Saturday, September 14, 2013

Enemies of Jesus

There are many enemies of the gospel and to the teachings of Jesus. Liberal theologians; modern philosophers; prosperity teaching; television evangelists; the emergent church; and on and on the list goes. But I believe the single most insidious poison within evangelicalism is nationalism. It has become an accepted tenant of the faith and it makes the Word of God of none effect.

It is this man made principle which is shielded from the light of the Holy Spirit and is protected from the clear teachings of Jesus Himself. The tortured logic goes something like this: All the teachings about forgiveness, non-violence, humility, self denial, and being gracious to your enemies are rendered impotent and irrelevant when the interests of a nation are at stake and you happen to have lent your allegiance to that particular nation. The teachings of the New Testament are not applicable when you are defending your earthly citizenship. That is quite astonishing.

Professing believers will fight over this and churches and pastors teach, promote, and practice this kind of compromised Christianity with pride and boldness. And this kind of belief system renders the faith just an appendage to a well rounded American lifestyle. It means that the New Testament is little more than a history book and not only is not at odds with a hedonist culture but is practiced as an American faith. Persecution? For what? The church politically defends traditional marriage and its stand against abortion and these views are Biblically correct. However we can never be persecuted for Jesus’ sake since we like Hansel and Gretel have lost the way back to Him. The birds of nationalism have eaten the ancient landmarks and now we as believers are more American than we are Christian. And we do not even look for the path back. We live in nice harmony with the witch who is systematically starving us spiritually. Today we do not even loom for the way back. We live in harmony with the witch who is systematically starving us spiritually. Jesus is now a onetime get-out-of-hell Savior but He is far from being Lord. And if we do not see and teach Him as Lord, than just who are we teaching?

Of course the obvious question is this: Do the teachings of Jesus transcend anything here on earth? Are His teachings pervasive in any and all circumstances or is there a major caveat? If you believe that your allegiance to a nation changes His teachings then you believe national allegiance supersedes what He taught and lived. And that belief system can never be seen as the faith once delivered to the saints. It is a fraud and a bastard and yet it has an incredible stronghold upon the evangelical church in America. Flags adorn the place of worship and believers place their hands over their hearts in a show of allegiance. Where believers once were arrested for not bowing before a king, today believers bow before a secular and ungodly nation.

But even the smallest inquiry about the spiritual and Scriptural validity of such patriotism is met with fierce resistance. Human logic and human reasoning are foundation to defending such an earthly alliance and allegiance. And also at its core is an embarrassing rewriting of history which would make the brothers’ Grimm blush. This kind of belief is nicely packaged and presented with fanfare and emotion and is espoused by millions of professing believers. Many are well meaning people who have accepted what they are taught and thereby have become anesthetized toward any deep and uncomfortable search for Christ and His truth.

Much of the problem originates from seeing ourselves as earthly citizens rather than heavenly pilgrims. Instead of being carriers of the gospel ark to the whole world while on our way to Christ we have planted our stakes into fallen soil and now enjoy the forbidden fruit rather than the grapes of Eschol.

Lk.6: 46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

If you peruse the teachings of Jesus you will find that they are revolutionary and against even the accepted mores of this present day culture. His teachings are multilayered and the very fine china of human behavior. While this so called “Judeo-Christian” culture has established a few major tenants of morality the teachings of Jesus emasculate that fallen attempt to appear righteous and moral. In fact, the teachings of Jesus filet the heart and lay waste our outward shows of political and national religion which is nothing in God’s eyes.

We are called to obey the teachings of Jesus. It is quite curious that so many loudly proclaim the Law of Moses and its relevance for today while ignoring the life changing words of our Lord Jesus Christ. Just the Sermon on the Mount indicts the evangelical church at large. We have not just put the cart before the horse, we have made our own ox cart and left the horse within the doctrinal stall. But the teachings of Jesus are only burdensome when we embrace the tension between what the culture dictates and what Jesus has said. If we reject outright and wholly the dictates, mores, and morals of this culture then there is no tension. But if we embrace nationalism we embrace a Trojan horse full of compromise, dilution, and outright disobedience to our Master’s words and ways.

Have you ingested what I am saying? What I am suggesting and contending is that what is overwhelmingly taught and practiced in western evangelicalism is not New Testament Christianity and does not follow the teachings of Jesus. Did you get that? Many of us who would agree with that statement were once walking in that deception. We are still not perfect and must pursue Christ with all of our hearts but our eyes have been opened to the diabolical attraction of nationalism. We are all unprofitable servants, however when the Spirit frees us from bandage we must walk toward the light and let the chains fall at our side.

If Jesus is to be Lord of all He cannot have any competitors. None of our allegiance can go anywhere else but to Him. We love our families and we have a God given responsibility toward them but our allegiance is to Christ alone. And if Jesus is Lord than we must know exactly what He taught and seek to allow the Spirit to conform us to those words. All of them and none other.


michael said...

I too have been thinking about enemies and had not considered nationalism in such a frame of reference or realized that trajectory it flings one down. This insight has been insightful for me.

I am now thinking about the following words with this nationalism insight in mind:

After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. (John 7:1-5 ESV)

Here we see clearly this nationalism.

What stands out to me even more clearly now is what Jesus says next. Two things grip my soul when reading this:

Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. (John 7:6, 7 ESV)

The first thing is this phrase "...but your time is always here."!!!


What makes this so sharp cutting my heart is what He then says: "...The world cannot hate you, ..."!

Why? I now suspect it's just as you've said, basically I've not been so willing to be an enemy of the world. If what I believe He means is what He means it is for me, "my time is always here", I should not get too cozy with this world or this particular country I'm living in, the United States!

Later on we read this in chapter 15:

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ (John 15:18-25 ESV)

The question facing me now is why am I not being hated without a cause? Is it because my life really doesn't reflect His in the world?

Cherie c. said...

I know for sure I am hated, and although it hurts, all the Glory be to God and our Lord Jesus Christ. The only friends I have are here a one or two other blogs and that is it.

Because of mt refusal to compromise the Word I am leaving my occupation to just be a bookkeeper.

Glad too......some of the things I deal with smack dead in the face of God and I want no part of it anymore.

The evil hearts of man, the cutthroat actions of people make me ill.

Hated, my funeral the line of those who hate me will be longer than those who do, if any. The dear brothers and sisters in Christ that I can truly call my friends are few, mostly from this blog, and I Praise God for them.

Do I really care, no...I have learned to be content in want and in abundance, Praise Jesus

Been waging war with my flesh lately and the Spirit is winning. Certainly Do Not deserve Him, but I am on my knees grateful for Him.

Thank you Pastor for this post. We can only expect it to get worse.

Pastor Rick, its been a while, hope you are well dear Brother.

your sister in Christ Jesus,
Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Michael for your many uplifting articles.
You write:
The question facing me now is why am I not being hated without a cause? Is it because my life really doesn't reflect His in the world?

When someone is endeavouring to uphold the holy name of the risen Lord Jesus they will soon became aware that their teaching is opposed and they are hated by many without a cause.

For example when I teach God's word to homosexuals, lesbians, agnostics, atheists, or Islamists I have to have God with me or I would soon crumble and flee quicker than a brave man should.

I need to be emotionally resilient otherwise I will be unable to cope with their at times razor sharp tongues.

brcorcoran said...

Excellent, excellent post!

Anonymous said...

Who are our enemies? Everyone who is at enemity with God is our enemy. And how are we to treat them? We are to love them as we love ourselves.

An unsaved person needs to come to appreciate that they are a sinner in need of a Savior. That is one of the biggest hurdles for them to overcome.
Thereafter they should look to Lord Jesus, for He can save them out of their enslavement to Satan.

Josef Sefton