In my previous article I wrote of the importance of examining the state of our Christianity by the existence and truth of our love for Christ.
Here I would caution not only about our love for Christ being a reality but also the importance of our love being bestowed on the genuine and entire Christ.
It seems that many have fastened on a particular aspect of Christ and His ministry and excluded all else thus making a Christ of their own fashioning.
An example would be those who take the merciful and charitable aspect of Christ’s ministry and act on it and do good works in society without any regard to His work of Soul salvation.
Others take Christ’s ministry in a reforming and political sense. They work in politics to implement Christian principles and try to govern people in Christian ways.
They also ignore much of Christ’s saving work and message and fix on those parts of it which suit their own ends and purposes.
They may profess a great love for Christ and make great sacrifices and endure much suffering in His name and yet is it truly Jesus Christ as He really is or only as they perceive Him.
So my call to all who read this is to make sure it is truly the genuine Scriptural and living Christ that they are claiming to love.
How do we know the difference? First of all we must ask our self, is there a part of Christ’s work and mission that we are not interested in. Is there part of His work that we fail to emphasize? Is it not relevant to us or is it old fashioned or unpopular?
It is always dangerous to clothe our aspirations and socio-political ideas in religious garb and call it Christianity.
Not that we should be unconcerned for such things rather we come into a saving relationship with Christ and let Him govern and control our actions and make his glory our ultimate end . It is by hearing His whole scriptural word to us and following His example in all things and then serving Christ in our families in the Church and in the World.
Getting his own back!
Once C.H. Spurgeon, during a low emotional state attended a church service, where the sermon preached greatly helped him. The man who was temporarily filling the pulpit that day shamefacedly confessed that due to lack of time for preparation preached one of Spurgeon’s own sermons.
Spurgeon shaking the man’s hand effusively said he was not concerned who wrote the sermon but was thankful that it reminded him that although a great sinner he was still forgiven through Christ and loved by God.
The message we preached is not ours but from God who uses it according to His own blessed purposes. (Quoted from memory)
Christianity today has many authors and teachers prognosticating about prophecy and the end times, indeed it always has.
Blood and Super moons, Signs and wonders in the heavens and stirrings and conflicts in the Middle East.
They talk about the decline of the United States, the collapse of the economic system and our money becoming worthless, etc. etc.
Like astrologers they point to the conjunction of the stars and planetary alignments to foretell imminent ruin and great events.
They look at what is going on in the world, sniff the wind of spiritual trends and feel reassured in their doom-saying.
How much weight we place on these things predictions and attending details is problematical. The fact is this world is passing away and to know exactly when is not our primary problem.
While events in the world confirm scriptural prophecies and add a voice to the need to “flee from the wrath to come”, they are of less importance than the need for preaching and testifying to the message of Salvation.
To be solely absorbed with the intricacies of prophecy and the future is very often to be neglectful in our present duty.
To warn of the end of the world is subordinate to the Christian’s task as to warn about the peril of remaining lost in sin and the call to flee to Christ as Saviour and Lord…
True, the last trump shall sound, but even now there is a crying need for the trumpet sound of the gospel to be heard throughout the land.
On a high?
When you see people in a night club or rave party deafening themselves with loud music and jumping up and down frantically the question may be asked what are they seeking to accomplish or what are they escaping from?
Not content with this, they imbibe copious amounts of alcohol,or if even this is not enough, someone offers them a pill ,they take it and risk the consequences.
Whether it is trying to escape some aspect of life or reach some higher mental or emotional state, our society and young people in particular are bent on seeking exciting experiences and so called highs.
True some look for “natural highs” but many will try anything and everything to achieve them.
One of the side effects that flow from the domination of so called “Pentecostalism” and its theology, is that many Christians attend the worship services of the church with much the same expectation as these sensation seekers. They want an uplifting experience of one sort or another.
In John chapter six we have an incident recounted that speaks to this very situation.
We have here the aftermath of Christ’s feeding the five thousand.
We see many professed followers of Jesus walking away from Him.
These people had experienced some incredible things: they had been enraptured by Christ’s parables and witnessed miracles that astounded them. These erstwhile followers had partaken in the miraculous feeding of five thousand men and were even now seeking a repeat performance.
There was also the expectation that this prophet from Nazareth was the ONE, who once and for all would cast of all foreign domination and rule as Messiah.
It would be understandable if these “disciples” and sometime followers of Christ were riding on a wave of emotion and expectation.
Unfortunately the “cloud nine” that they were floating on, was about to burst and they were left to find another source of excitement and entertainment.
That Jesus spoke of himself as the Bread of Life and true source of Spiritual renewal and sustenance, was beyond their comprehension and ran contrary to the carnal expectations and desires they had of Him.They did not mind the thought of living forever but they baulked at the thought of feeding on this man ,prophet or not. This was a difficulty they could not get over and a teaching they could not accept.
They had come to Christ with certain wants and while these were met all was well, however when He spoke of the spiritual nature of His Work, it ran counter to all their hopes and conceptions so they departed grumbling and grousing.
Today many confuse the emotional with the Spiritual.
Today it seems that most of what is done in worship and taught by the Church is aimed no higher than to affect and stir the emotions of the people. It seeks to lift them up to a higher emotional state and then claim it as is the work of the Holy Spirit.
It is not that the emotions are not to be involved and appealed to, but to make them the primary end in all we do is no better than create a lot of emotional junkies seeking their next fix.
Human emotions even in the Christian are all over the place, up and down, high and low.
As in these departing disciples, they who love Christ one minute can walk away from Him the next.
To work on the emotions is not enough and unless subordinated to a truly Spiritual and divine work, will only leave us as it finds us and none the better.
Only the authentic work of the Holy Spirit will sustain and abide with the Christian regardless of their emotional state.
The Spirit’s work in the believer encompasses the whole person, mind and soul and does not require putting our brain into neutral.
Perhaps this explains why so many professing Christian are “burning and shining lights” on a Sunday morning but when it comes to actual Christian living and behavior, they prove spiritually bankrupt.
It is sad to see how many professing but not practicing Christians there are today.
They are high on the experience but the fruits and marks of the believer are not seen in their daily lives.
A religious experience that goes no further than an “emotional high” will not endure for very long; only the true work of the Holy Spirit will transform people’s lives and manifest itself in Christ-likeness in our lives, witness and dealings with others.