Friday, April 18, 2014

Moral Outrage or the Cross?

Moral Outrage or the Cross?

To be able to provide an outlet for the flesh by castigating others is quite the carnal pageantry. It comes with a heavy dose of self righteousness, a fleshly delicacy, as well as something very, very special. If you can fulfill the lust of the flesh and simultaneously claim divine direction and divine favor inherent in that very act, well that is some mental gymnastics. And sprinkled with a dose of “courage” as well as “boldness”, and you have the perfect meal served and consumed by your old man.

Brethren, there is a distinct difference between correction within the body and castigating sinners. It is beyond me how anyone could read the gospels and not see that one of the reasons our Lord was criticized was because He was a friend to sinners. He was seen in their company, and He showed uncommon love for them in spite of their sin. He reserved His most poignant rebukes for the self righteous leaders of the Temple.

But within today’s church it has become fashionable to exhibit moral outrage to lost sinners and their sin. Instead of spreading the good news of the gospel, and instead of fasting and praying inside the kingdom of God, the church releases concerted efforts to change the culture. The church even goes so far as to embrace a false mission to return America to the intent of the founding fathers. And in so doing the church has left the Christ and chased after idols.

But the moral outrage syndrome is very curious and incongruent with the teachings of the New Testament. The scenario is this: God by His grace reaches down and plucks a sinner from his sin, gives that sinner His righteousness, and allows him to inherit eternal life. In fact, God makes him a son or daughter in God’s own family. Halleluiah!

Oh but then that saved sinner turns around and views the pigpen from which he was so graciously removed, and that saved sinner now shouts words of condemnation toward the very crowd in which he once roamed. It is so very wrong and it exhibits a profound ignorance of the nature of the gospel and the grace which saved his own soul. And the level of self righteousness is breathtaking.

Requiring lost and dead sinners to alter their lives so that their sin is contained inside acceptable religious norms is Biblically unsound as well as morally self righteousness. Much of it stems from an unbiblical meshing of the temporal and the eternal. And much of it is a subconscious attempt to avoid looking into our own mirror by pointing the finger of condemnation at lost and needy sinners.

Let us complain about the gay pride parade rather than pray all night for them, or even line the parade route handing out fresh water. Let us protest against abortion rather than donate time and money to the nearest Crisis Pregnancy Center. Let us be death penalty advocates rather than go inside prisons and share the good news. Let us spread fear about Muslims and Sharia law instead of weeping and interceding for a lost and deceived people. If Jesus came to provide a platform for moral outrage and condemnation of sinners, well then the church is fulfilling His mission.

But that is not why Jesus came. Jesus came to die for the sins of the world, and as He left this world He gave us a gospel commission. That is our calling; that is our mandate. This contrived moral outrage is nothing more than pointing out the obvious and using it to present your own moral credentials. What role did you have in where you were born? What role did you have in who your parents were? Suppose you had been born into an atheist family? Or a Muslim family? Or adopted by a gay couple?

If any of those scenarios had been true, would you listen to a voice of condemnation or a voice of redemptive hope? Would you desire someone to share Jesus with you or someone to castigate you for who you are? Suppose Jesus had been born of a virgin named Mary, grown up in Nazareth, and after the Spirit fell on Him in the Jordon, He traveled into the desert. He climbed up Mount Sinai and there He lifted up His voice and castigated all the sinners of this world. Suppose He loudly condemned all the sinners who have made such a mess of the culture. Suppose He stood there for over three years and shouted out moral indictments to the entire fallen world. Then He ascended into heaven.

If that had happened then we all would have been included in that expression of moral outrage. And if perchance someone could have saved himself, then he would also imitate that Jesus by shouting out a similar moral outrage. But that is not what Jesus did.

Have you not read the gospel narratives of the Passion Week? How long has it been since you read how Jesus suffered for us? Have you moved on from that story and gone to fry bigger spiritual fish? Has the passion of our wonderful Lord become a lost doctrinal vision? Do you consider His sufferings a child’s story that has no bearing on the most important issues of today? When have you last seen yourself in those stripes, and in those punches, and in those thorns, and when have you last watched as YOU spit upon that lovely face?

Oh yes, it was all you and me. And tell me then, where is the moral pedestal upon which we can stand when we realize who we were before He found us? Why don’t you voice moral outrage about your role in His sufferings? Why don’t you express moral outrage because after He saved your soul, and after the Spirit of God came to live inside your being, you still sin? Where is your moral outrage over that shameful behavior?

Oh, I see. It is a matter of degrees and a matter of sin choices. Some sins are worse than others? Than I would guess the worst sin of all would be taking one bite of one piece of fruit since it was that sin that doomed the entire race. And in the light of that truth remember this: If you were Adam today, then any sin you commit today would doom the entire human race. As you go to work and do 27 mph in a 25 mph zone we are all doomed. As you look at a commercial and wish you had something - we are doomed! When you look at a scantily dressed woman - we are doomed. When you speak about someone negatively - again, doomed. When you think more highly of yourself than you should - doomed.

Yes, we have erected such a self righteous scaffolding and used it to pummel sinners and excuse ourselves. Grace has become a tenant of the faith rather than a living exhibition expressed through humility, gratefulness, and a passion to see others come into that grace. The same lips that are raised in worship on Sundays speak words of vitriol and condemnation throughout the week? It is a diabolical deception that is antithetical to all Jesus lived and taught.

In our world sinners contaminate the culture and become irritants to our way of life. In Christ’s kingdom sinners are to be called to Him. In our world certain sins carry more moral weight. In Christ’s kingdom all sins were addressed at the cross equally. In our world outrage directed at sinners magnifies the Judeo-Christian ethic. In Christ’s kingdom He is to be magnified. In our world we resist being seen with sinners. In Christ’s kingdom he embraces sinners and beckons them to believe in Him.

So go ahead and express your moral outrage. But if you do, please understand one thing. You are not preaching Christ, you are preaching Moses. And Moses cannot save anyone. How did God express His outrage over the sins of the world? He gave His only begotten Son. And when I think that God the Son suffered and bled and gave His life for me...well, that is an outrage.


lorena said...

It's always in the back of my mind, if you are gay and Jesus has saved you, you are born again, it must be difficult to sit amongst brethren who come out shouting derogatory remarks about gay people...or whispering it.

I say this because I've read remarks from christians who speak as though being gay is the worst sin possible and beyond all others. They come across hateful. Probably don't mean it that way but it makes me sometimes wonder if my own friends think that of me as they seem to agree with the comments.
Before God, all sin is vile. If it was not so we would only need a Saviour for certain sins.

Hopefully, I've explained this with a right heart, and realize my own short-comings.

May we all choose the cross. I wish we would quit rating sins. Thank you brother Rick for this much needed post.

Anonymous said...

Someone addicted to Islamic thinking can't suddenly become a Christian because they hear the good news.

They are enslaved. Their thinking is enslaved. God has to intervene and first give them a desire to learn about Him. They would need to be willing to be corrected and disciplined, then a new adventure exploring for Jesus would be possible.

Rick Frueh said...

You severely limit the power of the Spirit. Muslims have come to Christ after hearing the gospel for the very first time.

Anonymous said...

Lorena, Once someone who was a homosexual is born again, then they are no longer a homosexual!

They are a new, totally new, creation in Christ!

Anonymous said...

Praise our LORD. He delivered me out of a church where the pastor was corrupt and the leadership very hard handedly abusive!

Funny thing in the house of Christianity....the pastor/leadership can sin, sin, sin, all the while beating the lower laity over the head with doctrines they themselves do not, and cannot live by.

Double standards in church witness to no one, no, not one.

May God have mercy and grace for all of those who have come out of the harlot religious system set up by man. Alleluia!

Anonymous said...

I'm not ruling out that what you say is possible but without God'a gift of correction what you say is impossible.

Enslavement is enslavement and it normally takes years not minutes to be set from that!

Rick Frueh said...

Everyone who is redeemed still struggle with sin and temptations. Yes, they are still sinners regardless of the heterosexual self righteousness.

Anonymous said...

Enslavement is enslavement and it normally takes years not minutes to be set free from that!

Let's think a little more deeply what it means to enslaved to Satan. When someone is enslaved to Islamic thinking they have rejected the God of the Bible in favour the callous, unforgivng god of the Koran.

Such an appalling error of judgment can be overcome but it is no easy matter, for the level of deception is enormous.

A god who is cold hearted has been welcomed instead of the God of the Holy Bible who is compassionate.

To think that a person who rejects the fact that Jesus of Nazareth came from the presence of God can immediately believe that He is their Savior doesn't make any sense at all.

God can save someone who currently worships Allah but normally it's a long, long journey for them, as it is for everyone who is deeply entrenched in a sinful lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

I am assuming “Anonymous 1:55pm and 2:18pm is the same person. When Jesus healed someone did it take years for the process to complete? No, at the end of the verse it says “and they we made whole” or “their eyes were immediately opened” or “he stood up picked up his bed and walked”.

When the Holy Spirit convicts a heart to turn to the Savior it is the same way as I mentioned above. When they start reading or hearing the word of God it convicts them to repentance. And when they finally accept Jesus as their Savior, they are changed forever. John 6:37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.

When you mentioned “enslavement” I need to ask you can a servant be in service to two masters at once? We are either a slave to Jesus the Christ or we are a slave to the lusts of this earthy body. You cannot be both.

Paul said it best that it is a war between the Spirit and the flesh. It goes on every day, until we die or are taken up into heaven in our new bodies.

Do not try to justify enslavement as an excuse to commit sin.


Anonymous said...

An addendum to my post…Jesus sets the captive (enslaved) free!


Anonymous said...

An addendum to my post…Jesus doesn't always set the captive (enslaved) free!

Josef Sefton

Cherie c. said...

And the self-righteousness continues. Does only some of us feel the sting of conviction? And the rest? They are okay? From what I read, I think not.

Pastor Rick, your discourse is spot on. But most will not hear due to hard hearts and blinding self-righteousness. I was told this morning that I was "holier than thou" because I won't lie on a jury duty form or condemn gay people or rant and rave that some people in America cannot speak English. That God is not just on Sundays, but every second of every day He is on my heart and mind.

That I view my life as nothing. They find it hard to believe that my life with Christ to come is what I am living for. Holier than thou, LOLOLOL far from it. But I so wish it were true.

Lorena, you are so encouraging. And you are a dear sister in Christ. I want to keep my short comings before me so I do not get self-righteous, though sometimes I do, much to my shame. I must repent, and I do and I carry it around like a brick tied around me. I prefer it that way. Keeps me humble, at least i hope so.

It is amazing to see, hear and read people denigrate someone and they are said to be a loving person. While people who preach the Gospel are called haters because they don't denigrate. Hummmmmm.

Let us all remember it was man (male and female) who put Jesus on the cross. Past, present and future people. All of us, gay, straight, black, white, ALL HAVE SINNED AND HAVE FALLEN SHORT.



your sister in Christ Jesus

Anonymous said...

Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away
’Tis all that I can do.

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!



lorena said...

I just want to make something clearer. I am not for the 'gay' lifestyle. I don't 'practice' it, for the lack of a better word. I don't dwell on it.

I was trying to compare how one may feel amongst brethren who say some pretty mean things about gay people...especially if you are newly coming to Christ out of that lifestyle.

Even as I am a new creation in Christ, the remarks, and in one case, mocking still hurt, or agreeing with those remarks. I was wondering if my own friends who know think that of myself. That's all I meant.

Has a thought or two or three ever crossed my mind. Yes. Still, I have no desire to go back to that.
My desire is to follow my Saviour, Jesus Christ. That's all I want to do.

1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Amen, Anonymous 2:05 PM, Rick, and Cherie c.

Anonymous said...

We need to recall that Jesus is the Light of the World and that He blesses His children.
Romans 8:37 teaches us that we are more than conquerors in Him!

Let's be inspired by Caleb and Joshua who trusted the LORD to give them victory.

Let's emphasize that the victory-bringing LORD is with us!

Josef Sefton

Anonymous said...

Let's not overlook the Biblical teaching that the LORD requires brokenness and contrition.

The LORD isn't like a magician. He doesn't wave a wand and say you are immediately my child. That is a false teaching.

There is a drawing process. When someone is full of bitterness they can't be consistently loving. They need first of all to understand that how they are behaving is ungodly!

That for most people is a journey they refuse to undertake to the extent God requires to bring them to Christ. That's reality.

Why do so few come to Christ? Why do so few who have the opportunity to hear and read the Gospel come to Christ? The answer is that they are unwilling.

A trait of multitudes who are enslaved to Satan is that they are unwilling to be taught by the Author of Truth and they are unwilling to be guided by Him.

Let's try to understand that enslavement to false thinking is a serious problem. How else can we show the enslaved compassion?

Josef Sefton

Anonymous said...

Explorers for truth, are you desirous to take refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Are you fixing your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God?

Be encouraged, for no one will be condemned who takes refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you desirous to take refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Only when we surrender to Christ can we be restored and transformed.

Such surrender requires a brokenness on our part (Luke 9:23).
Unsaved man, are you willing to learn that your deepest need is to be reconciled to God?

Lord God Almighty, help us to take our eyes off ourselves and focus them on You. Only when we stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about what Jesus did for us can we begin to truly honor You.

Jesus was “broken” on the cross, and all who follow Him must be willing to be “broken” as well.

The result of such costly brokenness is truly beautiful.

Heavenly Father, thank You for teaching us that we need to surrender to You.

Josef Sefton

Anonymous said...

All to Jesus I surrender.
All to Him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him.
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all. I surrender all. All to Thee my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

Anonymous said...

Searchers for truth, are you aware of your need of internal, heartfelt contrition (See 1 Samuel 16:7)?

Do you realise that God desires brokenness over your own sin?

Start endeavoring to agree with God about how bad your sin is.

Desire to take the first step toward reconciliation with Him.
What should you do? You should s top trying to justify, excuse, or rationalize the evil of your own heart.

Stop saying that "your sin
isn't that bad." Stop saying that "compared to others, you're okay."

Stop saying "God has forgotten what you've done already.

Wake up to reality. You need to confess your sinning!

Dear readers, feeling remorse or regret, isn't a sufficient substitute for true repentance (see Hebrews 12:17).

God's word reminds us that the path to forgiveness is a broken heart and a humble spirit (See Matthew 5:3).

Throw yourself on the mercy of God, for He delights to lift broken and contrite sinners up (Luke 18:13-14).

What should you do? You should openly acknowledge your sin against God, desire to turn from it, and cry out for cleansing!

Pray the same prayer David prayed: “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight”.
May Almighty God bless you as you study His word very diligently.

Josef Sefton

Anonymous said...

In light of the comments about Muslims and Islamic thinking/enslavement, I'd like to direct you to an interview by Timothy C. Morgan with Dave Garrison on April 22, 2014 in Christianity Today titled "Why Muslims Are Becoming the Best Evangelists" in which "Missiologist Dave Garrison documents global surge in Muslims leading Muslims to Christ. He calls it, 'Unprecedented.'” The interview is available online. Here's a snippet:

A Muslim's direct encounter with the Bible seems crucial.

We've got to see how Muslims think. We need to orchestrate opportunities for discovery and to be there as a sounding board, but not a hammer, hammering the truth into them.

Muslims are like Baptists. I'm a Baptist. You can always tell a Baptist, but you can't tell him much. It's that way with Muslims. They don't like to be told they're wrong. They don't like to be told what the truth is, because they think they know it. But when they discover it themselves, just like a Baptist, they own it and they will die for it. When Muslims actually discover the truth, when they find Jesus, it just grips them and holds them.

Anonymous said...

When sinners owing to the LORD's gracious intervention discover the truth!

What you write applies for all sinners not just those who have worshipped a false god.
What is important to know is that deceived, defiant man can be saved but it isn't normally a five minute job!

Some such men have crossed the deadline but let's remember and focus on how loving Our LORD is!

Truly Jesus is risen!

Josef Sefton

Anonymous said...

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

What is certain is that God is love and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.

Dear readers, have you
tasted and seen that the Lord is good?

Can you witness wholeheartedly that blessed is the man who trusts in Him?
Be very encouraged for God, the God of the holy Bible, the only true God, shows Himself as a compassionate LORD.

He is motived by love and how wonderfully blessed is anyone who is blessed by Him. Truly that's when we flourish when we are blessed by Him.

We all do so very much need Him to be merciful to us - whether we are saved or unsaved!

Unsaved man, Lord Jesus is totally trustworthy. He is the teacher to heed, for when you heed Him you also heed the blessed Holy Spirit and Our heavenly Father.

What a gracious LORD we are blessed to be able to to trust and obey and truly treasure!

Reine Gnade