It happened one night!

Neither Clark Gable or Claudette Colbert were overly rapt in appearing in the film or pleased with the result.clark_gable_and_claudette_colbert_in_it_happened_one_night_film_trailer

Yet upon its release in the height of the Depression, it struck a chord with the film going public and was after an indifferent reception by critics and some upper class movie goers, upon wider release to hometown movie houses became a box office smash.

So low was her expectation for the films reception, Claudette Colbert decided not to attend the Academy awards but when it was announced that she was winning the award she was dragged to the ceremony.

Clark Gable, as I said before thought very little of the film yet as it turned out, was to be the only film for which he was to be awarded an Academy award.

While I have always enjoyed this film my only regret is that even as early as 1934, marriage was held, at least in Hollywood, in such low esteem,  and was something you could go into lightly and get out of or annul almost at whim.

For many leading the church today, it seems that they feel that the plain unadorned preaching of God’s Word is not capable of reaching the people of this modern world for Christ.

Like these two famous actors they are not impressed with the script God has given them to use to accomplish His will.

The simple story of Christ’s atoning death for the sins of mankind and the reconciliation of an alienated God is perceived as lacking in public appeal and “bankability” at the “box office”.

The proclaiming and teaching of the need for man to turn in repentance from sin and place their faith in Christ accompanied by renunciation of self seeking and self will, would in their view “close the house down”.

So we continue to see trimming down of the script to terms which appeal to popular perceptions and sensibilities.

We see it padded up with promises of earthly bliss and prosperity and all reference to the intrinsic cost of following Christ is pared away from the proclamation of the gospel.

images-bible-preachThe message of the Gospel is what it is. It can neither be taken away from or added to, it is God’s script for the preaching of the church in all ages and it alone will accomplish His saving purposes for mankind and the glorifying of His name through Jesus Christ.imagesold-gospel

Torn down

Take a good look!!

Sadly this little house after a long period of dereliction is no more.2017-02-21_084013

No doubt it took a lot of work and an outlay of time and money to build it in the first place.

For many years it was somebody’s home but it was finally left empty and fell into dilapidation.

A few days ago an excavator went in and laid this little house flat and loaded its materials on to the back of a truck and carted away.

It is now in American terms “A vacant lot”.

If someone had come along and thought this house was worth renovating maybe they would have purchased it, re-built it and one day a family or individual would live in it again.

This did not happen because no one saw any value in this old house.

Because of man’s choosing sin over obedience, he fell into dilapidation and came under God’s righteous judgment and the due punishment of rebellion against his creator.

Yet in his mercy and  free grace , God has in Christ paid the price for our sin and called all men to come to Him in repentance and be cleansed and renewed and live in relationship with Him.

Let us not reject this gracious gospel call and turn away from so great a salvation because otherwise there is a worse fate awaiting us than becoming a vacant Lot.

The Day of the Lord

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” Malachi 4:4-6

It has often been said that while the Old Testament ends with a curse, the New Testament ends with a blessing.

This is true but the curse in Malachi 4:6 is a provisional one.

This portion of scripture always reminds me of a person who is running out of paper and is trying to cram into a few words, vital last minute instructions. The importance of the instruction is such that every word is given weight and driven home.

This message from God was to be the last in the Old Testament dispensation and it would be several hundred years before the nation of Israel would receive an authoritative message from God. In other words this message had to stay with them for a very long time.

Typical of the prophets of the Old Testament Malachi stood four square on what God had revealed by His prophets in the past.

From Moses onwards, the people of Israel were provided with the laws and teaching from God which He gave them to live by and maintain their relationship with Him. They were also to faithfully pass these commandments on to the next generation.

The primary role of the prophets of God was to unceasingly remind the people of God’s revealed will and exhort them to reform their behavior by putting away sin and idolatry and return to obedience.

This ministry is of no less importance today when error, false teaching and overall laxness are rife.

Although the Old Testament prophets primary role was that of “forth – telling” the Word of God they also had a role of “fore-telling” what God had purposed to do in the future.

Speaking in language well known and understandable by people familiar with the Old Testament, God promises to send Elijah as the forerunner for His own coming in awe and power.Indeed Jesus in Matthew 11:14 refers to this prophecy when referring to John the Baptist.

While some commentators apply this solely to the ministry of John the Baptist and the first coming of Christ, others telescope it to an appearance of Elijah before the Second Coming.

However this may be, there is no doubt that John the Baptist, although denying being a re-incarnation of this great prophet, had a ministry filled with similar power and Spirit. John’s work among the people stirred a reformation among the people and caused them to look at themselves and to correct what was wrong and displeasing to God in their lives.

No doubt many fathers and children were reconciled and relationships renewed.

The gospel may cause division among many but among true believers its ultimate effect is to unite and reconcile

The Day of the Lord is a recurring theme in Scripture and refers to the appearance of God in judgment of sinners and deliverance of the Godly.

The people’s response to this message of impending judgment would dictate how God would deal with them when He appeared.

God’s holds open the door of repentance for all who will enter in.

This reminds us that judgment is “God’s strange work”.

Unbelief and impenitence invite God’s punishment and it will be all the greater because sinners reject the mercy He so freely offers and tread underfoot the means of salvation He has revealed.

The Day of the Lord is in always imminent and we should all look to ourselves and our readiness to appear before Him.

We must also give warning to others about the danger of being found without Christ on that awesome and terrible day.

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It happened one night!

The Man after God’s own heart.

This refers to King David and the regard with which God held this remarkable yet often flawed and sinful man.

It prompts one to ask what was it that set this man apart from his peers and prompted God’s choosing him.

There were probably thousands of shepherds in Israel at this time, yet this young man was chosen by God to lead His people and foreshadow and be the progenitor “according to the flesh” of the true and eternal King and Messiah Jesus Christ.128069311

I can only  briefly point out some of the characteristics and traits by which David proved himself to be a man of faith and godliness and in these things worthy of our imitation. Indeed the life of David and the Psalms are worthy of prayerful study by us all.

I think some of the things which set David apart were that,

  • When others saw nothing but stars David saw the one who made the stars.
  • When he fed and watered his sheep , he was mindful and thankful to the one who provided  him a table in the wilderness.
  • When devoid of other comforts David sought and found comfort in God alone.
  • He knew that the God who had delivered him in the past , would deliver him now and and in the future.
  • He knew the reality of  God’s love and was motivated predominantly by love for God his Saviour.

No one would say David was perfect as he was sometimes caught out in cunning shifts and tempted to sinful courses.

When we look at  some of his afterlife ,we might wish that he had been left in his relative innocence with his flock and harp.

The great and noble things he did with his life were stained by the foolish, sinful and terrible things he did and the spiritual price he paid for them.

Sad to say ,how many of our lives even as professing Christians are in some degree like Davids?

We to have our highpoints and lowpoints.

We have times in our lives when our Christ-likeness and Christianity is there for all to see and yet at others we fall into sin, act unworthily and in despair, expect every day to perish “by the hands of Saul”.

How often is our obedience lacking?

How often does our faith fail us?

While it does not extenuate or excuse us, the reality is, it is God who makes the difference in our lives.

He takes people like David (and ourselves) and forms them into fit and useful instruments in His hands.

The life of David illustrates the contrasts which appear even in the godly person.

  1. He who fell foully into the sin which blighted his kingdom and family and that caused the name of God to be blasphemed was also he who, upon his repentance and restoration, prepared the materials for the building of the temple.
  2. He who pretended to be a lunatic in Gath was also he who penned many of the Psalms which believers have sung, been encouraged and treasured down through the ages.

It is God with us and our trust in Him that makes all the difference.These alone will carry us through the trials of life and make us victorious in the end.

The overall desire of David’s life was to love and obey the Lord his God.

It is such people that God chooses to use to fulfill His purposes.

As Christ made fisherman, “fishers of men”, God made a shepherd of sheep, a shepherd for Israel.

Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel.2 Samuel 7:8

He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; Psalm 78:70

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David the shepherd was a faint but true type of He who was the great Shepherd of the sheep.

A Shepherd’s life

Through a reading of Psalm 23 one could gain a very romantic view of the life of a shepherd in Bible times.

I know that the picture of David out with his sheep, harp in hand contemplating God’s heavens is a very pleasant one.

There is no doubt the life of a shepherd had its simple pleasures but it was not always an easy one indeed it had its perils, dangers and privations.

Jacob’s description of his past life paints the harsh side of a shepherd’s life;

“There I was: by day the heat consumed me, and the cold by night, and my sleep fled from my eyes.” Genesis 31: 40 N.K.J.V.

As well as being exposed to the elements, there was also the danger posed by predatory animals. Lions and bears were still present in Palestine in Bible times and when short of other food attacked flocks and people. (There were still bears in Lebanon and Syria until quite recently.)

David when setting forth his qualifications for facing the giant of Gath recounts his encounters with these two fearsome beasts.

There was also the danger from those who would steal the sheep, this would require constant alertness and vigilance as Christ alludes to in John Chapter 10.

In those days flocks were of a size so that a shepherd would know their sheep and the sheep knew the voice of their own shepherd.

Fodder and water for the sustaining of a flock was probably marginal in such a semi arid area so the shepherd would have to cover a large area to find sufficient to meet their needs; so he had to know where to find it

Isolation from family and little human contact must have been part of a shepherd’s lot, for David, it came to the stage that his own father almost forgot his existence.

Shepherd’s were often regarded with contempt and treated with disdain even his eldest brother dismissed him as good for no other purpose but tending a few sheep.

That David was enabled to flourish in such circumstances speaks clearly of his cheerful nature and strength of character, underpinned by an ability to see God and trust him in all circumstances.

David certainly developed self denial and was used to hardship but this more than balanced and enriched by the experience of the power of God in nature and his soul enraptured by God’s glorious handiwork in the starry realms.

It no doubt made his attendance of the temple and worship of the Lord more precious and joyous.

His desire for the presence of God in His chosen dwelling place is a constant theme in the Psalms and this hunger needs to be cultivated in us all.

One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.
Psalm 26:8

The champion of Israel!

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It is needless here to go into great detail of David’s encounter with Goliath.

It is enough to say that although Saul stood heads and shoulders above Israel in height, David stood head and shoulders above them by faith.

Of all the army of Israel only David had enough trust in the Lord to face this challenge to the people of God.

David’s sin and restoration

In later life his faith in God sustained him and by His grace restored him when he fell.

His sin of adultery with Bath Sheba and contriving the death of Uriah the Hittite left a permanent black mark over his whole life.

It was the great mercy and boundless grace of God that was the means of his restoration and renewal.

It is by this same mercy and through the cross of Christ that we, who are believers stand today as trophies of grace.

When smitten with pride, David, despite warnings, sinned by numbering of the people.

The judgment from God which resulted was a plague upon the kingdom. The people’s sufferings resulting from his sin brought the king back to his knees and his contrite prayer caused God to stay the destroying angels hand.

Grace victorious over Sinromans5-20_thumb

 

When David looked back over his life, he could only reflect on his lowly beginnings and glorify God’s great grace in lifting him up to such an exalted position.

Though he fell into sin, God never forsook him and  failed to bestow mercy upon him.

When he faced danger and death from enemies and even from his own son, God brought him through

One of David’s great character traits is his humilty and we see it in his response to God’s unfailing grace and love. David’s desire was not to exalt himself but constantly gave the glory to the one to whom glory belongs .

“16 Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD and said, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far? 17“This was a small thing in Your eyes, O God; but You have spoken of Your servant’s house for a great while to come, and have regarded me according to the standard of a man of high degree, O LORD God. 18“What more can David still say to You concerning the honor bestowed on Your servant? For You know Your servant. 19“O LORD, for Your servant’s sake, and according to Your own heart, You have wrought all this greatness, to make known all these great things.1 Chronicles 17:16-19

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He who had been faithful in tending a few sheep was by God’s great grace enabled and made worthy to shepherd God’s chosen people and typify Him who was the Good and Great Shepherd- King.

 

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Standing in the Breach.

No one reviewing the history of biblical Christianity and the Church can be ignorant of the recurring theme of God’s raising up in perilous times, specific people to confront the various enemies and errors facing it.

These giants of the faith, often standing alone, confronted and spoke against the prevailing errors and sins of the times.

They sought to wake the majority out of their dozy apathy and warned them of the spiritual dangers entrenched in their midst and encroaching from all sides.

In the Old Testament God raised up and anointed prophets, priests and even kings to lead in the fight against the world, the flesh and the devil.

In the New Testament we find Apostles, Evangelists and deacons carrying on the work of building up and casting down, teaching and correcting.

They proclaimed the gospel once delivered to the saints and worked ceaselessly to hack down the ivy of false doctrine and practice by which the instruments of Satan sought to stifle the church’s purity and faithfulness to God’s truth.

They sought by word and deed to maintain the glory of God’s name and proclaim his truth to people degenerated from the purity of His worship, doctrine and holy living.

The subsequent history of the Church continues this theme and is adorned by the emerging of certain figures who have stood against and opposed the false doctrine and intrusion into the church of worldly practices, nepotism and greed.

They sought as well, to wake the Church out of its apathy and parochial attitudes and restore it to its scriptural basis, holiness and missionary zeal.

Whether they are Reformers, Bible Teachers or Men (and women) of prayer, God, in every time and in every place and in every conceivable situation that faces His people, always has an arrow in his bow.

Some are mighty preachers who tear down the strongholds of sin and error; others work with the pen or (Word processor) to proclaim the truth of God which will outlive them and will bless generations to come.

Many work quietly and unknown but still belong to this glorious band of godly men and women, who stand in the breach against Satan’s assaults and foil his attempts to insinuate himself into the church through error, laxness and false teachers?

Yes they may be in the minority sometimes, yes they are often reviled and reproached by the majority: they may be called old fashioned and behind the times: they may be thought of as un-enlightened and bigoted yet they comfort themselves with the certainty of Christ’s eternal reward for obedience and faithfulness.

We can only pray that God will raise up many more such people today.

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The Man after God’s own heart.

“The idiots guide” to grow your” Church?

display_d4c4341e-c1bf-493e-b896-2215c9139aa9As many are currently pointing out, much of what goes on in the church today is simply a process of taking Christianity out of the context of salvation from sin, reconciliation with God and holy living and placing it into one of God simply waiting and calling for man to return to Him so that He can shower blessings upon the returning prodigal: hopefully making them better people in the process.

In many places this change of emphasis is having impressive results. The numbers attending some of these churches are in the multi thousands. Add to this, by making your church service as unlike a traditional worship service as you can you draw multitudes to attend it.

Nowadays all it takes is a satellite dish and a feed and you can plug into this revival and multiple sites can benefit from the upbeat and positive teaching of your favourite speaker.

The more conservative and less convinced church groups can pick up on elements of the teaching and the music and introduce them into their own program on a smaller scale and expect similar results.

As I have written before America is the capital in the writing of “How to” books or in this particular case if you like “The idiots guide to grow your Church”.

Australia has made its own contribution to this global trend and “franchised “its own brand of modern Christianity. (It is enough to make the very hills to sing and the planet to shake).

A saying often attributed to Napoleon is that “God favours of the big battalions”, in other words the larger your numbers, organization and the more clever your strategies, the more likely you are of success.

Let’s face it, the only business model the Apostle Paul could apply to Christianity was that of making tents and new times and the new thinking demand new methods.

In a World full of gimmicks it is not unnatural to find some in the church using them to; after all if the church is to survive it must move with the times and speak the language people understand. One motto that should be written in stone (if some had their way is that) “the church must be relevant”.

Although I have tried to do so, it seems “You cannot argue with success”. The only question is, being separated from historical Christianity and devoid of the preaching of the whole counsel of God, how long will this success last?

Ah! dear friends, one half of the emotions excited in our places of worship are of no more value than those excited at the theatre- Spurgeon

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The problem with following Christ is that the way He takes invariably leads to a cross.

It leads first of all to the foot of Christ’s own Cross upon which he atoned for our sin and satisfied our holy God.

Our Saviour showed here the sinfulness of sin and its abhorrent nature enslaving and enthralling sinful men and women.

Yet at the same time it shows the love of God, in taking the due penalty for our transgression and placing it upon his own dear Son while at the same clothing the believer with his own righteousness and enabling us, through His Son to enter the holiest of all, God’s very own presence.

Secondly in following Christ, we find a cross of our own; which we are called to take up and carry after Him.

By doing this we declare ourselves to have renounced sin and  self, turn our back on the world and walk in the way of holy and loving living by following His wonderful example and relying on His abundant grace through  His  indwelling Spirit.

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“The idiots guide” to grow your” Church?

Jesus: Worthy of great faith.

21 Jesus went away from there, and withdrew into the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” 23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting [a]at us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and began [b]to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 And He answered and said, “It is not [c]good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; [d]but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”Matthew 15:21-27

  • That Jesus who stooped to welcome and bless the children brought to Him, should have raised an objection to granting the request and responding to the plight of this Syro-phoenician woman is ,to a superficial reading of the passage ,incomprehensible
  • That Jesus who in the past, refused to conform to typical Jewish prejudices regarding Gentiles, should seem to fall back on them in this dire case is stranger still.syrophoenician-woman

The woman’s daughter was in the worst plight imaginable and it would take a very hard heart not to be moved to action by it. Yet here was the most compassionate man who ever existed, acting and speaking with typical Jewish exclusiveness and showing unwillingness to help.

The disciples re-acted accordingly and bade Jesus send the woman away because she was becoming a nuisance

  • Maybe this woman had caught Jesus at a bad time, perhaps in a time of weariness or despondency?
  • Or did Jesus have one persona for the nation of the Jews and quite another for the Heathen gentiles?
  • Did He have a “public face”, or was He in fact quite a different person away from the public gaze?

If Christ was any of these things it was a great departure from all that He showed Himself to be up to this point.

There was a lot more going on here than what appeared to the casual observer.

The answer Jesus gave to the woman’s plea for help gave little to encourage her and too many may have seemed rather hurtful in that He compared the gentiles to pets worthy only of scraps.

This woman however had no intention of being put off; she was not the sort who would be discouraged by difficulties placed in her path: her daughters need was such that only Jesus, the proven healer of all manner of diseases could help her and if it took humbling herself to the position of a beggar she would.

If she as a gentile and alien was of no more consideration than a dog, only worthy of scraps, she would recieve them and be thankful .

Like an apparently stern father that moves further away and bids his unsteady infant to come to him, Jesus had drawn out the faith of this woman for all to see and emulate.

28 Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once. Matthew 15:28

For all His disciples, then and now, with their small and deficient faith, Jesus objectifies the necessity and possibilities of great faith in the great Saviour and bids them believe and do likewise.

Christ demonstrates here, that though sometimes he seems far away and we may be conscious of our unworthiness, he is no less willing to save and help.

He also shows that it is only our lack of persistence in prayer and feeble faith that holds us back from growth in grace and victory over sin and fear.

We today, think of God merely as a cornucopia who gives instantly and on demand. If this were the case what need would there be for faith.

He departs from us that we may seek Him more diligently. He delays the answers to our prayers that we may pray more fervently and grow spiritually.

Had Jesus immediately ceded to this woman’s plea she would have been just one of the great numbers of nameless beneficiaries of his power and healing. Instead she is now an object lesson of the importance of powerful faith in the followers of Jesus.

Her short discomfort at Christ’s seeming refusal is repaid abundantly not only by the healing of her daughter but by the confirmation of her faith and its being placed in the one truly worthy of it.

God grant us like faith.

Nurture and Admonition

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

The Authorized has it “The nurture and admonition of the Lord”.

While this verse specifically refers to children of Christian parents it surely has a wider application to the attitude of God’s children to His teaching and discipline.

In the days of the Judges, “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes”, if ever an age could be described like this, it is this one in which we live.

This is not a very teachable age. People nowadays do not react well to correction or admonition. Not everyone is called upon to exercise these functions but for those who are it is certainly getting harder.

In the Church especially the function of pastor and teacher has, as it seems to me greatly diminished. What is worse is the teach- ability and correct- ability of the taught is at a very low level. The emphasis today is not so much teaching and equipping the followers of Christ to live holy lives but instead it is more about offering them purpose and fulfillment. These are not wrong but they are essentially man-centered and not God-centered.

Today we hear a great deal of the need to deal with negative thoughts and behaviours but very little about the need to mortify our remaining sin and practical Christian living in an otherwise Christ less world.

Due to the fact that much of the Bible and scriptural teaching is regarded as obsolete and outmoded, even by those who profess Christianity, today’s Christian is very likely to behave in some situations just like the non Christian. He is not being taught otherwise by the leaders who should be doing so.

The nominal Christian who is in an unhappy marriage is just as likely to file for a divorce as the non professor.

The person who regards the Bible as unclear or obsolete on some subjects will point to the rule of grace over law and the mercy and love of Christ as an excuse to engage in sinful practices and lifestyles and still be expected to be regarded as a Christian.

The corrective Bible teaching so necessary today is regarded as offensive and unpleasant so it is is foregone and neglected in the hope that God will by some other means convict the erring “believer” and correct him or her sooner or later.

It was here that the Apostle Paul pulled up the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians chapter 5 because they had neglected to deal with a blatant case of immorality in their midst. The church it seems was so intoxicated by their own seeming success that they saw no need to rock the boat give offense to the people who saw nothing wrong in this behaviour and knew no better.

Fortunately they heeded the Apostle and dealt with the situation and as 2 Corinthians shows the admonition had the desired effect and restored the offender to fellowship after their repentance.

One wonders what some of our modern churches would do in a like situation.

I fear there are many who would turn a blind eye and hope the wrongdoer would disappear from the scene and thus preserve the  peace and status quo.

Others would say that we are no longer bound by the dated ideas of morality espoused by scripture or the “puritan” kill joy disciplines of the past.

The line of thinking being that as long as the actions of the persons involved do not upset the moral sensibilities of society or intefere with the organization of the church, it is better to let it pass without too much fuss being made: “We all like a quiet life”.

The Church today does not see its role as teaching right from wrong on moral issues and indeed the “World” openly discourages it from doing so.

The pressure to allow greater latitude and laxness is not all coming from without but  much of it is now coming from within the christian church.

The pressure to tone down doctrine , discipline and correction is given impetus by the fear of congregations losing members, splitting the church or being sued by disgruntled former members for discrimination, vilification and emotional hurt.

As most churches today see themselves in a “business” model and paradigm they regard the teaching of doctrines unpleasing to modern man or inconvenient to some of the members , as bad for their bottom line.

The church’s faithfulness to God and His Word is of less consequence than the numbers and frequency of attendance as well as the healthiness of the offerings and bank accounts.

This is not a blanket condemnation but in many denominations and churches we cannot help but see the temptation to sacrifice Truth for expediency and faithfulness for growth and seeming success.

  • The fact is your average Christian is not being called to the discipleship and self denial that they would have been  in the past.
  • Right and wrong are treated as something the congregation should already know or left in “shades of grey”.
  • There is nothing hard and fast in the Church anymore.
  •  We desire harmony and look to give people a good experience from their church attendance rather leading them to Christ and true salvation and  discipleship.
  • The Church may indeed speak about Christ but it tends to blur the need for accepting His commands and yielding to His Lordship.

We need a return to an uncompromising proclamation of Christ and His Word regardless of what it does to our popularity or attendance.

Our aims in all we do must be God- centered and God-pleasing.

Otherwise regardless of our seeming success it will be found at last to be nothing more than “wood, hay and stubble’.

“Cause célèbre”

The cult of Celebrity is predominant in the thought and business practice of this current age.

The media, business and other organizations are adept at utilizing the drawing power of celebrities to further their various ends.

The church it seems is not unaffected by this phenomenon in that it seeks to further its cause and  validates its endeavors by pointing to the famous and successful people who profess Christianity and use them as role models and draw cards.

How valid this practice is I leave to the judgment of God.

The inference seems to be that “success” and Christianity go hand in hand.

I fear that sometimes this “success” has more to do with the benefits pertaining to this worldly life being enhanced and guaranteed by the mere fact of becoming a Christian.

for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come“. 1 Timothy 4:8

While it is true that the Christian has the promise of this life and the next, this seldom translates into an opulent lifestyle and freedom from earthly ills.

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What is does mean that the Christian is able to triumph in whatever circumstances he finds himself and despite appearances otherwise is  being blessed abundantly: yet he  looks chiefly to his heavenly reward at last.

While fame used as a tool in Christian witness may guarantee a hearing, it has the real danger of focusing and terminating people’s attention on the celebrated person themself, and not truly on the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have pointed in past articles to the action of John the Baptist when he came under scrutiny at the height of his”Fame” and notoriety.

He in his day, was widely known and had no shortage of  “Groupies” and could have ,if he had wished, pushed himself forward, yet rather than taking advantage of this celebrity to expand his own ministry , he pointed all the attention to “He” who was coming after himself, the One to whom the glory and adulation truly belonged.

The Apostle Paul could have laid claim a measure of fame and celebrity. His career as a persecutor of the church was widely known as was his unique conversion experience and subsequent labours.

When the need to speak of his past arose, the apostle makes very little of his own contribution or accomplishment but attributes it all to the power of Christ working in and through him.

The sinful world may place its admiration where it will; it has proven itself exceedingly fickle in the past and will continue to do so.It will set up and pull down those it admires at any given time.

We must not take our lead from them,rather we must

“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly”.John 7:24

The truth is most Christians will pass through this life unknown and nameless to the “fame intoxicated” masses.

Our end as believers, famous or not, is to point people to Christ and lose ourselves in the light of His glory.

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Jesus: Worthy of great faith.