It is human nature to seek the easy way out of a situation.
- The time and effort it takes to fix something is too much trouble so we discard it and get a new one
- The proper way of fulfilling a task or of building something enduring is too costly and time consuming so we cut corners and do it on the cheap and hope the completed work lasts long enough for us get away with our shoddy efforts.
- We know that it is environmentally responsible to recycle yet the time and effort required to sort things is too much trouble so we throw them in the bin instead.
- We have a personalty conflict with another person but instead of resolving it we avoid and shun them.
I wonder how much of this sort of thinking is going on among Christians and in the Church today.
We want to bring people into the congregation and hopefully to Christ, but because there is so much in the Bible and the traditional preaching of the evangelical Church which is offensive and distasteful to non believers we prove unwilling to jeopardize our desired results by proclaiming these unpopular doctrines and commandments from God’s Word.
So we file them away somewhere until our new members are able to accept them.
There are also parts in the Bible which the modern intellectual finds incredible and contradictory to modern scientific thought, so we avoid dealing with them and say they are merely accommodations to the beliefs and scientific Knowledge of those times.
They are often attributed to traditions and myths which are taken from elsewhere and used by the scripture writers to teach moral lessons not intending them to be taken literally.
We note that these redactors offer not a shred of evidence to support their claims.
So as a result of this “doctoring” and “Tweaking”, we find that the gospel of today is whittled down to a simple call to follow Christ and join the church without any call to repentance, obedience to God in Christ and reformation of life and without any great need to heed much of what the Bible teaches.
If ever a time comes when the Bible is boldly and faithfully preached in a lot of churches, we can only imagine the feathers that will be ruffled and the numbers that would walk out in disgust.
In the past the Church spoke out about the prevalent evils in the world but since to confront these things nowadays would turn people outside the church off coming, we bite our tongues and assume a guilty silence.
The old fashioned preaching of the Bible as the Word of God in the worship of the church is too tedious for the dwindling attention span of our modern society so we pare it down to the bare essentials and subordinate it to a lively, if rather vacuous praise and worship time and major on style over substance in all we do in the church.
Our result driven church is more concerned with numbers, attendances and incomes than obedience to God and His Word.
As I always say the gospel we hear today is the modern equivalent of white bread over whole meal. It may keep you alive but has nowhere near the nutritional value of the preaching of the Whole “counsel of God”.
Worse still this “staff of life” that we are expected to masticate is plumped out with the sawdust of unscriptural teaching and paradigms: To use Hal Lindsey’s term sometimes “there is poison in the popcorn”.
While this varies from Denomination to denomination and church to church yet the temptation for a church in decline to change in order to survive is overwhelming and perilous for those with a low view of scripture and God’s power added to a desire for self preservation at any cost.
Every believer with real desire to hear God’s truth and obey His commands needs the spiritual equivalent to a sieve to separate the wheat from the chaff in what they hear today. They need a sound knowledge of what the Bible truly teaches and hold to it regardless of the ire it raises among many professed churches and believers.
While we can afford to differ on things of less consequence we must not yield to the modern tendency to avoid the things in the gospel which are offensive to sinful man. We must not “toe the party line” when it contradicts what God has shown us in His Word.
Fight or Fly?
Naturalists tell us that many animals have a built in “fight or fly” instinct”.
The Christian must do both. They must fly to Christ and carry on the fight – of faith.
The Measure of a man.
It is said that the best men are men at best. This is especially true of the Christian.
- We are to be followers of others only so far as they follow Christ.
- We do not measure Christ by His followers but His followers by Christ.
- All our measuring of ourselves and others will fall far short when compared to the full measure of Christ.
Supplication for all.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way”. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
In our troubled and turbulent times it is easy for the Christian to give over praying for those holding positions of authority in the world.
We often participate in the polarization of our society and regard some politicians and leaders as beyond the pale because we dislike them and abhor their policies.
This text reminds us that standing behind all human government stands the government of God. While much in our society runs counter and is destructive to the church and people of God, His will and power will prevail in the end.
We should pray for the amendment of bad government and leadership.
We must also give thanks for the authority which gives some order and helps keep the peace although in many ways they rule in ways not to our liking.
We are also called to pray that those who lead us may themselves, be lead to a saving knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ .
It would be really nice to be able to avoid criticism in what I write but in comparing the scriptural portrayal of Christianity to its modern profession, one cannot help being surprised by the difference.
In nothing does the modern Church and Christian fall down more than in their attitude to sin and of the need for repentance and reformation.
While in times past many went to the other extreme and mulled and brooded over their own sinfulness, today we have gone to the other extreme in that it is regarded as a return to legalism to have any sense of personal sinfulness and sorrow for it.
The modern Christian looks at the Cross and assumes forgiveness and thinks nothing more of it. There is very little of the behavior of the repentant tax collector among us today.
13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”Luke 18:13-14
There is very little in the teaching of some of our churches which tries to correct this attitude and superficial dealing with man’s sinfulness. In fact everything is done to minimize the sinfulness of sin by calling it by other names and making the sinner a victim instead of a culprit.
In our desire to free people from guilt and despair we avoid to close an examination of all those things in our lives that make us fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23) and liable to His just condemnation.
Surely the truth is when a person does wrong they should feel guilty, they should pull themselves up and take themselves to task. They should be taught that sin is no trivial thing and should always be a cause for sorrow and repentance, and the seeking of forgiveness and restoration.
If there is any call for repentance in the church today, it is regarded by many as an initial experience in the Christian life and a once for all event.
Repentance is not meritorious and in no way procures our Salvation; rather it is by the exercise of faith taking hold of the Saviour, Jesus Christ. Yet the idea of Salvation and a Saviour naturally leads to the reality of something we are being saved from. Repentance is the natural consequence of our understanding the grievous nature of our sin and the terrible price that was paid for its remedy.
Jesus does save from Hell and eternal death, (although these too is getting hazy for many among us), but it is Sin, our sin that makes us liable to these terrible consequences.
Sin is terrible because it makes us rebels against the Great and Holy God whom we have sin against.
Only the Son of God Himself could atone and make satisfaction to God for our sin. It was an infinite cost that was paid for its atonement by the unspotted, holy and sinless Lamb of God who in His own body took away our sin.
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”1 Peter 2:23
As John Macarthur wrote “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners! Jesus specifically said He had not come to save those who want to exonerate themselves (Mark 2:17). Where there is no recognition of sin and guilt, when the conscience has been abused into silence, there can be no salvation, no sanctification, and therefore no real emancipation from sin’s ruthless power.” The Vanishing Conscience pp. 31-34.
Also as J. C. Ryle said, “Christ is never fully valued, until sin is clearly seen” (Expository Thoughts on the Gospels [Baker], on Luke 20:9-19, p. 326).