Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Sleeping Church.

The Sleeping Church.

As I observe what is happening around us socially and politically, I see a culture that has abandoned God and has drifted into the high seas of moral relativism. My take on our culture is that we have lost our moorings, and our moral foundation has crumbled. It is a scary thing to be adrift without a sail. We as a society are drifting along the dark seas without a sail or compass.

How did we get here? And what are the consequences? As I read the first chapter of the book of Romans, three times the Apostle Paul uses the term "God gave them up." For any society or kingdom the road to destruction is always the same; ruin comes slowly and gradually. When society moves away from the rule of law, when society moves away from God as the sovereign King, that society starts a downward spiral and drift into the black hole of corruption.

From a theological perspective when God gives an individual or society over to their own ways it is an indictment of God's ultimate is the surest sign that God has turned His back and removed His restraining grace which allows for evil and depravity to run rampant.

How did we get to where we are at? That question can't be answered with one answer, but I’ll provide at least one answer that I believe is undeniable. The Church of Jesus Christ went to sleep, and as she was sleeping the Prince of the power of the air was busy doing his work.

While the Church was asleep, the ungodly, the secularist, the depraved mind of man was busy implementing his poisonous world view that has permeated all of our society. Whenever the Church of Jesus Christ pulls out of society and ceases to be light and salt there is left a moral vacuum which will always be filled with secular,  humanistic, and Godless thought.

It would be an interesting study to look at all of the reasons why the Church withdrew and became non-reactive to societal issues and ideologies. It would be an interesting study to look at how and why the church became in some respects relativistic and accommodating to the the point that there was not much difference between the church and the secular culture.

But I think that we can all agree to some extant that the church did withdraw from society in the early part of the twentieth-century, and the results have been devastating.

Whenever the Church starts to be  a voice again, and  starts to proclaim absolute truth again, she can then expect to be derided and told to go back inside the walls of her buildings...the culture says, "you can be a church just keep your religious stuff private...don't bring it out in the public square.

The answer must be that the  church wakes out of her slumber. The church must start to become what she was called to be: light, salt, ambassadors for Christ, healers, ministers of grace, and boldly proclaim the gospel to a dark and sinful culture.

Wherefore `he' saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall shine upon thee Ephesians 5:14.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Performance based Christianity.

Do you think Christians avoid Jesus? What I'm getting at is that rule keeping and legalism is not only practiced before salvation, but also after salvation. We know that our salvation is a work of God and most of us know Ephesians 2:8-9 by heart. We grew up hearing that text of Scripture from our Sunday School days and of course our Awana days.

But when it comes to our daily Christian living, we suddenly become rule keepers or legalistic. In the matter of our personal spiritual growth and maturing into Christlikeness ---we suppose that it is all up to us. We fall into the rut of performance based Christianity. We develop the mind set that says, "I can be right with God if I keep all the rules and do all the right things." Now, you tell me how that is different than how any other religion works? Is not this truly avoiding Jesus? We take our attention off the cross and we place our performance at the center of our lives--- the Christian life then becomes all about us and less about Jesus.

We get the Christian life all messed up. We start out coming humbly to the cross. Our sin is ever before us--- our cry is the same as the Publican in the Temple when he cried out, "God be merciful to me a sinner." And somewhere along the way, the Christian life becomes all about us, our performance, how much we are doing, and how well we are doing it-----and sad to say the Evangelical Church Culture feeds this insatiable appetite of the flesh---to be self focused, instead of Christ focused.

Michael Horton tells us that, "the pinpoint setting of the human heart is the religion of self-salvation. It really is an alluring religion for it feeds the pride of the human heart. It elevates man to a place of the devils and demons. It sets man on the throne, as he can now sit in judgement upon those who have not made the grade.

But God hates pride and legalism. The law keeper maintains that his/her ongoing relationship with God is based on his/her ability to do good. The law keeper can't be free. The bondage of the performance based Christian life leads to despair and darkness.

The good news is that the believer can live in grace, move in grace, and breath grace every day of his life. Grace sets us free, and Jesus came to set His people free. The famous line from William Temple is apropos, he says, " I like to remind myself and others that the only thing you contribute to your salvation and to your sanctification is the sin that makes them necessary."|

The follower of Christ loves His Lord. Sin to the follower of Christ is detestable, for he knows for sin his Savior died. Grace is never abused by the child of God who has tasted and experienced God's loving, merciful, and great salvation.

Christian, our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness---yes, we strive to put sin out of our lives, yes we pursue holiness, but we live in the truth that our acceptance by God is in Christ and not our performance.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Deviations we all got' Em!

         Deviations we all got' Em!

A deviation you say, what does that have to do with the price of eggs? Well, really nothing, but the other day my wife was telling me that at her place of employment which is in the pharmaceutical field a deviation in your work is a real big deal. Merriam Websters gives this definition for deviation: "an action, behavior, or condition that is different from what is usual or expected;" The Free Dictionary gives us this definition: "The act of deviating or turning aside, an abnormality; a departure."

OK, where are you going with this? It got me thinking about the Christian life, about my life, about how we humans live. Now you might be saying, man, this guy thinks too much! Hold on, let me make my point, and I promise it won't be long or philosophical.

In a very real sense before we came to Christ and before we were reconciled to God; when we were dead in our trespasses and sins our whole existence was a deviation. We were as sheep going astray (Isa. 53:6). We were constantly sinning which is the Greek word hamartia, and is rooted in the notion of missing the mark  (Rom.3:23).

God is a God of justice, perfection, and holiness; He will accept nothing other than perfection and a complete adherence to his laws and His statutes without one deviation.

I asked my wife what happens when you get a "deviation," she told me that you need to do a corrective action; laying out the steps as to how the deviation occurred and the steps taken so that the deviation will not be repeated again in the future.

As we look at our lives and see that we're really one big deviation, we are filled with praise that God the Father of all mercy and grace laid out a corrective action in order to deal with our messed-up lives. Now keep in mind our disobedience's to God can't be remedied  by our drawing up our own corrective action; no penance, no church attendance, no sacraments will do, no, only God's provision will cover the enormity of our sin of our missing the mark.

God's corrective action is found in Isaiah 53:6

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.

Notice the last clause of this verse, The LORD laid on Him the deviations of us all.

Oh what a savior, oh what a God who takes our sins, our missing the mark, our deviations and places them on His Son. The forgiven person is cleared of all offenses against a holy God, by what God has done in providing His corrective action plan…. The death, burial, and resurrection of  His Son.

The Renewing of the Mind

I've have written in the past on the life of the mind. I cannot stress enough the importance for the Christian to develop the life of ...