Archive for the ‘Humbleness’ category

Jesus doesn’t need your heart (if that’s all you’re giving Him)

March 23, 2010

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

The whole idea of “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is not in the Gospel of Jesus. As a matter of fact, He said just the opposite: “you will know them by their fruit”

We have in our baptist churches this idea that you need to “receive Jesus”, and maybe “in your heart”.
This is, first and foremost, not biblical, and, secondly (but also important) not in the history of the church.
Our salvation is not a process in which God does half of it, and we do the other half. It is a supernatural work of God. It’s not simply jumping out of the way to hell and jumping in the line to heaven.
The moment we are saved we become new creatures (if we are truly saved)
And this change will affect everything in our life. I don’t believe there’s a single area in our existence that will remain untouched by God.
How can we, then, live, talk, think (and, yes, even dress – there are dress codes in the Bible) like the world!?

Today the notion of worldliness is almost lost. And this happens because the doctrine of sanctification is also almost lost.
It doesn’t bother us that we cannot be told apart from the world.
The moment you bring this up in a conversation (“we are Christians, we are not supposed to do that”), you are reminded instantly of the Pharisees. “You don’t know their heart” goes the reasoning further.

This is not a salvation of works. We are saved by faith alone. But this faith is always accompanied by godliness. Not in order to be saved, but as a result of being saved.
“Sola fide” (by faith alone) emerged with the Reformation, as a reaction to the Roman Catholic idea that good works are neccessary for salvation.
But look at what we, the baptists, have done: the Gospel that we are proclaiming holds that it doesn’t matter how we live, as long as Jesus “is in our heart”!
We have reduced the supernatural work of God that transforms us to almost nothing, since we can (presumably) live the way we used to when we were in and of the world.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”

“for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

Jesus can, and will look at your heart. But He doesn’t need to.

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

What happened to 1 John, 2 Peter, the sermon on the mountain?
Did we stop reading that? (and preaching that)

How can we say that Jesus is in our heart, but this doesn’t neccesarily affect the whole body?

This is the litmus test:

“Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test?”

We are supposed to take holiness seriously. And also take sin seriously.

A quote by JC Ryle (that we should probably hear more often) :”Perhaps you think the saints of God [are] too strict and particular and serious. You rather avoid them. You have no delight in their society. There will be no other company in heaven”

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The old cross and the new, by AW Tozer

December 22, 2009

ALL UNANNOUNCED AND MOSTLY UNDETECTED there has come in modern times a new cross into popular evangelical circles. It is like the old cross, but different: the likenesses are superficial; the differences, fundamental.

From this new cross has sprung a new philosophy of the Christian life, and from that new philosophy has come a new evangelical technique-a new type of meeting and a new kind of preaching. This new evangelism employs the same language as the old, but its content is not the same and its emphasis not as before.

The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam’s proud flesh it meant the end of the journey. It carried into effect the sentence imposed by the law of Sinai. The new cross is not opposed to the human race; rather, it is a friendly pal and, if understood aright, it is the source of oceans of good clean fun and innocent enjoyment. It lets Adam live without interference. His life motivation is unchanged; he still lives for his own pleasure, only now he takes delight in singing choruses and watching religious movies instead of singing bawdy songs and drinking hard liquor. The accent is still on enjoyment, though the fun is now on a higher plane morally if not intellectually.

The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received. He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level. Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamoring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.

The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect. To the self-assertive it says, “Come and assert yourself for Christ.” To the egotist it says, “Come and do your boasting in the Lord.” To the thrill seeker it says, “Come and enjoy the thrill of Christian fellowship.” The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public.

The philosophy back of this kind of thing may be sincere but its sincerity does not save it from being false. It is false because it is blind. It misses completely the whole meaning of the cross.

The old cross is a symbol of death. It stands for the abrupt, violent end of a human being. The man in Roman times who took up his cross and started down the road had already said good-by to his friends. He was not coming back. He was going out to have it ended. The cross made no compromise, modified nothing, spared nothing; it slew all of the man, completely and for good. It did not try to keep on good terms with its victim. It struck cruel and hard, and when it had finished its work, the man was no more.

The race of Adam is under death sentence. There is no commutation and no escape. God cannot approve any of the fruits of sin, however innocent they may appear or beautiful to the eyes of men. God salvages the individual by liquidating him and then raising him again to newness of life.

That evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers. The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.

We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.

God offers life, but not an improved old life. The life He offers is life out of death. It stands always on the far side of the cross. Whoever would possess it must pass under the rod. He must repudiate himself and concur in God’s just sentence against him.

What does this mean to the individual, the condemned man who would find life in Christ Jesus? How can this theology be translated into life? Simply, he must repent and believe. He must forsake his sins and then go on to forsake himself. Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his head before the stroke of God’s stern displeasure and acknowledge himself worthy to die.

Having done this let him gaze with simple trust upon the risen Saviour, and from Him will come life and rebirth and cleansing and power. The cross that ended the earthly life of Jesus now puts an end to the sinner; and the power that raised Christ from the dead now raises him to a new life along with Christ.

To any who may object to this or count it merely a narrow and private view of truth, let me say God has set His hallmark of approval upon this message from Paul’s day to the present. Whether stated in these exact words or not, this has been the content of all preaching that has brought life and power to the world through the centuries. The mystics, the reformers, the revivalists have put their emphasis here, and signs and wonders and mighty operations of the Holy Ghost gave witness to God’s approval.

Dare we, the heirs of such a legacy of power, tamper with the truth? Dare we with our stubby pencils erase the lines of the blueprint or alter the pattern shown us in the Mount? May God forbid. Let us preach the old cross and we will know the old power. (A. W. Tozer, Man, the Dwelling Place of God, 1966)

Others May, You Cannot!

November 14, 2009

—G.D. Watson (1845-1924)

If God has called you to be really like Jesus, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to measure yourself by other Christians; and in many ways, He will seem to let to let other good people do things which He will never let you do.

Other Christians and ministers, who seem very religious and useful, can push themselves, pull wires and work schemes to carry out their Christian goals, but these things you simply cannot do. Others may boast of their work or their writings or their success, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you ever try it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, but most likely God will keep you poor, because He want you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence on Him and the joy of seeing Him supply your needs day by day out of an unseen Treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and keep you hidden and unappreciated because He wants to produce some choice, fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work on and on without others knowing how much you are doing; and then, to make your work still more precious, He may let others get the credit for the work which you have done, and thus make your reward ten times greater when Jesus comes.

The Holy Spirit will rebuke you for little words or deeds or even feelings, or for wasting your time, which other Christians never seem to be concerned about, but you must make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign and He has a right to do whatever He pleases with His own. He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in the way He deals with you, but if you will just submit yourself to Him in all things, He will wrap you up in a jealous love and bestow upon you many blessing which come only to those who are very near to His heart.

Settle it then, that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now, when you are so possessed with the living God that your secret heart becomes pleased and delighted with this peculiar, personal, private, jealous guardianship and management of the Holy Spirit over your life, then you will have entered the very vestibule of heaven itself.

Practical Wisdom (not only for calvinists)

January 25, 2009

Before I writing about Puritan and calvinist works, I’d like to post something written by Darryl M. Erkel. 

Firstly, I’ll see it more often (if posted here on the blog) and secondly, maybe some one else will find it good too:

  • Recognize that Salvation is Broader than the Calvinist Camp.
  • God commands us to accept one another in Christ, in spite of our differences 
  • Calvinism is not the Gospel
  • Scripture alone is the final standard of authority for doctrine and practice
  • Be very careful about accepting entire systems of theology
  • The truth is, some aspects of Reformed theology are erroneous (like infant baptism)
  • Don’t View Any Period of Church History as Perfect (e.g., the Protestant Reformation of the 16.th Century),Nor Any Particular Group of Christians (e.g., the Reformers, Puritans, Anabaptists)
  • Be the Model of Humility and Love
  • Recognize That You Can Learn From Those Who Are Outside of the Reformed Camp.
  • Seek to Be A Man/Woman of the Text of Scripture.
  • Recognize That Your Greatest Power is Found in Prayer.

It was written with the calvinist theology in mind, but it can be just as good applied for Puritan writings.

Here the complete text: Practical Wisdom For Calvinists