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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Did You Love?

I have seen viciousness for the sake of theology. I have heard people say that they can't become a staff member of my church because we don't have the right theology. They have been warned that coming here will hinder their ability to go to a larger church someday. Evidently church-hopping is not as egregious as our poor "theology."

I used to think that having the "proper" theology was most important. I even thought there were certain Bible translations which labeled the reader as uncommitted to the Lord. I thought it was all about who I associated with and what we were doing to keep the Bible pure. I didn't realize that the Bible really didn't need my help. I also didn't realize that even though theology is important it will not be the crucial question given to me on the day I stand before my Lord's judgement.

Many Christians fail to remember that we shall stand before the judgement  seat of Christ. This will not concern salvation. Our names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life if we have trusted Jesus as Savior. That's like a light switch. It is either on or off. No, this judgement concerns how we have lived with others. The question isn't whether or not we are forgiven but whether or not we have been obedient. This is why it is necesary for believers to confess their sins even though they are forgiven for salvation's sake. Our own unfaithfulness in living the Christian life needs correction. Thus, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1: 9)

The question that I will be asked before the judgement seat of Christ will not be whether or not I had the proper theology. It won't be which Bible translation I used. It won't be who I associated with nor how big my church was. No, the question will be, "Did you love?"

Do I love the Lord God (who includes the Son and Holy Spirit) with all of my heart, soul and mind? Did I love Him so that I put all other things aside because of that love? Did I love others so that I brought them to this love of God? Did I care for them to the point of laying down my life?

Someday, if Jesus doesn't return first, I will take my last breath. My heart will stop beating. I will enter eternity. I will have no other opportunity to improve my obedience to my Lord. I will stand before His judgement seat. My life will be known. Then, I will really know the impact of the words, "Did you love?"

I want to be faithful to those words now.

Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV) 37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."


Em said...

A moving post. We have to love people the way He loves people. I have even prayed, when I was having trouble loving someone, for God to give me His love for that person. And suddenly, I would see them in a new way. And loving them makes it so much easier to forgive them.

We are all in this boat together. We can't let each other die.

Anonymous said...

By now, I think it is obvious; I am one of those who speak out against erroneous theology of faith. I am always aware that we should NOT major on the minor, but major only on the major or what I call core tenets of the faith.

Is there or is there NOT, a need for strong believers, and that would include (properly grounded) pastors and preachers, and Christian leaders to speak out on so-called erroneous core teachings of the faith? Or is it, it is to be viewed and handled exactly the same way as what is commonplace in the view-system of the world - you do your things, and I do my things; you think you are right, you teach your stuff, I think I am right, I teach my stuff; who is right or who is better, let the people judge, and people will judge with feet; if I have a big followings, I must be right, or the stuff I dish out is the acceptable stuff; you, if you only manage a few listeners, maybe you should just follow me!

Or is it really a case of God can take care of His Word, “why do you want to be bothered with these things?” Well, God could have delivered the Israelites from the slavery in Egypt by Himself, but He did NOT; He used Moses, and his team; God could have defeated by Himself, all the enemies of the children of God (Israelites), but He did NOT; he used various people, including such as Samson, Joshua, etc; God could have spoken to the people direct all the time; but He often did NOT; He used prophets like Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc, etc. Be careful to push everything back to God; sure God is all powerful, all able, but He has chosen right from the beginnings of Man, to involve men. Across time, we could see from Scripture that God assigned and held various people, regardless, they being individuals, group of people or nation, accountable to Him, for what He assigned. For example, the Levites were assigned things to do and take care of, whether or NOT they cared or NOT, did anyhow, or did NOT do at all, or thought they could get away with it, God held them accountable.

Pastors, preachers, and teachers of the Word, and I include myself, watch it! Are we NOT on assignments from the Lord? Why are you still a pastor, preacher or teacher of the Word, why don’t you tell in God’s face, “I am NOT doing your thing, for, if it is your thing, you could do it, yourself”. It is always the case - that there is a part we play, and there is a part that God plays; and we do our part, and do it well, and we rest on that. The attitude is NEVER that we SIMPLY fall back on “God can take care of everything”! Yes, we should NOT be restless, but when it is time to be godly indignant, then we are to be, just that! Examples are in Scripture, even Jesus illustrated it Himself. Of course, it calls for self-control on our part; but believers or Christians are NEVER to ignore the righteousness and justice of God. It is NOT wise to simply say, “God can take of His own Word”, just as it is NOT wise, to tell in God’s face, “Why don’t you do it yourself, get the people saved, instead of me having to preach the gospel!”


Anonymous said...

Cont. from above

If we lament that the Kingdom of God is NOT invading the Kingdom of the world fast enough, well, too many people (and more are being added daily, from listening to skewed teachings), are nonchalant about God’s righteousness and justice. If we don’t take the gates, somebody will! If we see injustice taking place, we are NOT going to do anything about it, when injustice hits us, what right do we have, to petition?! “Let people live the ways they like, freedom(?)”; is that so? If we don’t care about our town or community, we have only ourselves to blame, when our community becomes the haunt of drug pushers, sexual immorality, etc; all with spiritual consequences. How did the BenjaminTribe nearly entirely get wiped out? It was because they failed to influence properly in the city they were in. Bad teachings on the core tenets of the faith is like the yeast Scripture talked about; we may think nothing of it, after sometimes, it works through the entire thing, and we will have a problem on hand. Scripture does NOT warn about the wolf in sheepskin for no good reason.

Do we love when we speak against, or labour to dilute, the impact of false or skewed teachings? I believe few actually do this out of self-righteousness; people might have done it, with ulterior impure motives, but often case, it is NOT because of their self-righteousness. Those with pure motive do it, because of only one reason - it is the Word of God. We do it, we don’t get paid for it. We do it, NOT because a new church with populous ideology has sprung up in our turf. We do it, NOT because, some people could turn out to become our flock. We do it, NOT to get well-known. We do it, NOT to win votes of men or for political office. We do it for the unknown men in some remote place, somewhere in Africa, for example, who cannot possibly come to be in any way beneficial to us, say, in Singapore. We do it, so that people are alerted to the possibility of incorrect teaching (today, it is better, but it used to be, for a certain topic, you search the internet, all you get is all from one skewed or even erroneous teaching). We do it, because it is the Word of God. We do it, because we love God, and so, love His Word. We do it, because we love our fellow men, so that they read of and hear of, the correct word of God.

But aren’t you attacking the preachers or teachers; where is the love? First, we, or at least I, don’t quarrel (I follow the exhortation of Paul; by the way, Paul exhorted stand against false teachings; see his directives to Timothy). We counter material wrong teachings, NOT the persons per se. But it is true, I won’t NOT admit him to preach over my church’s pulpit. Actually, even for these preachers or teachers, it is NOT we do NOT love you; actually we do, for our intention is NOT only that the “error” is pointed to others, it is also that we would be most thankful to God, for you; if you, too, are humble enough to receive correction; we all should be and have to be, humble to receive corrections/instructions of the faith.

I do speak to people about this subject, and often times, 2 kinds of answer return: One, “it is NOT my fight”. I can accept that, for example, you don’t want to contribute to the faith writings on the internet to balance out the “false voices”, but you got to check your motive. If you really cannot find the time, I can buy that; but it better NOT be, “that chap, that chap in Africa, he got nothing to do with our church in Singapore, for example; can’t be my flock-what, and so, a waste of time!”

The second one is this, “Aha! Just agree to differ-lah, and then life will just go on!” Jesus did NOT do that with the Pharisees and the Sadducees, why should we! There is a limit as to how far we should go along with this, “let’s close rank!” Next, we also close rank with cults! Next, we also close rank with followers of other gods! Finally, are we to be nonchalant, and just adopt the attitude, “same-same-lah”?


Anonymous said...

Cont. from above

I hope it is clear that those, including me, who speak against false core theology and doctrines of the Christian faith, out of pure motive, labour in love, for love, of God, of God’s Word, and for our neighbor; you there, in Africa, you are my neighbor, too.

Pastors and teachers of the Word got to ask themselves, is there no other role for them apart from speaking basic salvation message to the non-believers? Yes, it is indeed, to be, and it better be, it is for our love for our neighbor, non-believing ones, that we do what we do - letting them know the message of the Cross. But is that all there is, for the pastors or the preachers? Pastors, especially, why are you in the local church? Aren’t you speaking to the believers mostly and almost all of the time? If your role is to be solely speaking to the non-believers, why are you in there, you should be out there! The non-believers are NOT in there, in your church (only a few, literally one or two, at each service!), they, the non-believers, are out there. So, please if you do NOT know yet, you are to feed Jesus’ sheep. That was what Jesus told Peter, 3 times, “If you love me, feed my sheep”. Are you and I going to tell God, “But, they are saved already-what?” Pastors and teachers of the Word, it is plain, “If you don’t feed your sheep, someone else will. If you don’t tell them certain food is no good, they will feed on it!” For me, if I may be audacious, “Do you NOT love the Lord; if you do, do you feed them properly; do you care what they feed on? Do you NOT love the sheep, your neighbor, in fact, your charge; if you do, do you NOT point out poisonous food, so that they don’t take it?”

If you are a pastor or a teacher of the Word, you will be asked on That Day, “I have assigned to you my sheep, your DIRECT neighbors; have you loved ME? Did you feed my sheep? Did you care enough what they eat? I told you, even when one of them stray, I will go after that one. Poisonous grass around, but what have you done about that, as an under-shepherd for me, for loving them? What would I have done?” Are you going to reply the Lord, “But, Lord, they were all saved already-what; that was why they were in the church; right?”?

I imagine the conversation for a sheep from the above flock, when it comes to his turn; Maybe, the Lord will say this, “Now, you, too, did nothing concerning the same issue, for your neighbors!” The sheep replies, “But, monkeys see, monkeys do, Lord; I see my pastor/teacher couldn’t be bothered, so I thought I do the same; after-all, they were Christians”. Maybe, the Lord will say this, “No, you are your brothers’ keeper. You did NOT do any of it, you did NOT even give of your time to speak to one or two of them, even though I brought them to you.”

Despite it being unglamorous, when known publicly, to speak against erroneous core teachings, it is still love in action. Is it NOT so, when you help the physically poor and needy or the emotionally downtrodden fellows, and people come to know about such good works, they are full of praise, but when you speak against the teachings of some popular preachers, you only get negative comments. Yet, I insist I still love when it is difficult to love. But of course, we should NOT be paranoid about this; and goes full-time “kicking ass”, so to speak; lest we become a Pharisee or a Sadducee, and we ourselves, become distasteful to the Lord. I speak against false teachings, and I also engage myself in other good works, and other form of loving God and people; and I suggest others do the same, so that we are NOT enticed away; engaging ourselves in other good works and forms of loving God and people, helps to keep us humble.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions