It may be simplistic to say but many of the questions we have regarding the truth and genuineness of our Christianity can be resolved by the answer we give to this question.
When we doubt the truth of our conversion or the reality of our faith: If we feel we have been mislead or sold short in our expectations of the Christian life and want to give it all up: When we are disillusioned or disgruntled with other believers or the church itself, either local or generally: We need to take stock and do a reality check.
(Though they are interlinked I would for the moment separate the truth and genuineness of our faith in Christ from our church attendance and membership.)
When we feel the ground of belief slipping out from beneath us and doubt the veracity of our faith, we should ask ourselves; do we love the Lord Jesus Christ? Did we ever truly love Him?
Not merely the saying of the words and nominally professing a sort of Christianity; I mean a sincere devotion and attachment to our Saviour.
Our love for Christ is a concomitant or naturally accompanying result of faith in Him and trusting in Him for Salvation. Indeed we truly love Him because He first loved us.
If we can bring ourselves to walk away from such a Saviour, it says that any love we pretended for Him in the past must be regarded as suspect.
If however, we see in ourselves a genuine love for the Lord Jesus Christ then it must outflow and work in certain ways.
Jesus said “If you love me keep my commandments “John 14:15.
True love to Christ is shown in obedience to His commands. It is also shown in following his example, in self sacrifice and seeking first the kingdom of God.
If we are contemplating walking away from Christ and the profession of Christianity we may well ask ourselves whether we ever believed or loved Him at all.
Those who do not love the Lord Jesus are pronounced to be “accursed” 1 Corinthians 16:22. For any such, we can only pray they would look again and seek the reality of faith in Christ and the opening of their eyes to His loveliness and their great need for His saving grace.
If we love Christ we will love all those who love Him in sincerity and this despite our many differences and flaws and the wrongs they may have done us.
We would also seek to bring others to Jesus Christ and His saving love.
I have spoken before of the problem and difficulties of finding a fellowship of true believers. I will only say here that for anyone; for any reason, who finds themselves isolated from the body of Christ and can quite happily exist in solitude, must question if their love for Christ is of the right kind.
A true Believer cannot but bewail the lack of fellowship with other Christians and attendance on the means of grace.
It must be a matter of vital importance to seek for these things even if when we find them they are not all they could be.
I have repeatedly pointed out, there are many who tout Christianity as the cure-all for all that ails us. Yet as it mostly proves, the Christian seldom has an easy time of it indeed the believer suffers much that the world and the unbelieving sinner knows nothing of.
So if we feel we have been sold a pig in a poke we must realize that there is a real cost to following Christ and a cross for every Christian to bear.
The blessed promise is that He is always near to support and comfort and Christ has walked this path before us.
For any person who professed Christianity to walk away from Christ is a terrible thing and has dire consequences.
We may discover that we were empty professors, frauds and hypocrites. We may have fallen foully into sin and brought shame to the name of Christ. Yet to turn our back on the only one who can save us, to turn a deaf ear to Christ’s call for repentance and offers of mercy is greater folly and more sinful still.
Repent and Believe the Gospel, if you never truly believed it before
May God grant that you can come to the point where you can say with Peter “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”John 21: 17c
If we are to judge by the lifestyle of some of the tele-evangelists, the money you can make from the proclamation of some brands and modifications of the gospel is substantial.
Large mansions, private jets and fleets of flash cars seem to be the reward of a job well done; it may be the only reward some of these people will ever receive.
The re-styling of the gospel proclamation in terms of demographics, gimmicks, programs and manifestations is the natural consequence of paying more attention to worldly marketing and less to the Word of God.
It is a travesty that preaching the Word and evangelism is being replaced by “pyramid selling”.
Those at the top of the pyramid reap the majority of the dividends and those lower down wait for their promised return.
The Apostle Paul is clear that those who preach the gospel should live by the gospel and be financially supported by those who benefit by it. Yet how different a spirit we see today in the unbridled covetousness for the things of this world and the twisting of Bible truth used to further it.
We are lead by the Word to expect a Christ-like Spirit in those who teach and lead us. Though they remain fallible and liable to temptation they are still to be proved “worthy of their hire”.
Yet they and we are constantly warned not to be given up to covetousness. To seek primarily the riches and pleasures of this world runs contrary to the seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, which Christ commands and calls us.
The only difference in the proclamation of God’s message in the New Testament from that of the Old, is that now it is embodied for us in the Lord Jesus Christ and faith in His name.
God’s Sovreignty in Evangelism
Iain Murray in his” Life of A.W. Pink “(Banner of Truth) quotes an incident from Pink’s early ministry while in the U.S.A. . . A man came to Pink and told Him that he had become a Christian through a message Pink had preached the previous evening. Pink was taken a-back at this as there was nothing particularly evangelistic in the message he had delivered.
The message was about the glory of God and His worthiness of praise and exaltation.
Enquiring further of the man, he told Pink that he had never before in his life truly praised and glorified God and what a terrible sinner he must be.
Pink draws the conclusion from this that God is totally sovereign in which texts of Scripture He uses to bring people to Himself.
God honours the preaching of His Word. We honour Him by preaching it faithfully and fully and not being ashamed of its message.