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Monday, May 18, 2015

The Christian Life Is a Changed Life

I thank God that the church admits sinners. I would not have been able to enter if this was not so. I have acted like Paul predicted people would act in the last days. Yet, I am being changed and these characteristics are seen less in me than they once were. I can only praise God that He is changing me.

This morning I spoke with a young lady in my church. I told her that she gets it. I don't know her life before coming to my church other than what she has told me. Her own testimony reveals that God is changing her too. She, like me, is coming to the knowledge of the truth. I wish there were more people like her.

I see many people who come to church, attend Sunday School and give every outward appearance of knowing the Lord who never change. It is like they live too different lives. They act one way at church with service and dedication to the Lord and go home to live very secular lives in which none of what they should have known from their relationship with Jesus is ever seen. Sure, there are a few words of spiritual correctness given occasionally but it isn't enough evidence to determine whether or not they are truly Christians.

In fact, you will find that most people who call themselves Christians are acting like Paul's last day prediction. They love themselves, use nearly all their money on themselves, disrespect their parents in one way or another, care very little for others and certainly lack a true love for God.

Truthfully, I preach ever week and see very few being changed. They are happy to be the same people they have always been. They are happy to pretend to be everything the Lord wants them to be. It is as if they have chosen avatars to live at church. This is the life they imagine but their real life is much different.

So, no matter how much they come to church, no matter how many discipleship courses they take, no matter how many times they work in Vacation Bible School, there is never any significant change. They have learned the books of the Bible, know the stories and can recite John 3:16 but they never really come to the knowledge of the truth. Coming to this knowledge will never be intellectual. It will always be a matter of spiritual maturity.

I have met a few reasonably famous people during my life. I have had private conversations with some of them. But I know that I would be kidding myself to say that I know them. I wonder if that is what it is like for these people who call themselves Christians but never change. Are they basing their salvation on one conversation? Do they think that their faith is something that is ritualistic rather than life changing? Do they think its like a membership in a club? You pay your dues and get your privileges but that's as far as the commitment goes.

I guess I always thought that Paul was speaking of people being outside the church when he made his prediction of the last days. I never dreamed that the people would be in the church.

2 Timothy 3:1-7 (ESV)
1  But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4  treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5  having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. 6  For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, 7  always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.  

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