartmentalized prayer times. They support their preferred political figures. They pledge allegiance to America.

Now either there is something wrong with that or there isn’t. How can a group of people strongly condemn others whose teachings and practices are unbiblical, but when their lives are compared they are really not that much different if at all? Can the faith be so heavily weighted toward what we say we believe until what we do and live is optional? Can we live a western, capitalist, and hedonistic lifestyle and yet use our doctrinal statements to insulate us from having to answer to the New Testament for how we live? We have the structure we want and we have the personality we want and we have the affirmation we want and we have the teachings we want and we have the Jesus we want and with all that we do not want to rock the boat since it seems to be floating downstream just fine.

The entire American public is consumed with a celebrity preoccupation. The newspapers have a gossip and entertainment section. The television has entertainment and gossip programs. People follow the latest scandal of some Hollywood or sports figure, and when a baby is born to so called British royalty people are mesmerized. And much of the church is just as interested. The entire spectacle is a spiritual scandal in and of itself. But that is the evangelical world in which we now live. Special speakers, special music, special teachers, special conferences, special activities, but all this with a surprisingly little amount of special surrender to Christ.

And on and on it continues as the western version of “Christianity” continues to spiral into a full blown exhibition of capitalist hedonism. And conducting this carnal orchestra are those who are supposed to be the leaders by teaching and exemplifying the Lord Jesus. It’s a three ring circus but it attracts millions to its show.

Really don’t mind if you sit this one out
My words are but a whisper your deafness a shout…

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Christianity is Jesus


I do not pretend to be the protector of the Holy Grail. In fact, I do not pretend to be anything. But to summarize what has been a great and thought provoking series about “What is Christianity” I believe it can and should be defined by one word. That word is “Jesus”. Yes, Christianity is Jesus. The true and living and Risen Jesus. I realize that many people and denominations have made their own Jesus by giving Him traits which He does not have or removing some that He surely does. And true to form man has constructed a religion from what should be a pursuit to follow and love Jesus.

I am not attempting to be coy or nebulous. But if Christianity is not Jesus in every facet then it is not Christianity. I have used the word “system” and it is surely not a system. It is a deep and profound relationship between a Redeemer and His redeemed; between a Master and His servants; between a God and His children; between a Lord and His subjects. And although I use some metaphors and similes this relationship goes much deeper than human words can adequately describe. Anyone who has been redeemed and come to know and experience the life giving glory of the Redeemer is often hard pressed to express in words the essence of this amazing relationship.

Have you ever wept during a time of worship or even while listening to an inspiring testimony from another believer? And have others wondered why you are crying or overwhelmed by emotion? And if that other person does not know Jesus what can you actually communicate to him that can allow him to enter into the sacred presence only the redeemed can know? You see, the word “Christianity” seems to strip what we have in Jesus of its rightful glory just because it has been created to define a religious sect. What we have in Jesus is a living, breathing, and powerful mystery which continues to unravel itself within our hearts and lives. Even the Apostle Paul who saw the glory of the Risen Christ said “That I may know Him…”. Doctrine may be helpful but unless it aids us in knowing Jesus than it is no better than some Biblical Dewey Decimal system.  

Men love their doctrines. They love their local churches. They love their denominations. But those only dilute their love for Jesus. Jesus must have all the preeminence in everything. Think about that. If we knew who Jesus is in all His fullness and if we gave Him the preeminence in every area of our lives would not the world begin to see Him and not us? That would bring such glory to our Blessed Redeemer! But somewhere along the line the church has become distracted and even derailed. Instead of being known for Jesus we are known for our moral convictions or our denomination or our pastor or our doctrinal persuasions or our buildings or a host of other things. If we are not known for Jesus than we are frauds.

Gal.2:20 -  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Oh the treasure that can be found in that one statement! We are not living our lives for Him; we are living His life for Him! That is not a play on words but that is the difference between being a follower of Jesus and being a part of Christianity. There is a world, and I do mean a world, of difference between the two. We must reckon ourselves dead and we as new creations are alive in Him. That is Christianity according to the New Testament. Everything else is little more than some religious system which uses the name of Jesus without the power of Jesus. And without His power that is no Jesus at all.

Rev.2: Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

There it is. Unless we have a soul searching return to Jesus with an abundance of repentance than we will continue to be a part of the broader landscape called Christianity but we will be walking a path of our own and not His. Jesus must be our life not just our orthodoxy.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What is Christianity?

Is Christianity a being system or a belief system? Or are those two descriptions locked in a symbiotic relationship? Or better still are they Siamese twins? Or are they the very same in God’s eyes?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What is Christianity?


Is Christianity a set of doctrinal beliefs? Is it a lifestyle based upon a set of truths? Is it the path to heaven? Or is it a path which begins on earth and ultimately leads to heaven? Granted, the word “Christianity” is a label used for all kinds of religious expressions which include Jesus. It is a colloquialism. But I use it in this setting to refer to the genuine faith of the Scriptures. What really is the Christian faith?

Matt.16: 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

The modern church does not preach an eternal message anymore. Millions sit in padded pews with their eternal souls at risk and they leave feeling good about themselves and what they have heard. But Jesus warned us about neglecting our eternal souls. In fact He told us that gaining the entire world but losing our souls is no fair trade. This is no melodrama. This is no hyperbole.

We walk in the temporal. We think in the temporal. We find contentment in the temporal. We dream in the temporal. We strive in the temporal. We see in the temporal. We feel in the temporal. We live in the temporal. We understand in the temporal. And yet eternity will one day swallow up all that is temporal and all that is left will be eternal. And where will that leave you?

Pause for just a moment and think about eternity. There is nothing so serious. There is nothing of greater importance. It is impossible to fully comprehend even the concept of eternity. But what if you died and awoke in eternity and found you had lost everything? It wasn't that you had lost some things, but you had lost everything including your eternal soul. It is that which summoned Jesus to earth. It was your and my eternal souls which led Him to the cross.

But hey, let’s keep up the party here while the whole world slowly suffers and dies. That is why Jesus had us born here anyway. But is it not evident that the church has lost all sense of eternity? Almost without exception everything the western church does is centered upon this life and everything temporal. But is the faith called Christianity an eternal faith which lives out that eternity within the temporal, or is it just concerned with the temporal or just with the eternal? What is the relationship between the eternal and the temporal as it pertains to the faith in doctrine and practice?

Are not these the questions that should consume the church? Why are not these the real question that should be our journey and which should define us? And yet the overwhelming majority of local churches, denominations, and believers in general are comfortable in whatever mode they are now in as they live out their faith and beliefs. Once a doctrinal flag has been planted it seems as if the church considers its journey all but done. No more mystery, no more painful evaluations, no more repentance, no more brokenness. Is that all there is?

We cannot have an honest or accurate pursuit of authentic Christianity without an absolute reference point. Without that all opinions become the North Star and most of them are different. So the Scriptures must always be the guiding and illuminating light of truth. That includes the gospels, the epistles, and the narratives, as well as the template of the life of Jesus. And to take all of that and to condense it down to a small page on a church brochure or bulletin is at best disingenuous and at most deceiving. I realize that there are core doctrinal truths which are the foundation for our belief system, however when we make them a condensed version of our faith, and when they seem to exclude scores of other important truths, it makes all statements of faith very incomplete and misleading. It just may be that no written statement of faith can adequately represent the faith called Christianity. Yes, the greatest incandescent commentary of the Christian faith is a living, breathing follower of Jesus whose statement of faith is not confined to ink and paper, but allows deeds to manifest Jesus and His teachings. In reality His statement of faith is the entire Bible and His life is an unmistakable treatise on apologetics.

But the lines seem to have been drawn. While some venues of Christianity are unconcerned with doctrine, others have theirs as a standard bearer. And therein lies the enigma. Just what is Christianity and how is it recognized and lived out? If a person has a Biblically orthodox doctrine but is a haughty and mean kind of person is that Christianity? Or if a person is generous and warm but has a seriously flawed doctrine does that still pass as Christianity? Is Christianity something to be studied or is it something to live? With all the different religious streams and all the denominations which is the genuine Christian path?

Think about this. Most if not all the denominations find their distinctiveness in some facet of their doctrinal beliefs. Whether it is mode of baptism or gifts of the Spirit or eschatology or election or something else, they all have formed their own ecclesiastical group because of something they say they believe differently than do many others. Which denomination was formed because they loved more deeply or expressed humility more openly than do others? Which group formed because of some outward expression of Christ’s teachings? I think the closest would be the Salvation Army but even they have allowed serious compromise to creep in over the years.

Now with all those doctrinal issues we probably could decide which one was more of the Spirit simply by watching and examining the lives of those who were in each group. I mean if one particular denomination or group actually espoused the correct doctrine then it would have to reveal itself without question in the lives of its people. Their lives would be so much brighter and so much saltier and manifest so much of Jesus that it would be easy to see, right? But, sadly, that is not the case. There really is no one group that stands out with that kind of undeniable distinction.

That means that regardless of what you say you believe and what kind of impressive statement of faith you have does not represent Christianity if it is the exclusive core of your definition of the faith. Remember Christianity is not a science test or a test on Biblical vocabulary. Christianity is not just a questionnaire. And Christianity is also not just a set of humanitarian works. And this is the foundation of my post. The post Industrial Revolution church has never had a real and probing and even uncomfortable discussion, much less a pursuit, about finding and embracing the essence of what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.

A very subtle but diabolical event has taken place. The church has been so comfortable with labels and monikers that slowly those labels have come to define us rather than our lives. And when that happens, the faith outlined in Scripture gives way to the prevailing ecclesiastical winds dictated by denominations, traditions, and the fallen culture in which churches and believers live. In short the church becomes shaped by things other than Scripture even though many of them claim that Scripture is their foundation. And the “Do” parts of Scripture like love, mercy, humility, benevolence, self denial and others are significantly outflanked by the “Believe” parts of Scripture like the Trinity, the virgin birth, heaven and hell, justification by faith and others. So your doctrine buys you a membership card and how you live out the teachings of Jesus are optional and those classes can be audited. It’s like being a member of the swim team and yet you don’t have to swim just be able to explain how.

But just what is authentic Christianity according to God’s Word?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What is Christianity?


(This will be the first in a series)

Is Christianity a set of doctrinal beliefs? Is it a lifestyle based upon a set of truths? Is it the path to heaven? Or is it a path which begins on earth and ultimately leads to heaven? Granted, the word “Christianity” is a label used for all kinds of religious expressions which include Jesus. It is a colloquialism. But I use it in this setting to refer to the genuine faith of the Scriptures. What really is the Christian faith?

Matt.16: 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Sunday, July 21, 2013



Lies are so much easier to believe. They are alluring and appeal to our desires and lusts. But they are still lies. They cannot be anything else.
Rick Frueh
A.D. 2013

Glory and Treasure


Rom.8:18 - 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Col.1: 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Here are some limited insights into what the word glory actually means and how it is used in the Scriptures:

splendor, brightness of the moon, sun, stars

magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace

majesty, a thing belonging to God

the kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity

a thing belonging to Christ

the kingly majesty of the Messiah

the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ; the majesty

of the angels

as apparent in their exterior brightness

a most glorious condition, most exalted state

of that condition with God the Father in heaven to which Christ was raised after he had achieved his work on earth

the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Savior's return from heaven

When I used the word “limited” I meant it. As you can see the word glory is used to accentuate something great and powerful and beautiful. It is used for the stars and for the mountains and even for the wonder of life itself. But when the word is attached in any way to God it takes on an entire new depth and scope. And from our vantage point and understanding it has a very special meaning when it is applied to Christ Jesus. Who really can know it in all its fullness?

To understand or comprehend the absolute glory of the Risen Christ is only afforded to us in part in this present life. However even that part is breathtaking and life altering. We can throw around the words majesty and brightness and excellency and exalted and still we come up way short in our attempt to reveal or visualize the glory of Jesus. The glory of God exists in a reality completely detached from our own time and space. And even though God can and does visit us with glimpses through the illumination of the Spirit, we still remain ever the paupers when it comes to fully apprehending the glory of the Lamb of God.

The Book of the Revelation supplies us with some future imagery but human words are cloudy conduits when it comes to heavenly things. And when it pertains to the Lion of the Tribe of Judah those words really only whet our spiritual appetites. They can do no more. In fact, what actually captures our spirits and changes our lives is the surpassing knowledge of Christ accompanying with the knowledge we have only a small revelation of that glory. Think about it. We have been moved to tears and brokenness just because of our profoundly limited understanding of the glory of the Redeemer. And none of us have as yet laid eyes and minds upon the Risen Christ in all His glory and splendor. It is like taking a 200 piece concert orchestra and only letting one violin play and still be overwhelmed by its symphonic majesty and even recognizing that the other 199 pieces have yet to play. This is the power of God’s eternal glory even when given and understood in a very small way. Beyond words…completely beyond words.

But if we are to attempt to fully understand the length and breadth of Christ’s redemption we must proceed further. You see, this glory has been hidden in every true believer. This glory is embedded in the Person of Christ Himself and He now lives and resides within His people. How can we explain such a thing? I realize we have our precious doctrines which so often are used to quench any further pursuit and to prove our Scriptural orthodoxy, but if we choose to be satisfied with that we lose any chance at finding the eternal treasure this side of heaven. The clearer and deeper we see the Person of Jesus the more we allow the rays of His glory to enter into our souls. This is no spiritual game. In fact, this should be the lifelong pursuit of every true disciple of Jesus.

But the Apostle Paul tells us through the Spirit that this glory, this Christ, will one day be revealed in every true follower of Jesus Christ. Can you even pretend to imagine such a thing? I mean we have never deserved heaven, but now not only are we ushered into the dwelling place of Christ but He Himself will be revealed in us. How can I even know that? How can I understand that? What words or doctrines can really bring that into a reality in my being? It would have been glorious if Christ had redeemed us but kept His distance so as not to identify with us too closely. I could completely understand that. But to redeem us and then to come and live within us is far beyond my ability to understand and make any earthly sense of so great a salvation.

Oh the majesty of such a reality! Oh the eternal splendor of such a redemption! Oh what a Savior indeed!  That God would allow us to walk with His glory cannot be known. The Scriptures reveal that God is a spirit. Alright then, tell me just what is a spirit? Go ahead and mumble some ethereal words that make us look intelligent but all you have done is show yourself a fool. In these temporal bodies with our compromised minds all we have is what has been given to us through Scripture. And since God is a spirit we humans have no way yet to understand even the eternal DNA ( if you will) of the eternal being we call “God” which is the Anglo-Saxon word for “good”. Do you see? Even the word “God” is human.

So if we cannot even define a spirit, and if we use our own human words for Jehovah, then how are we supposed to comprehend the glory of His Being? We do not even have a comprehensive understanding of the word “glory” to say nothing of the glory which radiates from His eternal Being. But that should just spur us on to pursue and uncover and enter into the treasures contained in His Eternal Person. Meditate upon this: God is not a man and yet He came in the likeness of a man. And even that has provided for us some sphere of reference which accommodates our understandings but must still be seen as wholly insufficient.

So here we are consumed with ourselves and with an ecclesiastical construct which ministers to us and not our Lord and with that we are content and satisfied. Who really pursues Him anymore in this fast paced culture with all its daily worries and cares and the constraints of time largely absorbed into our temporal pursuits? Who has taken two months and fasted and prayed and for two short months has eschewed television or entertainment or going out to eat and immersed himself in prayer and the Word in every spare moment? Just two months? And yet we expect to understand the glory of our Risen Redeemer? Or worse yet we do not really care if we see His glory or not because we await heaven. Who then are we really following?

The Industrial Revolution brought about colossal changes in our culture. And with great leaps and bounds our time has been swallowed up in earthly pursuits and caring for the material things we already have or we desire to have. Any lengthy and deep times in prayer and fastings are now relegated to church history books and stories of revivals in days gone by. And oh what we have missed by being part of the cultural pursuits and not part of the pursuit that seeks Him with our whole hearts. The church has fed us its doctrines and has ensnared us with its activities and visions of growth and buildings and in so doing it has robbed the body of the eternal treasures hidden but available in Christ.

Col.2: That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

II Cor.4: For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

And there it is! The treasures of Christ which is Christ Jesus Himself dwells within us! Have we been digging to uncover this mystery and to let is shine forth to those who know not our Blessed Redeemer? Have we been thirsty for the water of this unfathomable glory within us? Do we actually believe in eternal life anymore or is it just another doctrine of the church? How can a person claim to believe in eternal life and yet spend so little time with Christ and so much time with the temporal? And the generation that will come after us will surely use our example to spiral further downward into the abyss of this fallen world.

The glorious treasure of Christ Jesus which is deep without a bottom has given way to the pursuit of earthly success and delicacies. The church house is dark throughout the week and the homes burn with the fire of television. The professing people of God no longer hunger and thirst after the righteousness that can only be found in Christ Jesus our Lord. In fact we have taken a few moral issues, stripped them from Christ, and made them our god.
But like someone who has inherited millions but instead of claiming his inheritance he is searching for pennies in the crevices of his couch, so are we as we run after that which cannot satisfy or be sustained at the expense of eternal treasure. What a sad and humiliating spectacle! The church now seeks everything but Jesus and now feasts at the table of God's enemies. The name of Jesus is now used to comport our Christianity but the disciplines of spiritual pursuit cannot be found. Ten minutes in a devotional book makes us feel better and with that we go about our more important business.

But there is hope! There is that Blessed Hope! We need not depend upon a church. We surely must not depend upon any country. We have this treasure in our earthly vessel and the Spirit beckons us to Come and dine!” Can you hear His call and His invitation? Let us awaken to the Spirit and cast off the bondwoman of this present culture and be set free. Perhaps the Lord Jesus will come tomorrow, but we still have today to seek and pursue and love Him with all of our hearts. I do not present some form of legalism which sets a timer to our prayers and devotions. But what I do present is a broken and contrite heart which cannot be made whole without a daily encounter with the Living and Reigning Christ. Let His glory shine in and through us, and let us take after Him as a chick takes after its mother.

The glory of God…the treasure of God…all of it awaits those who truly deny self and seek Him with their whole hearts. You will have to sacrifice some earthly success or recognition, however that which you will apprehend will surpass anything this world could ever hope to offer. In fact all the sufferings or the blessings of this present world cannot compare with the glory and treasure that can only be found in Christ Jesus our Lord. Selah.

Fairest Lord Jesus


Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Heartless, Soulless Church


Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Lk.6: 27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.
3Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.
31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

A 17 year old teenager lay dead from a bullet to his chest. Just moments ago he had been walking home from the convenience store and now he was gone. And almost before his body was cold the conversation began around the nation. Stand your ground, self defense, justifiable homicide, and law And order were mixed in with many of the discussions. The sides were drawn, and many took up their position on both sides. And, yes, somewhere in all the verbiage and excusing and accusing was the funeral pyre that signaled the death of the Christian church.

And after the smoke died down it became obvious that the church had lost the essence of Christ and was now a cultural phenomenon that could walk and talk and build and organize, but like the tin man of old it had no heart. But unlike that tin man the Redeemer had given her a heart but she had given it away in order to become a player in the fallen machinations of these world. The most compassionate thing most believers could say was that this “case” was a “tragedy”. How self serving and tepid. As we go about our own business we throw a few verbal morsels out in order to reveal a level of compassion and insulate ourselves from judgment? Yes, that is the best we can muster these days.

The eternal is relinquished in order to join in with the clamor of fallen men. Earthly laws and order and gun rights muscle out any authentic attempt to show the heart of Jesus. And when Jesus is involved there are no sides. He is the side. The death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida should present to us a vivid picture of the falleness of man as the monstrous, grotesque, and revolting picture it always is. But instead it once again provided for the church a platform to parade its own brand of heartless verbiage. A boy is dead and his lifeless corpse is the catalyst for all kinds of positions to be battled out on talk shows and news programs and in the homes and churches across this nation. And so it continues.

But lets continue to fool ourselves since we cannot fool God. The church which professes Jesus on some doctrinal level has lost its heart and soul and now can so seamlessly embrace constitutional rights and legal issues along with the fallen and blind world. Who is right? Who is legally culpable? Was Zimmerman a racist? Was Martin a bad seed? Those kinds of questions are what the church has become, and any mourning through the prism of the teachings of Jesus have long since been neatly packed away in the doctrinal cupboard only to be used to prove our “orthodoxy”.

But should not the church have been the most demonstrative in its grieving for the entire episode? Should not the world have seen our tears and our broken hearts over this dead young man regardless of any legal justifications?

Without a heart the church is merely a club or an organization which deals in religion. Go ahead and be a conservative or a liberal or a patriotic American but do not expect Jesus to come along. The truth is that most professing believers do not care if Jesus comes along or not. The stage is set and the conversation is heated and most can find their self worth somewhere in all of that. Words, words, and more words. But without a heart words are nothing more than manipulated air driven over the vocal chords and allowed to escape through the mouth. Yes, it is that antiseptic and meaningless.

I truly believe that without some sovereign move of the Spirit that rises profoundly above excitement and numbers the western church has gone way too far. It is not coming back. She has found refuge in this earthly wilderness and with a number of religious decorations she has made this wilderness her home and even her god. And the church will defend and promote this wilderness as if it was God’s own dwelling place. The heartless and soulless journey continues. The conferences still organize with great vigor. The building programs still raise money with great skill. The music programs still excite the emotions. The messages still point the way to earthly success. The Spirit is now recognized by conservative positions.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Christ is Our Life

Rom.12: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

How many of us sat under preachers that railed against smoking and drinking and dancing and they used those verses as their foundation? How tragic it is that so many believers have an earthly perspective on things which is often the same perspective as unbelievers have. Although it may be that George Zimmerman did not break any of man’s laws, is that what we derive comfort from as followers of Jesus? A teenage boy raised in a domestic mess is now dead and he was doing nothing wrong. Go ahead and embrace all your law and order mantras if that is what gives you solace, but I feel a real sense of tragedy.

What if Zimmerman was a believer? What if he carried a taser instead of a gun? What if did not call that boy an expletive? What if as a believer Zimmerman had asked the boy if he needed a ride to wherever he was going? And how deeply tragic it is to see believers and unbelievers alike pounce on the fact that Trayvon Martin had traces of marijuana in his blood. If that was the criteria for being deserving of death I should have been shot forty years ago. I sold drugs to high school kids. But I have used this tragedy in order to convict us on a higher spiritual issue.

You see, the “What would Jesus do?” church phrase seems to end at the barrel of s gun. Our calling as His followers is not to beat the law and order drums. Those who do that are already legion. Our calling is redemption. And sometimes that means we are going to be vulnerable. But so often the world supplies the narrative and the parameters and the church participates on the world’s terms. This case should once again wake us up to see just how fallen the world is and just how incongruous our faith is with what the world practices.

But the Zimmerman issue represents a deeper and more profound issue about which most of the church is willingly and pleasantly ignorant. The winds of this world’s perspectives blow with incredible strength. They are both open and clandestine and carry an influential weight that captures the mind and heart with partial truths and earthly logic. The evil force behind these winds is incredibly clever and uses all kinds of leverages in order to draw people into embracing the fallen perspectives of this world. The church has been called to a life which is not of this world, and yet so often we have distilled it down to the avoiding of cigarettes and beer and profane language.

And if you are against abortion and gay marriage you are comparatively a mature and surrendered follower of Jesus. That, of course, is measured by comparing ourselves with ourselves but it has no Scriptural or spiritual validity. People are influenced and even controlled by imagery and information. And in these days of multiple televisions with hundreds of channels with 24 hour programming, and with the incredible spread of all the many social media technologies, the average person’s mind can be altered and controlled simply by the amount of disinformation to which he exposes himself. And not only does he expose himself to fraudulent information streams, but most enjoy and are even addicted to it. This includes those who profess Christ.

This issue of affecting and infecting the hearts and minds through the senses cannot be overstated. And it isn’t just embracing what the world says is “conservative” and rejecting what the world says is “liberal”. It goes far deeper than those safe monikers. Truth as understood through the Scriptures is sacred and yet it cannot be just printed upon a Hallmark card and used to prove our orthodox spirituality. The church has come to love its doctrinal statements and has long since given up any sacrificial pursuit as it pertains to applications of those truths.

The life in the Spirit which not only follows Jesus but allows He Himself to live through us as divine conduits is not sedentary and stagnant. It must continue to grow in the grace and the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is not just some innocuous phrase which is meant to elicit “amens” from the pews or fit neatly into a clean and organized systematic theology. When John the Baptist declared, “He must increase but I must decrease” he was uttering a statement which profoundly captures the very essence of our lives. And if we truly examine the life and ministry of Jesus we must see just how He lived and spoke with such a distinctiveness that was at odds with what even religious people had come to believe. And His teachings were incompatible with the ways of the world.

But today the church has learned to embrace both the teachings of Jesus and the teachings of the world. And since they are at odds with each other then just what is the church embracing? In essence the church is embracing itself and not Jesus. And given that we all wear western glasses and we see and understand things with a western bias, the Scriptures have been taught through that same bias. But the tension between what we believe and practice and live as opposed to what Jesus actually taught would be unbearable. So the church has slowly but surely changed the interpretation of the message of Jesus in order to alleviate any spiritual tension. And so what we have today is the Christianity of man and not the Christianity of Christ and it feels oh so good.

Oh how it must grieve the Spirit of God when He sees what has become of the entity that still calls itself “the church”. He is called the Spirit of Christ and He knows with eternal knowledge and experience who is the Son of God. It was He who impregnated the virgin with the incarnate Christ in Nazareth. And yet now He finds a church consumed with itself and walking in the ways of the heathen. And even worse He hears a church teach lies and claim they come from Him and the Redeemer.

But where is that transforming power which frees the mind and the heart from the teachings and even the perspectives of this fallen world? Where is that powerful renewing of the mind which takes the written revelation of Jesus and empowers the new man to see things as He sees them? How can we be a friend to the ways of the world and a friend to Jesus as well? This life that follows Jesus is not just so we can find a voice that directs the moral compass of a fallen culture. No, this is a life which crucifies our former lives in all their fallen glory and allows a new creation to burst forth which has no relation to the former. And permeating everything within this new life is Jesus and His gospel redemption. Everything else must be residual.

Who carries a cross anymore? Who endures persecution with patience and even rejoicing? Who allows the world to battle out their own wars while we quietly and with humility go about our Father’s business? These are the issues which must define us as believers or they openly indict us. There cannot be two masters. In Christ there cannot be any competitors nor can there be a ameliorating between the fallen and the sacred.

It is time we seek and pursue a fresh revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. It would not be so we can enlarge our volume on Christology. This kind of seeking requires a sacrifice and a self denial which is foreign to the western mindset and the western church. It will bring affliction as well as great glory. It will lead to repentance as it leads to a greater freedom in Christ. It will open our eyes as to this present world and open our eyes to eternity. It will establish the Lordship of Christ in our hearts and minds, and this kind of revelation will change us forever. This is what we need. This is what the Spirit calls out for us. This is not just to give us some life adjustments. He must be our life.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

The Fullness of Redemption

I Cor.1: 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

Eph.1: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Heb.9: 11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

We sometimes treat the word “redemption” as a cousin to “redeeming” grocery store coupons. The depth, the scope, the power, the quality, the eternity, the cost, the suffering, the mystery, and the grace inherent within the redemption of Christ is past knowing. Only on the day we enter into His dwelling place and are overwhelmed by the sheer weight of His glory and holiness will we understand how significantly we shortchanged what the Savior accomplished for us.

But let us do what the overwhelming body of the visible church rarely if ever does. The church believes that watching an Easter Pageant and feeling warm and appreciative and then going out for some ice cream is worshiping and glorifying the Eternal Redeemer. How we have taken the sufferings of our Great Savior and trampled them under our cultural feet which are swift to accommodate our own lusts. It is confounding just how the church has taken the Redeemer and His cross and made then into a western talisman rather than a life changing power which results in self denial and sacrifice that ministers to our Great God. All across the evangelical landscape God has become a self help force and redemption is little more than a reserved seat in heaven while we go about our earthly pleasures.

The simple definition of the word “redeemed” is to buy back and that is the foundational construct of spiritual redemption through Jesus Christ. However we cannot, we must not, just let it go at that without a searching of the cost and meaning in that eternal transaction. To make it some impersonal doctrine is to offend the Spirit through which we cannot know anything of Christ. This redemption is an unfathomable treasure filled with pain and suffering, a miracle birth, a love which surpasses knowledge, and a horrific scene of blood, and a never ending stream of profound glory. This is no flannel graph presentation. This is the glorious mystery that will redound forever to the glory of the Creator God who revealed Himself in the Person of Jesus Christ.

We as humans are so bound to the visual. Our eyes have become to discerners of truth, and therefore anything we cannot see we either doubt or ignore. Things of the Spirit are relegated to subordinate status because we cannot see them. Even the beauty and majesty of creation does not drive us to seek the Creator. In fact only the Spirit can reveal to us the things of the Spirit. And even in the church that which is material and temporal are the things which are sought. The things of this earth consume the church while the gospel of redemption and all the priceless treasure therein have long since required way too much time and effort to seek. Our earthly lives demand earthly answers and the church supplies those answers packed in some thin veneer of Bible language. Redemption has become a children’s story. We know all about Bethlehem and Calvary and the empty tomb. What else can there be?

But all that is obviously ignorant of the utter darkness with which we were once imprisoned. We willfully see sin as some kind of mistake which has scant consequences unless it is illegal and we get caught. But to understand redemption we must see sin for what is really is. It is a monstrous betrayal to the Creator God. Just one act of disobedience sent the entire world into spiritual darkness and brought death upon men’s souls. Can you imagine such a thing? One insignificant sin and death, both physical and eternal, enters the world. Billions of souls are born with the eternal sentence of sin inherent in their souls. It is in this situation where redemption cries out in a stable in Bethlehem.

The entire world lies in the wicked one until Bethlehem. But men had taken God’s futuristic metaphors contained in the sacrificial system of the law and made them a redemption of works. They failed to understand the spiritual nature of that spilled blood. It was never about bulls and goats. It was always about the Son of God and His blood which was to come. Yes, the revelation first felt by Mary and first announced by Gabriel and first seen in a manger was the personification of the redemption illustrated by the blood of animals. But human sacrifice was pagan and forbidden to God’s people.

But this was no ordinary human, and God’s plan was a mystery. That is why so many Jews missed it, and that is why church people by the literal millions are missing it as well. Let’s face it. A suffering Jew on a Roman cross is not exactly what excites the intellect of man. And after 2000 years the story has not only become stale, but it has now acquired an almost mythical quality. People will embrace “Jesus” but have little stomach for searching the cross of redemption. It is quite unsophisticated and even barbaric in these enlightened times. The entire emergent movement sets out to eviscerate the cross and present redemption as a sort of spiritual humanitarianism.

But nothing can change God’s truth. This glorious redemption purchased at such a high cost is completely free to whosoever believes upon the Redeemer Jesus. And just what does God require of a sinner before that sinner can be redeemed? He must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ because on some level that sinner recognizes his need for forgiveness from the Almighty. No, he cannot understand the depth of his own depravity nor the gravity of his rebellion toward God. But as he hears the Spirit’s illumination of Christ he acts upon his need and believes on Jesus as his only Savior.

Now which sins must be completely forsaken before God will grant him the grace of redemption? None. In fact, he cannot know God’s moral commands and he does not have the power to leave his sins. So in reality the miracle we call redemption is all of God and none of us. All we do is believe. That is the complete definition as well as the manifestation of grace. We wake up one morning as an enemy of God walking in the kingdom of darkness, and in a moment of faith we have been translated into the kingdom of light and we are now a child of God. There can be no greater miracle.

But somehow along the way the evangelical community got caught up in political games and moral crusades and in so doing it changed how we see and understand the gospel. We adopted the moral rules of the unsaved conservatives and made them litmus tests for a lost sinner. We attacked certain sinners and embraced others. So when the conservative sinner who lies and cheats and verbally eviscerates his or her opponent we applaud them because they are pro-life and anti-gay. But if a sinner is gay he is an abomination to God and to us and we demand he change way before he can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

And if per chance a gay person does believe in Jesus we may grant him a short amount of time to completely understand his sin and completely abandon his behavior. We may allow him a certain amount of struggle, but if that struggle creates some wiggle room for his sinful behavior he is dismissed as unsaved. And that creates an interesting dilemma. I continue to see open greed, prayerlessness, hedonism, idolatry, spiritual lethargy, debt, and divorce and remarriage rampant in the evangelical church. And yet those sins are considered part of the sanctification process and in fact many are not even considered sins. All kinds of money sins which are part and parcel of a capitalist culture are now part and parcel of an evangelical lifestyle. They are even considered God’s blessings.

And so the question becomes can these kind of evangelicals really be saved? After all they live lives out of Biblical order, and they are completely blind about some of their sins, and they even embrace some sins as coming from God, and yet they claim to be followers of Jesus. Millions love a fallen nation, and hate liberals with a passion, and millions listen to the caustic vitriol of self righteous talk show hosts almost every day while neglecting God’s Word. How can they be saved especially if we are going to pronounce a person as “unsaved” if he or she is blind to the sin of same sex relationships?

The real question deals with the essence of redemption. Is it completely by faith or is it by faith at the beginning with an agreement for works in the future? And if redemption is by faith and works then it is a works salvation. And many people believe that, but most of the evangelical world believes that salvation is by faith alone, except when it comes to gay people. And here is a penetrating question. Can an abortion doctor be redeemed and have his life changed where he reads his Bible and prays and is active in an evangelical church and even supports overseas missions but he still performs abortions? Can he be saved but still believes life begins at birth?

Now if you say that doctor cannot possibly be saved then you have a works salvation. Let me ask you this: Can a person have all the right moral positions and be an evangelical church member and still be unsaved? The answer of course is yes.

II Tim.2: 19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

There it is. Only the Lord knows for sure who are His, and yes, those who are following Jesus should forsake sin. That is a constant theme in the New Testament. But look at the following verses.

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

And there is God’s grace revealed in all its glory! There will be saints who have not lived in surrender but who were genuinely born again and will lose rewards but who will spend eternity with Christ for no other reason but that by faith they truly trusted His finished work. Does that not exclude all works? Yes there will be those whose conversion was illegitimate and who will be revealed as religious but not born again. But there will also be those whose lives were unfortunately not fully committed but whose souls were saved by fire. This should never give false assurance to those who are living in sin, but it also should keep us from passing authoritative judgment on any who profess Christ but have succumbed to sinful struggles. Only God knows those that are truly His.

We have self righteously limited God’s redemption while others have unwisely expanded it to include almost all sinners. There exists a fine line which must be navigated with humility as well as Biblical direction. And if all the hedonistic American believers can be children of God by faith, well then so can others whose sin is of a different variety. We must hold high the cross of Christ and His gospel, but we cannot exclude certain sinners just because their sin is outside our own struggles. Rebuke in love. Correct in humility. Teach with Biblical authority. Intercede in prayer. Reach out in loving truth. And above all count yourself as nothing and Christ as everything. Resist the temptation to join hands with the fallen morality of those whose self righteousness is self evident. Be clothed in humility and die to yourself every day. The gospel is for the immoral.

Ti.3: To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.
For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,

Yes, we did not pull ourselves up by our own boot straps. We were rescued by grace and by grace we still stand and it is that same grace which must define our lives. It is grace which permeates God redemption and without grace it is nothing more than a moral high jump which can never clear the bar. God did not come to call the righteous to salvation. Why? Because there are no righteous outside of Christ.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Redemption -What Does it Really Mean?

Here is a classic example of what I have pointed out in many posts of which I receive comments and e-mails both supportive and strongly otherwise. This couple is firmly entrenched in this fallen culture and are both embraced by and to that same fallen culture. In fact, by implication they consider their way of life a walk of “holiness” just because they are heterosexual.
I watched this clever video where a couple spoke of their gut wrenching confusion when their 12 year old son told them he was gay. They were professing believers and they made many mistakes but eventually their son spiraled downward into hard drugs because he believed God hated him. He overdosed and died. But the parents seemed to now wish they had embraced his same sex attractions.

Oh the blindness of the church which has become so American it cannot understand just how blind we all have become. The issue they share about having a gay son or daughter while being a professing believer is an extremely complex one. Not as to what God’s Word teaches, but as to how we should react and how the gospel itself applies itself to that situation. The western church is filled with all kinds of sin and hedonistic practices. In fact it is a microcosm of the fallen culture which includes self affirmation, self pleasure, self actualization, profound hedonism, and even heterosexual adultery both in practice and in the mind.
Thursday the 4th of July was revered and celebrated as believers by the literal millions show their love and allegiance to what God hates. Most call it patriotism but God calls it idolatry. That is one well spring of all kinds of elicit attractions that may not be sexual but are every bit as diabolical and sinful. And that is the foundation of my ongoing journey to seek Christ in all His ways and fullness without presenting a Christ who is at odds with His own words. And it also identifies my supposition that the gay issue is an ongoing deception that lends affirmation to a heterosexual community of faith which continues to live as if God was a capitalist American but decidedly not gay.
I was moved by this couple’s story. But the obvious unspoken answer to their family dilemma was that their love for their son has somehow become the exegetical prism through which they see and know God. And although I abhor the ranting and chanting evangelical hordes which demand condemnation and even legislation to flex their doctrinal muscles abut same sex attractions, I cannot reconcile a condoning of behavior which embraces and manifests those attractions. I do not have all the answers.
But one thing I do know for a metaphysical certainty. If the Starbucks and the snowboarding and the expensive vacation crowd can claim to be following Jesus, and if that same crowd can be saved by grace through faith alone, then so can a gay believer who is blind to his sin. Seeing an expansive view of Christ’s redemption in that way does not condone sin. God forbid. But it covers sin through His shed blood. And perhaps the greatest sin of all and which results in all kinds of viciousness is the sin of self righteousness.
So when the evangelical pastor stands behind the pulpit and lambasts the degenerate culture as evidenced by the growing gay thing, and when the pew dwellers nod and say amen and even applaud his bold stand for Biblical morality, I believe that climate is fertile ground for an incredible harvest of self righteousness. And I also believe that the evangelical community does not have a clue, nor do they desire one, about what self righteousness is and how it permeates the soul and renders our faith as little more than a string of moral pontifications.
And just to throw out some red meat for the voracious appetites of the evangelical masses, and just to shield myself from those who would throw stones my way labeled compromise, I still believe that acting on same sex attractions is sinful. Almost as sinful as my own self righteousness. It’s that last bit of red meat, my own, which drives me to so often be a doctrinal vegan.
Here is a man, a professing believer, who strives to be a financial success and in so doing spends very little time with his children and his wife. In fact, he begins a relationship with his secretary and his marriage begins to deteriorate. Within months they speak of divorce. It happens. And the next year this man marries his secretary and begins a new life. He is still financially successful and he sees his children infrequently. But this man does not believe God hates him. He is not depressed, and his sin is not continually trumpeted from evangelical pulpits. In fact he and his new wife join a large evangelical church and are welcomed into the fold. No questions asked.
This man experiences no struggles and he is affirmed by his new church family. In fact, when the preacher comes down hard on homosexual marriage and the liberal mindset this man and his wife nod and smile in approval. You think my story is some kind of fairy tale? Not only do I know personally people in this kind of narrative, but I know preachers who fit this mold. Here is man who is a pawn broker. He charges 25% PER MONTH interest for pawned items which are usually desperate and poor people. He believes he provides a service and he is willfully blind to the Biblical teaching on usury. But he a church member in good standing and his third wife sings in the choir. He does not feel condemned by God nor does he sense God hates him. You see, his sin is not an abomination.
Prov.6: 16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Where oh where are the gays in this list? The depth of self righteousness is astonishing. All sin is an abomination before God. But if serves our self righteous purpose to call the sin of same sex relationships an abomination. Please provide me with all the New Testament verses about the sin of homosexual behavior and I will provide you with the verses about greed and heterosexual sin. Sin is sin and the cross is the cross and the gospel is the gospel and Jesus is the Redeemer for whosoever will. And no amount of conservative legislation or evangelical condemnation can ever minimize the fact that Jesus loves sinners and died for us all. But that does not seem to dissuade many people from trying.
And so on and on it goes. That which is casually called “Christianity” continues to be an innocuous segment of a fallen culture. And within a house with no mirrors there is a moral telescope. As long as you are not gay you are walking in holiness. But the larger question is why is there this obsession with the gay issue when the New Testament is literally filled with admonitions about money and greed? Why can the church submit and gladly participate in a sin which is so clear but get hypertension about all things gay?
The answer is simple. It is self righteousness plain and simple. Self righteousness is basically exalting man over God. It is speaking for God things that He never said while changing or even ignoring things He did say. In fact it is a form of unbelief even while still using His name. The church has never had a prayerful conversation about these issues, in fact what the modern church has is a monologue which tickles the ears and soothes the conscience. And reclining in a place of moral hubris, the church looks down on the cultural serfs and passes judgment. It is a great show and creates an atmosphere of self affirmation but it is void of the messy and bloody business of redemption. And you cannot be on the Lord’s “team” without a proper uniform.
I Pet.5… Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
The church no longer desires a conversation, a seeking on the subject of the redemption of Christ. We have our statements of faith and do not need any challenges. Even if we establish the exclusivity of Christ the church still has little appetite for a deep and prayerful exploration of God’s eternal Word as it pertains to the gospel and its implication and application to all sorts of sinners. We are “literalists” and we are bound to what we have been told we believe. It is such a comfortable place.
Humility? Tears? Fastings often? All night prayer vigils? Seasons of repentance? Who are we kidding? No one and surely not God. We have become an unwieldy monolith which has lost its heart and goes to bed each night exhausted by the energy it takes to run the race laid out for us by the fallen culture. When was the last time just the thought of eternity stopped us in our tracks and shook our very being as we considered the plight of the lost? It seems everything has been distilled down into cute little doctrines which are presented as orthodox and conservative credentials rather than life changing truths which impact us every single day.
Moral politics is such an easy game. It soothes the conscience and affirms the flesh. It disembowels the gospel and makes earthly issues the cause of Christ. And this kind of earthly alliances with the heathen has made the church a collection of people who meet periodically in buildings paid for with bank loans and with many care takers. But as far as power that can be compared with the Book of Acts let us not lie. We are religious zombies who find much pleasure in this world while doing our religious duty once or twice a week. Is it that bad, you ask? Have you ever heard of the word apostasy?
But if you dislike that word you can just believe this post is about homosexuality.
That should help.
(Part two of this post will be a genuine conversation and exploration of Christ and His redemption.)