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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Will You Please Save the World for Me?

I watched a documentary the other night about people installing wind turbines on their farms to produced electricity. Their neighbors, who seemed to be conscientious about the environment, objected because of the noise or the view or some other trumped up reasons. They didn't deny that they wanted to stop our dependency upon oil for energy but they just didn't want it in their neighborhood.

That reminded me of people who said that they weren't bigots but were opposed to black people moving into their neighborhood because their own property values would plummet. I really believe these people thought they weren't bigots but their actions proved that they were.

The people who want to save the environment as long as its in someone else's neighborhood don't care enough about the environment to say they want to save the environment. They are hypocrites of the first order.

Great endeavors require sacrifice. Is that so hard to understand? Becoming the Savior of the world required the ultimate sacrifice. Saving the environment will take some sacrifice. It may be your view or that you have to listen to the swish of the turbines or that there might be some mishaps along the way like the spilling of chemicals or some other imperfection to the solution. However, those imperfections are a part of the sacrifice that must be made.

People are always willing to let someone else do what they should be doing. Isn't that how politicians get the votes? They tell the people that their votes will mean that the politician will do all the heavy lifting for them to have a better life. They are very convincing because they continue to get the votes even though the politicians do not tell how they produced an apparent results. They have cut holes in the pockets of their constituents so that the money just falls right out into the politicians hands. The best politicians rob Peter to pay Paul without Peter ever recognizing that he has been robbed.

Then people come to church with this same expectation. They want to see the church win souls but they don't want to share Christ with their neighbors. They would rather have an evangelism program that they can attend for ten weeks which assigns them to visit unknown people rather than making a real sacrifice by showing their neighbors love. Love is always a sacrifice. It requires actions which are often inconvenient. It speaks much louder than preaching. But preaching costs less.

I am amazed at people who claim that the reason they hired the staff at the church was to get Sunday School teachers for their children. They neither want to serve nor ask someone to serve. They want to absolve themselves of all responsibility while saying that they want children to be taught. They want to see people come to Christ but will not take the time or effort to attend baptism services. They want to the world to be saved without any effort on their part.

Do they have faith? Not in the sense that James would say they have faith. They want to believe that they believe but do not really believe.

So, do you believe or are you expecting someone else to save the world for you?

James 2:20-24 (ESV) 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. 24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.


Anonymous said...

James 2:20-24, do you preach that or will you preach that, in your church? Nowadays, it seems many would avoid that passage like it is leprous. Thumbs up to Ps Prentis for expounding this.

Today, I read over the internet, an overly grace preacher's article on Matt 7:21-23, the text that talks about those who call Jesus, "Lord, Lord", but Jesus said they would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and ONLY those who do the will of the Father God would make it. This "famous" preacher said the text was only referring to those who would call Jesus, "Lord, Lord" and NOT addressing any other people!  

Apparently, this preacher does not believe when one accepts Jesus as his Saviour, there is an implicit personal acknowledgment of Lordship of Jesus.  In other words, he was saying he believed the Lord Jesus was his personal Saviour but he was not going to hold Jesus as his Lord! If you believe like he believes, you would not be calling Jesus, "Lord" or "Lord, Lord".  This is a ridiculous premise to start with, in the first place.  

He then went on to say that of those (apparently, NOT him) who call Jesus, "Lord, Lord", some would not be admitted, and these would be those who do not do the will of the Father God, AND the will of the Father God is nothing other than you believe Jesus can and will grant you everlasting life (once you accepted Him as your Saviour)!  In other words, the whole text is once again being reduced to, to get to Heaven, all you need is to believe Jesus can and will get you there, there is nothing else to do or observe.  On-going obeying God is not in that will of the Father God, Great Commission is not, too.  Apparently, loving God, and loving your neighbours, suddenly disappear, too!  

He then went on to say who are likely to be these "Lord, Lord" people - pastors, ministry workers, evangelists, all those who do much works, like sharing the gospel, ministering to people, even with signs and wonders and miracles, and with various gifts of God! He argued that all these people are at great risk, for (he assumed) they depend not, solely on the belief that Jesus can and will grant them everlasting life.

Now, what have such a preacher just taught? 1) Jesus is your Saviour; He is the Lord Jesus, but is NOT your Lord! 2) Lordship is NOT needed, you need only to believe Jesus can and will grant you everlasting life, once you accepted Him as your Saviour! 3) The will of God is simply and solely that you have believed Jesus as Saviour! 4) If you do works, you are at risk that you won't enter the Kingdom of Heaven! 5) Since nothing else matters, why you do put yourself at risk, by works?!


Anonymous said...

Cont. Form above

Why I talk about this preacher and similar preachers and their teachings? Because they are promoting a lifestyle of "just basking in grace", and many believers are buying into such easy-believism. And such people and their teachings are in contradiction with such standard theology expositions as  in James 2:20-24 (believe with works), John 10:27-28 (lordship; listen to your Lord, and follow Him - listen to His voice; He knows you; you follow Him, then eternal life He gives you), Phil 2:12 (work out your salvation with fear and trembling; obviously not just basking in grace), and 1st section of the Book of Revelation (messages to the 7 churches - to him who overcome; obviously not just basking in grace, but much will and desires of the Lord were expressed).  Such preachers and their teachings are drawing believers away from doing good works, and doing the will of God which includes doing our part to win over, souls for the Lord.  Winning souls, and loving God and loving our neighbors are every believer's portions.

Additionally, such overly grace preachers like to tell believers, God does not need anything from you; you don't have to sacrifice!  Bad teaching! Ps Prentis is correct, sacrifice is needed. King David, the man God said, was a man after His own heart, exemplified that well, for us; "I will not give to the LORD that which would cost me nothing!" Jesus Himself also said to us to count our cost before taking up our crosses and follow Him.  Until you and I reach the level of maturity of the Apostle Paul, and able to say as he said, "to live is Christ, to die is gain", please, call a spade (sacrifice), a spade (sacrifice).  (I am aware that the Lord is ultimately a debtor to none, but till then {He gives you back, and more}, the Lord may demand; in any case, we are all stewards of the Lord)

In my country, as in many other nations, is facing aging population problem; and the people want the government to do more.  And when old folk homes were proposed to situate at some precincts, the residents complaint! Because they want old folk homes be built but not near their place; yes, they are having in mind, that would diminish the prestige and value of their properties in the estate!  Such mentality, as discussed by Ps Prentis, is found in the church, too.  Sad.  Equally sad, is our wanting only convenience but have no willingness to make any sacrifice for the Lord or for the sake of the gospel.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Prentis McGoldrick said...

Amen, Anthony, Amen.