Thursday, January 09, 2014

What if it's All True?


Jn.17: 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

What if it’s all true? I mean all of it. Every single truth in Scriptures is completely and utterly true beyond our earthly imaginations? I know we all loudly proclaim our conviction that it really is all true. But now I ask what if it really is all true? What does it mean to us here and now? Heaven and hell; Eternal punishment and eternal reward; Armageddon and the Second Coming; what if it’s all true. Every bit of it is true and every prophecy will come to pass just as it is laid out in Scripture.

But I believe it is all true!” Do you? Do I? Let us say that God whisked a handful of us into the future and we were given a firsthand tour of eternity and all the things in the spirit realm. We were guided through heaven and we were shown the horrors of hell and we even were granted a full five minute view of the Risen Christ. And then we were brought back to 2014 and dumped right back where we were picked up. And no one missed us or thought we had vanished for a time. But we remembered everything we had seen and experienced. Everything. Would that change our lives?
To the degree that trip would change our lives is the degree to which we live in unbelief.

It is beyond belief and beyond reason that a person could believe the New Testament Scriptures are literally true and all the things about eternity are limited revelations about things that are actually tangible and true and yet live so unremarkable in such a fallen culture. It makes no sense at all. If we drag out our precious statements of faith in all its glorious orthodoxy and we examine just what we say we believe we have some explaining to do. It oh so easy to write what we believe and stand upon that statement as gospel truth without having to measure the audacity of that statement against our unexceptional lives which blend in so easily with those who do not say they believe those things.

But again I ask all of us in all sincerity. What if it really is all true. Everything we say we believe, and everything we have heard in Sunday School, and everything we have read in Scripture is all true in substance. But before we can understand the impact of that statement we must examine much more closely what we say we believe and what we say the Scriptures teach. And all we need to do is strip it down to a few foundational truths and issues. In fact, all we need is one primary issue with which to juxtapose upon our lives and see if they accurately reflect someone who believes it.

We say we believe that eternity is comprised of only two places and only those who believe in Jesus will spend eternity in heaven with Him and the others will spend eternity separated from Him forever in hell. Think about what I just wrote. That is what we say we believe. And based upon that statement we believe we have eternal life in heaven already secure in Christ and that the remainder of our earthly lives are His to use to reach others who do not yet have eternal life. Now if that is true, and if we believe that with all of our hearts, then what should our lives look like?

But please take into consideration the profound and almost unimaginable essence of the tenants of our faith. I mean this is no religious philosophy. This is no spiritual musings. This, our faith, contends for the eternal souls of all men. Think about that. We have become so inoculated to our own statements of faith that we can recite the most outrageous and shocking doctrines with less emotion and passion than we show while watching a football game. We can take loud doctrinal stands about the reality of heaven and hell and yet live hardly different from our unbelieving neighbors.

We can castigate those liberal monsters who say there is no hell and write very impressive exposés revealing their lack of Scriptural exegesis and yet our lives are very similar to theirs. And having won the Scriptural argument we feel very smug and orthodox. But it does not bother us in the least that our lives show no more obedience and distinction or even passion than do theirs. We are content with winning the doctrinal argument without having our lives passionately reflect the truth we have carefully learned.

If it is true that every living soul will spend eternity in either heaven or hell, then how can we even begin to defend our lives and the duplicitous nature in which we give so much attention to the temporal while passively supporting a set of eternal truths which are profoundly revolutionary in every way? The suggestion that every soul lives forever in one of two places, if truly believed, must so alter a life that it makes that life observably remarkable in the midst of a fallen and unbelieving culture. In fact, that basic tenant of the faith is so unreasonable and fanatical and carries with it the eternal destiny of every soul ever born that anyone who truly believes it should be considered a fanatic on some level. When it was told to an atheist what a Christian believes about eternity and the necessity of believing the gospel, his reply was, “If I believed what you say you believe I would walk on my hands and knees upon broken glass to tell everyone I could.”

So once again let us lay aside our well worn pronouncements of orthodoxy and let us honestly ask ourselves this question without explanation or excuse.

What if it is all true?


Anonymous said...

It's all true. It's so easy to lose the passion of what the whole plan of God is. The cares of this world really do bog us down and try to stop us from thinking of eternity.

One thing I'd like to express though. I think christians, who come from all degrees of lifestyle, have to try to put themselves in each other's shoes a bit more. We've become so glued to our way of life that we can't understand how our brother or sister struggle.

When a christian suffers pain every day and has to get up and go to work, knowing that if they don't work, they don't eat, and being constantly hit with the increased problems of this world, weather-related, (tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, ice storms, power outages, cars frozen in ice, homes completely blown away, floods, etc., it is very hard to be contemplating the things of God and thinking about streets of gold up in heaven. Many people don't have gold down here and it doesn't really impress me. Surviving every day when I get my head off the pillow is what I have to thank God for.

I do think of the New Jerusalem sometimes. But my mind can't imagine it, because the cares of this world weary me and I'm sure all the brethren here have a hard time feeling the joy of the Lord (although David did encourage himself in the Lord). And where is that verse about "joy unspeakable and full of glory"? I know we should take the time to encourage ourselves in the Lord, but we need to do it collectively. Encouraging one another, in one place, in one accord is so important.

It's true that we hardly talk about how awesome this whole plan is from Genesis to Revelation. It's so awesome that my head hurts. But, life, and struggles quickly grab hold of me and I succumb to it's power. It's hard to pray with all the garbage that surrounds us, hard to fellowship with so few christians and the world is getting worse and worse, and the idea of the Lord sitting at the right hand of God, and preparing his angels to shine and buff their trumpets is too awesome for me to 'feel'. Worrying about now paying the electrical bill this month overrides my sense of feeling the wonders of heaven, or worry that our car didn't start and the engine is frozen, or worry that my son is depressed and discouraged, or wonder if our health will suddenly take a turn for the worst. Just too many distractions and christians who are living without distractions, and who are financially secure may be able to sense the wonders of God's plan. I think those who are in their season of plenty and season of youth and health need to focus on being encouragers and edifiers to those without. If the "Hope" is only enjoyed by only a few, then where have we gone wrong?

I'm not talking about those in different financial classes, but talking about each class hanging around each other. If a middle income family have friends, they befriend other middle income friends; if wealthy families have friends, they befriend other wealthy families, and poverty-level christians befriend those like them. That's the way of the world? Yes, but it's happening in the CHURCHES. Think about it. We are playing the 3-tier class system. How can christians reach everyone if we only stick with our own class? I would think that the wealthy christians that sit around the 'great room' in front of a roaring fireplace can talk about the wonders of heaven. But, those in the bottom floor of the Titanic (peerage) can only hope that they have enough money to buy food for their children when they get to their destination. I've said it before, this is the reason we, as a church, can't fully express Christ in our world; we need to go back to the place like in the early church, where they had all things in common. They sold all they had and worked and lived together. So, who goes first? We'll send Mikey? (little kid in the cereal ad).


Anonymous said...

I'm full of matter (LOL).

Just one more thought. If Jesus could save us all in Babylon (world systems), the way they are now, then He can do anything. With Him, all things are possible. We are miserable men, like Paul said, and caught up in the worldly snares, but even so, He still is merciful and His mercy endureth forever.


Anonymous said...

J, in order to understand Christ man needs to learn to praise God when he is in "bad" shape financially and or physically. God uses these circumstances to reveal to us if our faith is real or not. Lack of praise for God points to a heart that needs cleansing by God.

Reine Gnade

Lorena said...

I hear you J. ...feel the same way about much of what you shared here, and have had the same thoughts.

Sometimes I'm just hanging on by the tips of my fingers. But Christ can keep us in any situation, and He does...or I would have quit a thousand times already. Praise His Wonderful Name.
Hopefully, I worded this properly.


Anonymous said...

This life is not about having or having not. Satan wants us to believe it is. Inferiority and insecurity are his 2 greatest weapons and combined with his ability to twist lies into truth, well, it's a snare we've all fallen into.

This life of hardships is not a test. Do not believe either that, "God will not give you more than you can bare…" for He certainly does! His intent is for you not to handle it or try to overcome these times and obstacles alone. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.". That means ALL THINGS: loving your neighbor who gives you every reason not to, walking through fires and not being consumed by them - when we get to the point where we cry out to God we cannot do it, He says, "Finally!! I never meant you to!" Jesus said His yoke is light and it is.

When we believe the word of God, when we begin to ever so slightly comprehend His love for us, when we begin to understand the character, grace and mercy - our hearts can trust God to fix, heal and restore our lives. He's waiting on you to come to Him and is looking at your heart.

Our time on earth is all about relationship with our Lord God. Hardships build this relationship. Without them, how often would you cry out, "Abba?"

Also, a beautiful and yes, miraculous event is when God isn't intending to remove you or rescue you from your situation. I have experienced God changing me in fires and the result was by changing nothing of my situation He changed EVERYTHING! He changed me.

My heart has been changed - I have Christ like love for people who I stopped loving a LONG time ago and rightly so. Humanly, I could not love them. But through Christ, you see, I can! I ache for people, my heart cries out for others to know the love of God - because for the longest I knew of God, but did not KNOW God.

Beginning to understand His love for me changed everything. Baby steps this walk following Christ is and I have only just threw down my nets. There is nothing like the love of God. He IS love. The more I begin to understand, the less I feel I know.

What I do know is this. If you want real change in your life, pray for God to change you - change your heart, reveal His love, work on you. Stop praying for situations in your life to be remedied. "All things work for good for those who love the Lord." Yes, all things.

God's plan is greater than our eyes can ever see. Trust in Him. Seek His plan for your life instead of your own. This doesn't come quickly, at least for me it didn't. I believed in God and accepted Christ early in my life, but not until 25 years later did I actually give Him my life and ask what He wanted me to do with it.

This lack of relationship hinders the belief Pastor Rick is speaking of. When you have had a head change (ie knowledge) of our Father God yet have not had a heart change then there is truly not much difference between you and the non-believer standing beside you.

Relationship! God wants relationships with every one of us - with our free will the ball is in our court to choose Him. Each and every time. Choose God. Every day. Give him your heart and watch the world around you be transformed with everything staying the same.

For people to believe every word of God as truth and to act on it with the urgency and dire need it warrants has to be preceded by the event of hearts clamoring for the love of God. For His will on our lives, not our own. For His desires of our hearts, not our own. For so much more of Him and so much less of us….every day with every breath.

It doesn't happen overnight and it's different for every one of us. I have witnessed a miracle, my friends, and it happened when I realized God had changed ME. Amen! And I do not want Him to stop. It has me yearning and desiring so much more. God's love is unending and that's the length He wants to take with us so we can extend it out into this world.

michael said...

After reading the article and comments some verses come to mind to share that I can say I experience frequently. There is difficulty experiencing them too quite frankly because I battle with myself struggling to see the flesh overcome by His Spirit now that I know I can't fight my way out of a wet paper sack!

Here's the first:

Psalms 46:1 To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah


It has taken me a looooong time to come to grips with that reality, that is, troubles, temptations, personalities not of my liking are all that God uses to change me. He indeed does change us and most of the time the change ONLY comes in the trouble, the adversity or temptation or person who never sees it MY WAY! If God has a plan for my life He also has one for yours even if I'm unwillingly to accept it or see it about My Lord working in your life to bring about change in you!

Also these verses inform me of that infamous Word Jesus uttered, "the poor you will have with you always":

Psalm 41:1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
2 the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
3 The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.
4 As for me, I said, "O LORD, be gracious to me; heal me, for I have sinned against you!"
5 My enemies say of me in malice, "When will he die, and his name perish?"
6 And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words, while his heart gathers iniquity; when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
7 All who hate me whisper together about me; they imagine the worst for me.
8 They say, "A deadly thing is poured out on him; he will not rise again from where he lies."
9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
10 But you, O LORD, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!
11 By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
12 But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever.
13 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.

There is just something powerful that happens when our life is no longer about us! I've heard it asked and said a few times before that God needs nothing from us. It's our neighbor though that just today might need a helping hand and God has so determined the circumstances just so that their need is met by our hand!

Proverbs 3:27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.
28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it"—when you have it with you.

Annette said...

This post is powerful, Thank-You for yet another genteel reminder. Also, the Scriptures quoted here are perfect for the order of the day, Praise You O LORD for your faithfulness.

What a blessing to read all of the comments posted here for there is much to ponder; thank-you from a grateful heart!

Rejoice always.