Friday, June 15, 2007

# 205: To Seek and to Save

Many of us may not like to do some things which are beneficial because they are not easy to do; so, we make up excuses not to do them, to our detriment. In the same way, many of us refuse to eat foods which we don’t like which would give us better health; regardless, we still don’t eat them, to our disadvantage. Basically, the reason we act this way is because we are pleasure-seeking creatures.

That is the hard truth. But those of us who are aware of what our lazy human nature enjoys and the consequence of living in compliance to it, will not act according to its commands—the King James Bible calls our human nature “the flesh.” The reason being, our animal nature is sinful, mostly of the devil. It always seems to say, “I want it my way, regardless.” But to win over that powerful innate force is easier said than done. We must fight tooth and nail, to say the least, to free ourselves from the areas which are spiritually destructive.

We are extremely gullible (believe the lies) when it comes to what that nature says to us. It also entices us by saying, “If you do what I say, I will reward you with many pleasurable things. So don’t be hardheaded; all you have to do is to bow down and worship me; you won’t be sorry.”

Isn’t it remarkable that this is almost identical to how the devil was attempting to entice Jesus after He was done fasting in the desert for forty days? Luke 4:9. “‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’”

The point I am making is that our human nature, whose main interest is “survival of the fittest” is much more deceptive than most humans can imagine when it comes to what is best for us. Of course, for those not interested in spiritual matters, quite often that naughty nature is right on target for them.

I have heard it said numerous times in the past, and still hear it to this day. In fact, I heard it as I turned my TV to T.B.N. last night to watch what type of holy-bull type trash they are shoving out to naive people—that was on Joel Osteen’s 30-thousand member ministry. Joel mentioned the unconditional love of God. His audience must sometimes be thinking: “And it seems only logical that if Joel Osteen says God’s love is unconditional, who are we to say otherwise? He couldn’t have gathered that many followers on a lovely unbiblical lie.”

Please, if anyone can find even one verse in the Bible which says or even implies that God’s love is unconditional, leave a comment. God’s love is too great to be described in human words, but when it comes to the great love He has for His people, a word we can all understand is “conditional.” Yes, from Genesis to Revelation, His love is conditional. And that is something this blog has been publishing since post # 1: Our faith in Christ, coupled with our love for God, is displayed by our obedience to all the teachings/commands in the New Testament; the end result is works, deeds, and fruit, which are one in the same. Those conditions cannot be separated. Noncompliance to even one of these requirements, and a deadly heresy has been born for the pleasure- seeking, “christian naiveté.” Some may need to read this paragraph one more time because of the extra-long sentence, which I was unable to make shorter without diluting the thought.

But I can wholeheartedly understand why many churches continue to preach this deceptive unconditional message. It could be called “christianity made easy.” Some conniving preacher wouldn’t outright call it unconditional love, but would have ways to mealy-mouth (circumvent) it so the lie doesn’t look so unscriptural. The clergy knows that if they preach a message that rubs people the wrong way, regardless of whether it is the truth, their membership and revenue will start to diminish.

The only way Christianity can continue in its original form, as it was presented by Jesus Christ, is to live as He did and teach what He taught. It is that simple. But we must remember, as sincere as we may be, we will intuitively shy away from most things that are contrary to what our human nature dictates, because it loudly says, “Take live easy, eat, drink and be merry, while still getting as much as you can of whatever.” Another thing we must remember is that Jesus Christ turned the majority of the precious values of our human nature upside down.

Even though the Christian life is the most meaningful life in existence, because we are partners with the one who created us, and who knows better—but because of the resistance of our intuitive desires—that Godly life will be the most challenging in the world because we are being taught by Scripture to live in a way that is contrary to what is physically pleasurable. That didn’t fly in the first century to any degree, and still is the main theme in our pampered culture: “I want it fast; it must feel good and be effort-free.”

Now anyone with even a little bit of divine wisdom can see why the Catholic church has survived for almost 2,000 years. I don’t often use derogatory words in the few times I mention it, because I think most everyone knows it is the most un-Christlike of all Christian denominations because it does not agree with the New Testament, except in trivial matters. But not everyone knows that. It takes absolutely no effort to be a Catholic. So, if they or Evangelical churches, etc. promise heaven—which they do—as genuine Christianity does, what would be the first choice of the majority of gullible people? You guessed it correctly: the one which sounds the closest to what our “take-it-nice-and-easy” human nature agrees with.

Now, to continue where I left off several paragraphs ago . . . The work of Christ was to seek and to save what was lost. Repeating what was written a short while ago, the only way Christianity can continue in its original form, as it was presented by Jesus Christ, is to live the way He did and teach what He taught.

Each one of us has a different gift or manifestation of the Spirit. We all are part of the body of Christ; one person has this gift and another has that one. And yet, while each one has a different gift, we all have the same common goal. In whatever way the Lord leads us, we are all to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ; and His footsteps lead us to seek and to save the lost. There are very few legitimate excuses not to follow in His footsteps. That is the mission or bottom line for hopefully every born-again Christian.

That is what we don’t see in most Christian denominations. The lives of most churchgoers are centered around going to heaven (to save their own skin, as it were). The main event in the lives of many Christians is going to church on Sunday morning. Does anyone truly believe that was what Jesus had planned for us? If the Spirit of Christ is in us, there are no limits as to what God can do through us when we actively are continuing His work. If you and I don’t do it, who will? We can make a difference in the lives of a few, possibly many, people. Repeating, that is the work, fruit and deeds Christ left for us to accomplish. He doesn’t command us to do His work to get saved, but as evidence that our faith expresses itself through our love for God and neighbor. Those works also signify that we are obedient to His commands. We can’t love God and be obedient to Christ’s commands without making a great effort to get out into the world and start touching people with our love and truth of the complete gospel.

In ending, the reason we don’t see this all-important part of the gospel active in the lives of many people who call themselves Christians is because it is not regularly preached from the pulpit. The clergy, without saying it outright, imply that it is their duty to seek and save the lost; or that it is the responsibilities of special missionaries, etc. That is what we are made to believe. That type of implication has had grievous consequences for all concerned. 1st Corinthians 15:58. “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Are this verse and others like it just a friendly suggestion or a command? Be very careful how you answer this all-important question.


Jay said...

Hi Al

It is great that most of what you post is right on the money. I have to say, you do have the right understanding of what being a follower of Christ is and what He expects from us. We differ on just a few things that you have posted on in the past.
When reading this one, and the one on joy and peace, and post 202,“Increase our Faith“
The Holy Spirit was really moving in those weeks you posted, because the message at the church I attend the preacher was saying almost the same thing. So this leads me to think I am a very lucky person to be in one of the few churches in our country that is preaching the truth. When was the last time you went searching for a church that preached the truth? I am almost positive that there are many more preachers out there doing the will of God and preaching the truth.I think you are missing out on one of the blessing God gives us from attending a place to worship together and a place to learn from one another.

I will leave you with one of my favorite scriptures: Philippians 4:8-9
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I use to lean heavily on the first part of this scripture (and still do)Good advise from our Lord. But God gave me a better understanding from verse 9.If we learn, receive and put into practice. The God of peace is with us. What more could we want. With Brotherly Love,

JC said...

Jay, thanks for your comment. I wish I was as fortunate as you. I would literally give my right arm to find a group of genuine Christians whose belief was even close to what the New Testament teaches. althinker