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"
I just found out that my Pastor who baptized me and married my wife and I is retiring. He has been with my church 19 years. I have known him since my early teenage years, which was over a decade ago. He has been much more than just a pastor to my wife and I and we will truly miss him after he leaves.
More importantly is our church's transition to find a new pastor. There is a big challenge ahead for us and especially for our deacons. I pray that God will provide the right person for us. Since my pastor has been there for such a long time, I have never gone through this process before.
I am filled with ambivalence because on one hand I am sad to see my pastor go, but on the other I am happy because he has been planning this for some time and wanted to retire from the full-time ministry and do something part-time. With his extensive background and knowledge God has provided him a part-time position with a seminary in North Carolina which is close to his hometown. This is exciting because with his vast experience he will be teaching future Christian pastors. He will join other great Christian men on the faculty such as Charles Ryrie.
I would like to ask for your prayers for my wife and I and our church during this time of transition.
I know most of us have exhausted the topic of free will verses election/predestination, but whenever the topic is discussed it seems that those who side with predestination are always on the defense. I think this is because it is natural for us to comprehend man choosing and God not choosing. However, the Bible is full of support for predestination. I am not saying that we do not have any free will, I actually lean towards a view that there is a balance between the two.
With that said, I found a verse in the gospel of John quite interesting and making me think less of the free will. Do you think it denounces free will?
"But as many receive Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
The purpose of this post is not to start another debate between free will and election, but rather interpret this text in John and give free will supporters the chance to provide scriptural support for their position.
According to this article, six states have adopted resolutions expressing an apology for their states historic role in slavery. Everyone (with the exception of white supremacists) would agree that slavery was an atrocity in our nation's history. But honesty, what is an apology coming from people that had nothing to do with it going to do. Furthermore, national black leaders not only applaud the gestures, but want more and when I say more I mean reparations to descendants.
What do you think?
Are these resolutions necessary?
Do you support reparations?