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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What Ever Happened to Putting Others First?

The committee assigned to reduce the deficit spending of our government has failed. The failure comes from their inability to agree on how it should be done. Each one of them knows that cutting anyone's expected benefits will be political suicide. Maybe some of them were willing to do so but I bet that most of them weren't.

Most people realize that our country cannot continue spending at its current level without raising taxes significantly. Most of them have agreed that the spending must be reduced. Some believe that the taxes must also be raised. The real problem is that each group of people believes that another group of people should bear the burden. Each is fine with the spending cuts and the raising of taxes if their areas are not cut nor are they taxed more. (There are a few exceptions.) Thus, entitlements and raising taxes on everyone is off the table. Thus, 99% want to tax the 1%. (This, too, is a type of bullying.) Everyone is happy as long as someone else pays the price of reducing the deficit.

Amazingly, even church members are in agreement with this. People are not opposed to sacrifice as long as someone else is doing the sacrificing. They love to hear the story of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross but fail to see need for any sacrifice they should make because of their faith. Therefore, they do not give sacrificially, serve sacrificially nor put others before themselves sacrificially.

One lady in a former church told (not "asked") a guy to get up from his seat because this is where she always sat. She did not care whether he was new to the church, knew the Lord or was simply there to explore the claims of Christ. Her comfort was more important than his.

I have found that everyone generally agrees with me on Christ's teaching of sacrifice but they do not want to put it into practice. They believe that being a Christian and church member provides benefits rather than sacrifice.

The Apostle Paul understood that no one can truly know Christ and claim all his benefits at the same time. He realized that you have to put all those things aside that should have provided privilege in order to know Him. He considered it a privilege to do so.

The early Chrisitans sold what they had and gave it to those in need. They understood what Jesus said in being sacrificial. They did so because their hearts were changed. Can anyone truly call himself a Christian without a changed heart? Doesn't Christianity require that others be placed first? Doesn't it say that the greatest is the servant of all?

Self sacrifice is such a distinct virtue that it makes the Christian stand out in our society. It says that we should come forward and say that we will sacrifice for others. Who else will do this? Who else understands that releasing things from your own control allows you to have what you really need?

What good is it that a man should own the world and lose his soul? What good will anything of this world be when we are with our Lord? What good is it now if we can't know our Lord because of these things?

The world says that sacrifice is fine as long as I am not the one sacrificing. Our faith in Christ says that sacrifice is simply following the example of our Lord.

I suppose that putting others first is just not in vogue for many Christians.

Philippians 3:8 (NIV) 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ

Matthew 20:25-28 (NIV)
25 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Acts 2:44-45 (NIV)
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

Matthew 16:26 (NIV)
26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

What do you think these verses mean?


Anthony Chia said...

The problem is that most of us engage in selective listening, we pay attention selectively, and we pay attention to those things we like to hear, but NOT those we find them hard to subscribe to.

Then, there are many people who think that the saying, “We do NOT necessarily, NOT do a thing, just because it is “difficult” to do.”, should be applied only in their career or businesses, but NOT in living out of our faith.

Of course, with increased preaching by the overly grace teachers of such misguided understanding of (a) no work is required, just basking in grace is the means and the end of the Christian faith, (b) Christians have the full mind of Christ, and do NOT need anyone to tell them or remind them or exhort them to do anything, purportedly, if one OUGHT or SHOULD, he should NOT even entertain such ideas, again purportedly that would be going down the slippery slope of works, as that would be man trying to do something, which such preachers argued there is no Man’s part in the Christian’s faith; apparently, you definitely would have received from the Holy Spirit if you needed to do anything, (c) Christ’s words of “my yoke is light” is being interpreted as “if what you do is “heavy” or “difficult”, it cannot be the thing you are to do (How to sacrifice, Ps Prentis; too difficult-lah!), (d) all the sins, including the future ones, of a Christian were already forgiven of him at his born-again moment; no need of any subsequent confession, repentance, and asking of forgiveness anymore {when you see such terms in Scripture, just say the text is referring to non-believers!} (Tell someone to vacate a pew seat, stumble someone, what’s the problem, all sins forgiven!), (e) just believe you are righteous, have the right standing, just believe who you are, the son of God, a prince, you know, and everything will fall in place, no need to “sweat” over right living or doing good works (apparently a son of God or prince does NOT need to “behave” or act like one! Or maybe they do, only the spoil-brat bit!); if you are required to do any of it (right living and good works and all), it will be automatic, if it is NOT automatic, just continue to bask in grace, (f) the love of God is supposed to have compelled me to do the right thing, if I have NOT done so, it is NOT my fault, it is God’s fault, since it is all His part, there is no Man’s part!, (g) what conscience, ignore it, the Holy Spirit does NOT work there! (h) Holy Spirit only convicts you of righteousness; for a believer, NEVER for your sins or potentially sinful scenario; if you sin, just tell the devil off, that you are still righteous! (Hello, he sins, and then all he is asked to do is to tell the devil off, claiming righteousness!) (i) a believer should NEVER feel guilty! and last but not least, (j) even what instructions, what commands, what laws, no more of those! (Is to love God and our neighbor NOT a command? Is to worship God NOT a command?)

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Anthony Chia said...

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Ps Prentis, previously, believers when they sin or they do NOT live rightly (right living), they feel guilty, and they ought to (godly sorrow leads to repentance), but with all these new teachings, conscience is thrown out of the window, and when conscience is ignored repeatedly, sensitivity of the heart is gone (we say the heart hardens). The works of the Holy Spirit is “hampered” as a result.

Many believers used to know there was something wrong with them; now, they are “brainwashed” to think there is nothing wrong with them; instead, they are taught the traditional institutional churches (ICs they called us) have been deceiving them (believers); their understanding has becomes they are required to do NOTHING about their life, just accept Jesus as their Savior, FULLSTOP. Nothing matters, and nothing should trouble, NOT even sins; of course, when it is ALL God’s part, and ALL sins, including future ones were already forgiven, they claim absolute freedom, “What liberation!” they say!

Attitude becomes: what sacrifice; only Jesus needed to sacrifice, so that I may have; it is all God’s part, so, there is no sacrifice required on my part! (This is true for entry into salvation, but NOT in following Jesus) We may say the Bible teaches sacrificial living; but to them, their grace teachers tell them they are just to bask in grace. “If I am to do anything sacrificial, it will come, either it is automatic or the Holy Spirit would have told me so, and so, if I don’t feel automatic about it, or I did NOT hear the Holy Spirit, I do nothing; well, that guy did it, that is his business, nothing to do with me; who knows, the Holy Spirit might have told him so, but not me; maybe He felt automatic about it, but NOT me. I just enjoy my grace from God; if God had wanted me to do anything, I would have known since I have the full mind of Christ!”

I speculate these might be how such misguided believers would answer you, for the verses you quoted:

Philippians 3:8 – I know Jesus is great; if God willed for the Apostle Paul to lose everything, it was Paul’s life, NOT mine, I did NOT hear from God to throw anything away, and so, I just enjoy them!

Matthew 20:25-28 – I never say I must be great or be first, and so it is NOT applicable for me to subscribe to this servanthood thing. I only needed to have faith, and live in grace and God will prosper me. Jer 29:11 said so, what; God has a good plan for me, NOT to harm but to prosper me! When God sees me, God does NOT see me but Jesus, my grace teacher tells me that; and so, since God is seeing Jesus, there is no need for me to be like Jesus! See, I do NOT need to imitate Jesus! Let those who want to be great or be first, to be servant-lo.

Acts 2:44-45 – It said “ALL”, if you can get all the believers to do the same, I will put in my share; as it is, so many have more than me, and that makes me having “needs” relative to them!

Matthew 16:26 – Does not apply to me, I am a believer, I have eternal life, forgiven of all sins, including future ones, can’t you see I cannot lose or forfeit my soul! I do NOT need to give anything in exchange for my soul, Jesus already paid for it with His life. Can’t you see the verse is talking to non-believers! This is how my grace teacher taught me how to interpret Scriptures!

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Anthony Chia said...

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Recently, I was quoted Mark 16:16 (words of Jesus) concerning the need to be water-baptised in order to be forgiven of sins and to have life, or more accurately, the brother insisted water-baptism is a MUST for forgiveness and salvation by quoting this verse. When I studied this verse, I realize there is another word linked to “be baptized”, ignored by most, if not all (and thus rendering every time, “baptized” as referring to water-baptism), and the word is “be overwhelmed” which can easily mean “be overcome/overpowered completely” or “won over”.

Mark 16:16 (NIV) –“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

Notice that the “but” did NOT include the baptism bit; one possible rendering is this: “Whoever believes and is won over/overwhelmed by that belief will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

In fact, if you look at the extended help text of the Strong’s Lexicon, you will find that the “overwhelmed” was referred to, to mean baptism of fire, as meaning being subjected (and successfully cleared through {implied, and inferred}) calamities/difficulties and the likes. Many of us say we believe but too many of us, have NOT been won over, and we are still undergoing the baptismal unto belief. We take some parts of the Word, and we struggle with other parts. The refusal of us to work on our unbelief, and it is made worst by those who teach all is needed, is just accepting Jesus as Savior, and just basking in grace, is one of the biggest problems of us all. If we do NOT believe and be won over concerning we have to follow the manufacturer’s handbook (the Bible) given by God (the manufacturer of Man), we are finding troubles for ourselves. I have asked this question, in one of my previous comments to one of your entry: If you are with your neighbor, and the Lord gives you a pie, what must you do? How do you love your neighbor as yourself?

Despite all said, I have NOT arrived; I am still undergoing the baptismal unto belief, but may we continue to encourage one another and press on.

PS: Concerning water-baptism, just to be clear, I am water-baptised, and my children are; and my stand which I believe is right, is that, most succinctly expressed, in 1 Pet 3:21, that water-baptism is our pledge or response (NIV footnote) of good conscience towards God; it is also our outward declaration of an inward heart state; and because it is commonly used in membership into a local church, it is also a sign of one committing to be part of the body of Christ. As far as it depends on you, do it – be water-baptised, for even Jesus as a man, went through it, NOT for forgiveness of sins, for He was sinless, but to fulfill all righteousness, exemplifying a man-heart condition pleasing unto the Father God.