Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Categories: The Science of Think by Chris on 8/18/2019 6:56 AM | Comments (0)

  When Christ returned from his forty day fast in the wilderness and his subsequent victory over Satan’s three temptations he essentially invented Christian Apologetics. Sometime after his return he entered the Temple and asked to read. The verses he read are as follows:

The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity], To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day] when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound. (Luke 4:18.19) - The Amplified Bible

  Jesus was reading directly from Isaiah 61 which reads almost identically to this passage from Luke. He went on to add, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” He was quite literally revealing himself as the long awaited Messiah.

  In all things when God the Creator interacts with us he begins with his Word. The reason for this is because in the act of our creation he gave us the power of personal will and choice. As a result he reasons with us as a Father. As God is sovereign in his person so are we because we quite literally come out of him being made in his image. Our present day “Christian Leadership Crisis” surrounding statements and behaviors currently circulating the internet are rooted in this principle and its subsequent misunderstanding.

The issue is this:

  To be given the power to exercise will and personal choice unchangeably means when we make a choice we and we alone are responsible for it. This is immutable and is an eternal spiritual reality and fact of life. If this were not so then Christ died for nothing since his blood was required to satisfy God’s law for our willful disobedience against him beginning in the Garden of Eden. If we are not responsible for our choices then the blood of God’s only Son was squandered on the cross since we are not accountable. If we believe we are not accountable we make God out to be a fool and a liar.

  This very idea is at the core of a current, perhaps even viral apostasy currently in the western Christian Church and illustrates the title of this article which is asking the question:

  To bring authentic change in the life of any person is it the power of God’s spirit that accomplishes this or just the scriptures, that (as some suppose) are subject to our own convenience, personal tastes, interpretation and comfort zones?

  The answer is both are required. The Spirit and the Word always agree. (I John 5:8) If we choose one over the other on a case by case basis we and we alone begin to alter our trajectory away from God’s chosen will and purpose for us. And by the way this does have an impact on your eternity.

  It has not been once but many times over the years where I have heard and/or observed some well meaning Christian professor (one who professes) to make statements regarding faith and doctrine that to some of us in the eldership is recognizable as errant. Indeed this is one of the roles of eldership. The Apostle Paul tutored and mentored Timothy in this way. Shame on us if we do not speak up and speak out on these issues for fear of varying degrees of persecution. After all, we were warned explicitly by Christ himself about how persecutions would come and how men would revile us for his name’s sake. (Matthew 5:11) Jesus’ chief revilers and persecutors were those inside the Temple, or church if you will. They were the Pharisees themselves.

  There are several parables Jesus himself taught regarding the slippery slope on which many self-proclaimed Christians are. Because of this they are unable (but still accountable) to discern for themselves the difference between an intellectual knowledge of Christ based on their own personal code of conduct, pet doctrines and personal preferences and the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives which is directive to them personally from Christ himself. In essence they’ve substituted one for the other since they can control one and not the other and divided Christ into two pieces. This is heretical. Doing this denies the power of God which is found in submission to the Holy Spirit and how he directs us deep within our own conscience in concert with the scriptures. If the two disagree then you have a problem for which you are accountable.  

  Christian Apologetics has it’s place, as I said before Christ himself invented it. However, he never engaged where he did not rely on the Holy Spirit in tandem with what he was saying and doing because the Holy Spirit is the demonstration of the power of God and disconnected from the wisdom of men. (I Cor. 2:4) If we engage in Apologetics alone we end up in a secular forum confronted by secular arguments into which we are tossing loves of stale bread. Ultimately this is not going to change anyone. I am not saying everyone we preach to will accept the message. I am speaking to those who claim or may even believe (but intellectually) they have put their full trust in Christ but in essence have chosen to cut him in half to take the parts they like while discarding the rest and then accommodate for themselves what seems right in their own eyes. If we are just going through the motions thinking we are fooling others (or even God), well that question answers itself.

  Christianity is not something you do it’s who and what you are having been slain by God’s law because of a sinful nature then resurrected in newness of life by the blood Jesus Christ who himself was literally raised from the dead by his father, the God of all things. Jesus never promised following him was going to be easy. In fact he warned us it would not. If that is a concern then what did you and I sign up for? 

  For the eldership who find themselves confronted with errancy in their churches it’s time for some communion with Christ himself in your prayer life and scripture study where you will find the courage to represent him in these matters. Teach yourself and then your people. If you fear your church will shrink in attendance as a result (sometimes we do this) then ask yourself who are you really serving? And can you build a living, breathing thriving expression of God’s House using your current building materials? The good news is the quality and strength of the materials (the people) are transformative when we fully engage properly. Jesus will raise up those you need as a direct artifact of your obedience.

  It is very novel today for people to quote Matthew 7:1 “Judge not lest you be judged…” I hear this verse quoted often out of context and utilized as a weapon to gain power over another in an argument rather than reading the entire idea which flows through verse 6. Jesus was teaching how we are to discern right from wrong and that we must judge something in ourselves first before looking outward to discern it as right or wrong in someone else. When done properly this way, in the love of Christ (which we are also commanded to walk in) it has a self-governing quality that keeps the ground level for everyone.

  What some are experiencing today is a crisis of unbelief because they are out of balance. This is to say a “culture” of Christianity is our preference since it does not violate our personal comfort zones nor dislodge us from sitting atop the throne of our own lives. So we build churches based upon this idea so we can all be happy and feel good about ourselves. That unbelief is manifesting in apostate statements and behaviors that actually and in reality are bringing these confessors perilously close to the edge of an abyss into which they can plummet for an eternity and from which they will never return.

Here are some principles Christ himself taught on this subject:

Wheat and Tares:

  Tares are weeds that look exactly like wheat. They grow up side by side in the field of God. They look exactly the same on the outside so much so that you cannot tell them apart except that tares have no edible fruit inside them. At harvest time, which is the end of the age when Jesus Christ returns, the angels are commanded to gather the “fake” wheat that looks like the real thing but is empty on the inside and unfruitful. The wheat is harvested for Christ’s pleasure and reward, the tares are gathered into a bundle and cast into the fire to be burned. To be a tare is to have ones own personal interpretations and ideas about God and church but void of the Holy Spirit’s power on the inside by virtue of placing your own ideas above what the scripture actually says. Indeed, God can look into our hearts and see things in us (choices) even we ourselves cannot see.-  (Matthew 13:24-52)

But Lord Lord:

  Many in that day will cry out to the Lord, “Did we not prophesy in your name? We drove out devils and did many works? “These are the intellectual Christians who believe no true transformative heart change is necessary, meaning they believe they can get it done on their own by church attendance where scripture is read to them, believing God exists, you know, somewhere and doing good deeds only. This is heretical and denies Eph. 2:8-9 which clearly states salvation (true heart change) begins with grace through faith and NOT of works. Adopting the Christian lingo, going to Christian concerts and generally adopting the culture of Christian Country Club are activities not transformations by the Holy Spirit of the living God. It takes personal humility applied generously to ones own heart to “confess your sinful nature to Jesus Christ” while asking him to save you from literal hell. (Matthew 7:22-25)

  In a discussion I had with noted Christian leader/elders this past summer this very subject came up. My take away was this. Too many in the eldership have become lax for various reasons regarding the finer points of Christ's commandments that are transformative in nature and must be preached before the Holy Spirit will convict hearts. What I’m saying is, we’ve gotten soft and the fear of man is involved. The devil, being the opportunist that he is has come in to steal, kill and destroy and these popular Christian celebrity renunciations are one manifestation of Satan’s power to deceive (John 10:10). Do not become one of them.

  In closing please allow me to be crystal clear. God’s Spirit is currently brooding over his flock and poised to show up. It will be unpleasant for some for the reasons mentioned above but in the end entirely redemptive. This next step is very necessary for what he has planned beyond it. He is being challenged once again by his enemies and believe me when I tell you he never backs down from a challenge nor does he ever ever ever play defense. Into the coming clash-of-culture you and I have been drafted. And may I also add that a good soldier never leaves his post.

  Christ inspired us to follow him by giving himself to us completely and totally first. Subsequently he did not tell us to follow Christians, he told us to follow him.