Saturday, July 04, 2009

# 280: “Let the Dead Bury Their Own Dead”

Jesus Christ said this to one of His disciples in Matthew 8:22: “But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’” The question I have is: Why did Jesus act so impatiently with him, and what was behind what He said?

It could be that the most important part of that verse was the two words “Follow me.” While Jesus was teaching His disciples, “follow me” actually meant to physically follow Him so that disciples could learn what He was teaching; in turn, they could eventually pass the gospel message to others. At the present, the term “follow me”’ means to follow/obey His teachings and all the implications connected to them. Those teachings are preserved in the New Testament for Christians to read, learn, memorize and obey.

Now as to why Jesus didn’t feel it was important enough to let this disciple go and bury his father . . . since that event must have been of great importance to the disciple, He was most likely implying that joining with people who are dead spiritually is a major distraction from the importance of teaching and being with those who are alive spiritually.

This advice/teaching is for us also. There are so many things in the world that are important to us yet distract us from our primary duty of being in the company of Christians, and getting others involved with Jesus Christ. Remember this: Our obligation as Christians is to live holy and obedient lives and to continue the work that Jesus started, with no exceptions. It is a disgrace to God, Jesus and to our Holy Bible to say that is not the case. Most people who call themselves Christians are concerned with their own spirituality and say to heck with the dead who are all around them.

Many people who think they are Christians may be dead because of not knowing and practicing what the New Testament teaches: topics that may not be mentioned in most, if not all, churches. That is the main reason for this blog: to disclose—as if they are hidden—the difficult functions of many of Jesus’ teachings, which will be obeyed by those who are serious about their religion.

There are many ways for us to know who is and who is not, to separate, at least in our minds, the dead from the living. Here is a strange thing: It is much more difficult to teach and convert those who claim to be Christians but are not than to teach and convert those who don’t believe anything about Jesus Christ.

One of the best ways to discern the difference between the real Christian and one who isn’t is by applying the teaching presented in 1st John 2:15-17. “ Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” Also, this is a Biblical truth that many will not accept: When people have, desire or live for things that bring worldly pleasures, it could be evidence of inside emptiness. A perfect example of what money and great wealth can never satisfy is Bernard Madoff, who was sentenced to 150 years in prison.

Even one of Christ’s dedicated disciples—who worked with the Apostle Paul in the Christian ministry—deserted Paul, because of his love for the world. 2nd Timothy 4:10. “. . . for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.”

I truly believe that love for the many things the world offers is the main reason why many people who claim to be Christians will never make the cut to eternal life; and they may be the last to know it on judgment day.

I am certain there are many varied definitions of what “love of the world” implies. As I have experienced in my youth and even later in life, what love of the world means is to get involved in pleasant activities that are offered by worldly people, or even by ourselves, who don’t know what genuine Christianity is all about. Doing these activities and getting so involved in these things distract us from having our minds on Christian matters. To those of us who are real Christians, the main thrust of our lives will be Jesus Christ and what He will have us do. To modify JFK’s most famous saying, “Ask not what God can do for you, rather ask what you can do for God.”

It is sad to say that many church-going Christians who are good all week long—who may even read the Bible, tithe and pray to God—will not be swayed by this teaching of abstaining from worldly pleasures. This command may be the most difficult command to obey. Some may ask: What is wrong with having a little worldly pleasure now and then?

Therefore, we can easily tell the difference between those who may or may not be dead from the activities they are involved in. Will their activities promote Christianity or not? I can just hear many bloggers bad-mouthing me at this time. They say, “The heck with your type of religion; I am going to continue to eat, drink and be merry.” Luke 12:19-21. “And I will say to myself, ‘You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded of you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”

Are you and I rich toward God, or could we be dead without knowing it? 1st Timothy 5:6. “But the widow [this also goes for the male gender] who lives for pleasure is dead even while she [he] lives.” Having and seeking pleasure is one of the most sought-after emotions in the Christian world. Isn’t it funny that Christmas, the holiest day of the year, is a time to eat, drink and be merry? How did it get this way? This is a perfect example of the way we live colliding with the teachings in Scripture.

What can Almighty God do to challenge this long-standing trend of sonic proportions concerning dead Christians who claim to be alive? This blog can only reach so many Christian bloggers. And even then, there are not many who will adhere to this idea that people who claim to be Christians are dead because they engage in worldly activities. I personally don’t have the answer. I will keep writing and living as the Word of God commands, and hopefully a few serious people will start removing worldly ways from their lives. It won’t be easy. But it is of great importance that we replace the time spent on worldly things with spiritual matters. It can’t be emphasized enough how important this subject is to having the approval of The Almighty. We certainly don’t want time on our hands with nothing to do. That would leave room for Satan to trick us, if he hasn’t already.

To tell you the truth, I think all the verses, and there are many, that speak adamantly on this topic are a waste of words for modern people who love to be entertained. But it couldn’t be any other way. One of the reasons for wanting the world to entertain us is because of all the technology we grew up with, which they didn’t have 2,000 years ago when Scripture was written.

That is where in the last several hundred years, organized religion slowly but surely molded Christianity to fit the desires of the masses. The clergy will pay the heaviest price for this deception of silence and trickery on the day of reckoning.

Here is a truth that most, if not all, church-going Christians have never heard: The single most important function in Christianity is to accept what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross: and save us from hell. That acceptance automatically made Him the Lord and Savior of our lives.

Once He is our Lord and Savior, then comes the difficult part: obedience to all that is commanded in the New Testament. Some denominations, for obvious reasons, don’t believe obedience is necessary. They believe that once a person accepts Jesus Christ as one’s Savior, there is nothing more a person can do to become more saved, thus throwing obedience out the window. They call it “Once saved, always saved.” Those churches that believe that way are as dead as doornails, the clergy along with the laity. In fact, 25 years ago or so, a Baptist preacher and friend of mine bluntly told me to my face: “Once saved, always saved.” My rebuttal was not accepted.

I believe the main reason that belief was started many years ago was to keep their parishioners from becoming discouraged, for various reasons, if they were unable to live as Scripture dictates (and then leave their church). That is why we now see so many Christians who are do-nothing Christians. They may be dead or dying, and the preachers are to blame. Therefore, when the occasion calls for it, it is easy to separate the dead from the living. Are you and I alive or dead? We must honestly answer this question.

In conclusion, if anyone has a Biblical challenge to this topic, please leave a comment, and if it has teeth, I will publish it on the main section of this post with my response, if it is needed. In fact, that goes for any post in this blog. If, by some chance, there are no responses, it will be assumed that everyone agrees with what the Bible teaches and that they are not on their way to hell with no brakes to stop the fall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Can you believe in a God and not the bible. And do good for the sake of it? I do.