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Tough Love

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 4 comments

Since I have begun blogging about a little over a year now, I am constantly hearing others call each other divisive, dividing and other things to that nature. After looking at Jesus' examples I am wondering if Jesus would be called such things today? The seeker-sensitive churches want to appease the unbelievers and not say anything that may offend them. I will look at a few passages to examine what Jesus says about following him.

Matthew 10:34-38 (34) "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. (35) For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law'; (36) and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.' (37) He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. (38) And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me."

Now I am not misinterpreting this verse and saying Jesus' purpose is to bring strife in the family. After all he is called the "Prince of Peace" in Isaiah 9:6. This is more of a warning that you must put God before everything including family. A similar warning is given in 2 Corinthians 6:14. If anyone has members of their family who do not believe then they know how difficult it can be.

Luke 9:23-26 (23)"Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. (24) For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. (25) For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (26) For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels."

There are many verses were Jesus explains asceticism or self-denial (i.e. Luke 9:59-62). This is the complete opposite of what we hear today. Everything now is centered on man and man's needs. Self-denial and submission to God are rarely talked about because people especially unbelievers don't want to hear this.

Mark 10:17-22 (17) "Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" (18) So Jesus said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. (19) You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not bear false witness,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and your mother.' " (20) And he answered and said to Him, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth." (21) Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me." (22) But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions."

This is a perfect example of Jesus witnessing. The immediately made him recognize his own sin. The man obviously lied and did not admit his sin. Jesus then exposed that he was lying because we see his true heart by him not letting go of his possessions. Isn't the tenth commandment regarding coveting?

Luke 14: 26-30 (26)"If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. (27) And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. (28) For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it-- (29) lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, (30) saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish."

We must count the cost of following Jesus. How many times have we seen people backslide or just never really committed? Just as we plan for other things we must realize what is required when we follow Christ. Seeker-sensitive churches often do not give the details of what is required and then deception sinks in and people end up uncommitted.

Why do I right this stuff? Am I divisive or just mean? Neither, there are a few verses that really frightens me.

Matthew 7:21-23 (21)"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (22) Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' (23) And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'

Matthew 7:13-14 (13)"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. (14) Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

There are many thinking they are going to heaven and they are wrong. How does this happen?

2 Timothy 4:3 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers."

2 Timothy 3:2-4 (2)"For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (3) unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, (4) traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God"

4 comments: to “ Tough Love so far...

  • MikeT June 25, 2008 at 9:29 AM
     

    Standing up for the truth can be divisive. In fact, that sort of thing is probably what gets under the skin of many people more than anything else. Remember the fights over whether or not we all worship the same God?

  • Geppy June 25, 2008 at 5:54 PM
     

    Craig,

    Maybe those of us who are trying to instill love and forgiveness into the discussion are not communicating well enough. And I would add that the communication I have given on divisiveness mean within the body of believers; non-christians are not included in the discussion.

    As an example of how things go in a group of believers that insist that everyone agrees with what each of them thinks is the correct interpretation of Scripture - just go read the last year or two of communication at Christianity Unplugged. Seeing the fruit of this mindset is a much better explanation than trying to explain it.

    Until you've been thru it, you just won't ever understand. And you have to recognize the difference in a discussion between believers and non-believers and just a discussion between believers. They are completely different scenarios.

  • layneh June 26, 2008 at 11:06 AM
     

    "there are a few verses that really frightens me." Why are you frightened? Are you worried you will be a part of those not accepted into heaven?

    I agree with this post, however I believe by speaking in such extremities is wrong. The assumption that "seeker-sensitive" churches only care about numbers is very wrong. The idea that a new believer isnt a true beleiver because they accepted the call at a "seeker-sensitive" church is foolishness. We are no longer children, we must learn to feed ourselves.

  • Craig June 26, 2008 at 2:08 PM
     

    Layne,

    I am not worried for myself, but just as you said, I am worried about the seeker-sensative churches for that reason you mention. Not everyone in a seeker-sensative is lost. That is not my claim, but it is harder to determine because as you said we must feed ourselves and according to the verse I provided about counting the cost, in my opinion that is not clear in seeker-sensitive churches.

    My issue is that an incomplete or waterdown message may mislead people to think they are going to heaven, but aren't. This is what frightens me because they are harder to notice rather than someone who openly disbelieves.

    I am not specifically pointing out anyone or any church in particular, just a general theme.

 
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