Think about IT: Christianity without Truth or Love

Christianity without truth is not Christianity, and Christianity without love misrepresents Christ to both Christians and the lost world.

Two of the greatest threats to Christianity are lies and loveless disciples. I am not referring to the lies told about Christianity by the enemies of Christ or the world, but rather the lies spoken by those who don the title Christian.

Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6), and the Holy Spirit guides us into truth by teaching us the Truth of Scripture (John 17:17). If we as Christians expect to walk with Christ, and influence the world for Christ, we must speak truth in the significant and public areas as well as the mundane and private areas (Eph 4:15). For reasons unique to each, I have found the challenge of each of these to be impossible apart from living in the presence of Christ (Eph 5: 1-2, 18).

The world’s hatred of the followers of Christ will never destroy the work or testimony of the church, for this was well predicted (John15:18-19). Rather, it is the spirit of hate, jealousy, bitterness, revenge, immoralities, and divisiveness, all of which emanate from the carnal mind and unrestrained flesh that destroys the work of the church (1 Cor 3:3; Gal 5: 19-21). For such prohibits the world from seeing Christ in His people (1 Pet 2: 21-23). The world not only needs to hear the truth about Christ; they desperately need to see the truth of Christ in changed lives.

Our enemy’s greatest endeavors to destroy the work of Christ in and through us is by God’s grace an extraordinary opportunity to show Christ most movingly.

“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” Matthew 5:44.

 

Think About IT: The Losses of Trusting Christ

Salvation is free, but the life of faith can be costly indeed!

The history of Christianity is one of untold sacrifice by countless followers of Christ. They have given their lives in the darkest parts of the globe to share the gospel, stood and spoken the truth in love in loveless times, carried the burdens of others so that others may know Christ, and given time, money, talents, and security to be used in advancing the kingdom.

We are the beneficiaries of a myriad of Christians who lived their lives so that others might benefit. Their focus was on what they could do by the power of Christ for others.

In tragic contrast today, a growing number of those who claim to be followers of Christ are intently eager to evaluate how much God loves them by how much He gives them.

We should ask, are we any better than Christians who preceded us, more valuable to God or more righteous or more deserving? No, a thousand times no! We are called, just as Christ called them, to live so that others might know Christ.

“And others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect” Hebrews 11:36–40.

Think About IT: Confronting the Sins of Others

Many years ago, a man told me that if I ever needed someone to go to a person in the church who was in sin, he was more than willing to go. He said, “that type of situation does not bother me; I do not mind having to rebuke a brother for his sin.”

He may have thought it strange that I never called on him, but it is really not so strange. I would rather call on someone who finds dealing with a brother in sin difficult and quite humbling. It seems to me that not being bothered by such a task is an immediate disqualifier.

Anyone can rebuke a Christian for his or her sin, but it takes a mature spiritual Christian to give a godly rebuke with a heart for restoration. A true heart for the restoration of a brother includes a willingness to be intimately involved in the process and a keen awareness of our own propensity to be overtaken by sin.

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” Galatians 6:1.

Think About IT: Unity without Unity

We dare not confuse divine unity with organizational unity.

Christians are one in Christ, which does not require the existence of organizational unity (John 17: 11, 22-22). The mere reality of different churches or even denominations is not necessarily demonstrative of disunity. This is because our unity is not derived from an organization but our relationship to Christ, the head of the church (Eph. 5:23). Continue reading →

Does Prayer Changes Things or NOT?

Some believe that prayer is in the final analysis, praying what God has already determined that you would pray (Calvinism). However, a simple, not a simplistic, reading of Scripture makes palpably clear that while God has predetermined many things, He sovereignly chose not to predetermine everything, but to incorporate the prayers of His people into the contingent outcome. Continue reading →

Think About IT: Marriage Is Only Heterosexual

God instituted marriage (Gen 1: 21-25) to eliminate solitude (Gen 2:18), and for the only proper relationship for sexual intimacy and procreation (Gen 1:28; 1 Cor 7: 1-5).

According to Scripture, there simply is no such thing as homosexual marriage, and Christians should avoid speaking as if there is. Speaking of homosexual marriage does not legitimize homosexual relationships; rather, it vulgarizes the term marriage. If marriage were other than a heterosexual relationship, marriage would not exist because humans would not exist.

“Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” Ephesians 5:22–25.

The Nature of Spiritual Warfare

If Scripture teaches anything about spiritual warfare, it is this; the more faithful you are to God and the more God uses you, the more Satan seeks to destroy your relationship with God, the work of God through you, and you.

It seems that the reality of God’s provision to enable us to withstand Satan’s attacks implies that if we do not use them, we will not be able to faithfully follow Christ and be used to God’s full potential for us to advance the kingdom (Eph :10-18). If this is not the case, then the provision of God seems to be optional and extraneous, which I for one contend that it is not.

Even worse, the end of Satan defeating us personally is that we not only fail to be used by God, but we become an instrument of Satan against the kingdom of God. We can find ourselves talking of God with family and loved ones, and yet, our very lives are Satan’s instrument to undermine our words and thereby hurt the ones we love the most.

We are not smart enough nor strong enough on our own. Seeking to fight our spiritual adversaries in human strength is to demonstrate that we are already defeated by having such a thought. If I think that I do not need filled with the Holy Spirit, the mind of Christ through the Scripture, and praying always, it is not that Satan may defeat me, but rather, such thinking is the evidence that I am already defeated. I have retreated to the foxhole of human ability, which is merely a spiritual grave.

“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

 

Think About IT: Meanness—Not So Difficult

We need no divine empowerment to be harsh.

It seems to me that we do not need the power of Christ in our lives to treat others hurtfully, unkindly, or dismissively. Christians seem to possess natural resources sufficient for the task of insensitivity. Of course, even carnal Christians are wise enough to masquerade such strictness as a righteous refusal to compromise, but it is actually a walk in the flesh.

It is the ability to express genuine godly and sacrificial love, longsuffering, graciousness, compassion, and gentle understanding that requires the Holy Spirit. Human righteousness is devoid of biblical love and grace. Biblical grace, righteousness, and strength flow from the Holy Spirit.

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” Galatians 5:19–23.

Godly Zeal: Maybe?

Zeal is not the test of godliness, nor can zeal make one godlier.

Zealousness can even be a detriment to godliness if one’s definition of godliness is derived from the intensity of one’s zeal rather than the clear teaching of Scripture. Frequently we find people who claim to be Christian, and may very well be, zealous about what they believe to be the true priority or expression of the Christian faith.

They often have some scriptures to bolster their defense that their way is the way. But one’s level of zeal is not the determiner of whether something is a legitimate representation of the Christian faith, and this even when the cause is noble.

Godliness drawn from and defined by Scripture should define our zeal, but zeal can never define godliness.

“For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge” Romans 10:2.

 

The Choice of Humility

Since we are not God, everyone will be humbled.

There are three kinds of humility in the Scripture. First is a false humility, which is fashionably demonstrated by the Pharisees of the gospels as well as their contemporary protégés. Second is a forced humility, which is the lot of all who choose to exalt themselves and follow their own lead. Third is a chosen humility, which is the radiance of Christ as seen in His humbling Himself to die for our ghoulish sins.

These may be seen in order in the following scriptures. We should avoid at all cost the first, and unfortunately expect the second because we are fallen humans; however, if we seek chosen humility, we will honor God and diminish the frequency of even the second.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence” Matthew 23:25.

“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” Matthew 23:12.

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” Philippians 2:5–8.