We’re on the backside of December which means that we are on the last gasp of 2018. How did your year go? Did you have any goals for the year? How did that go? Have you made goals for 2019? If not, why not? If so, are you challenging yourself enough spiritually? It’s a good exercise to get alone with God and ponder these things.
Last night, I listened to a sermon at random from John MacArthur. Actually, it was a Q&A session. Here’s the link: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/70-44/bible-questions-and-answers-part-68 – My discussion here starts at about minute 47.
In it, he was asked about a recent interview with conservative, Orthodox Jew Ben Shapiro. In discussing that interview, he related some of the following. I will quote it the best I can from the audio.
Christianity is in dire trouble…Even true believers have in many ways seriously compromised the testimony of Christianity.
The church is always in trouble when it chases the culture and leaves its message behind.
Persecution drives out hypocrites….Persecution purifies the church….The more it would come to America, the more it would be purified.
The harder it is to be a Christian, the more likely it is to be able to identify the true Christian.
As long as Christianity has a kind of cultural popularity, it compromises.
(When asked by Shapiro if he is afraid he is going to alienate democrats) Look, my job is to alienate everyone. My job is to show them how they are alienated from Christ and call them….
That doesn’t sound very seeker-friendly, does it? Yet, it reminds me of another sermon, right after Jesus fed the 5,000. Do you remember that one? It was the one in which Jesus said HE was the bread of life. Remember? He said we must eat his flesh and drink his blood. Remember? What happened then?
John 6:60-66 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Sprit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
Did you catch that? Jesus purposely gave a sermon that drove hundreds and thousands away! On purpose! Then what did he do?
v. 67-71 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
He got rid of everyone – down to a handful of his loyal lieutenants. He even challenged them to leave as well.
Wow! That’s unheard of, isn’t it? But Jesus wasn’t the only one to do this. Paul wasn’t afraid, either.
Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Could John MacArthur be right? Is Christianity in dire trouble? Certainly, God knows who are his and who are not, but could it be that the church has become so ensnared in the culture that it is unwilling to proclaim hard truth? Could it be that the church is unwilling preach very harsh teachings to intentionally expose those who will follow at all cost and in doing so drive everyone else away? If we did that, would we find our church buildings empty? Could it be that we cannot allow ourselves to risk, financially, and drive people out lest we default on our massive debt and lose our church buildings? Could it be we find our worth in numbers and could not bear to see the crowds disappear? Are we willing to make a hard stand and risk all that the world offers, like Jesus and Paul? Or Joshua?
Joshua 24:14-15 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
I can’t but help think about Lauren Daigle. She couldn’t answer the question about whether or not homosexuality is a sin. Do our churches teach our congregations how to answer such a simple question as that – or do we avoid it because it would be controversial? Are we afraid of offending those outside our church buildings or those within? Or both?
Father, please help us. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers