Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fear as Motivator for Selfless Devotion to God

I watched the video and read the comments in response and came up with this conclusion: You are a FOOL. Period. WE ALL are more depraved than we know. But what I was actually going to say is that you are a fool if you do not test Nate Pfeil's message in Scripture, regardless of what side you take. He quotes Scripture throughout - and everything he says is based on Scripture... Read the Book! Research where in the Word he gets his position from. If you think you have a contrary position to what he said, find what Scripture you base it on... and here's the KEY: view your rebuttal Scripture through the lens of whether it reveals the Sovereign Glory of God and not what sits well with your heart (your heart is full of deceit - Jer 17:9). We have this AMAZING book to be our teacher of truth. DO NOT TRUST what notions you feel about God to be Gospel truth but what is in the Word. Do not be one who hardens his or her heart to the GRACE assured in the video just because you feel offended and think his...method unloving, throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Jesus was not "loving" in the sense He was to the poor in spirit when He railed on the religious Pharisees... Jesus was ruthlessly hard on them. Yet many condemn Nate's approach as not reflective of Christ's ways... My heart is heavy first because I do all I and Nate speak against here too and need to repent; but also for the games we play in trying to prove how right or wrong the professed Word of God is from one another when it clearly magnifies the Lord and not man, the essential measure rod we all should apply... I fear you don't find messages like Nate's pleasing because it is the stench of death to you (2 Cor 2:15-16). I find it most pleasing because He represents the God I see in His Word, one obsessed with His Glory (for good reason) more than the well-being of a perverse people. I'm tired of it being about us. He is so much more exciting than anything I can offer.

Then my friend commented and asked:
This fellow and Washer have caused me to wonder if fear of damnation is enough to motive a person to truly follow God. How can a desire to preserve your soul from pain turn into the selfless devotion to God that is at the heart of Christianity?

I also disagree with your comment about God being obsessed with his glory. Philippians 2 seems to
suggest that God glorified Christ because of his humility and concern for "the well-being of a perverse people." Obviously, we are meant to learn that concern for our own well-being is ungodly but God's glory seems to be enhanced by the fact that he is willing to give it up for us.

Then I responded:

If a 16-yr-old just got her license to drive and her dad, at a party, hands her the keys to a brand new Bugatti Veyron, who will get the glory? Her or the dad? Who did the more impressive act? I use this as illustrastion because the HUMBLE act of making propitiation for an utterly undeserving people, and the cost of the act (the full wrath of God being poured out on His perfect, sinless Son) point to how great He is; the method is just that, not purpose.

That's just the human argument. Look at Scripture: Romans 3:21-26 "to demonstrate His righteousness"; 9:22-23, Psalm 50:15-23, Isa 48:9-11. Is God's glory an after-thought to His loving "giv[ing up] for us"?

As far as fear by enough to motivate "a person to truly follow God," consider this: God's ultimate purpose in creating and restoring Creation is to make His internal glories (at the time) external, specifically on the cross - research (supra)lapsarianism (sp?). If God made us with the intent for His Glories to be known, and He uses fear to motivate us to get into the Book to find out who He truly is, what harm has occurred, and who is the clay to tell the Potter what is just and right (Romans 9, see end of Job too)? This answers your question: the fear of damnation leads to the desire to preserve your soul, which in turn makes you go to the Book to find out how to truly follow God; the Book teaches you who God is (when you, with contrite spirit take off the man-centered glassed that have distorted the Word before) and when you truly know Him, you know His worth and you naturally devote yourself to Him selflessly, for He is worth it!

Add Isaiah 53:10 to prove God is obsessed with His glory. Why else would the Father be PLEASED to CRUSH HIM [Jesus], His only begotten Son?! The display on the cross was intentional; it displays the glory of God more than anything! If you don't see that you are blind, and in danger of falling in the ditch of man-pleasing... God reveal this to your sheep!

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Man-Pleasing Gospel

Is it possible that, in our drive to share our Christian faith with the world, by thinking critically through our message, taking into consideration posture and presentation, we have only adjusted and adapted the message as to lose its original content?

Are we not more concerned with pleasing Man (humanity) than God when we compromise the gospel to make it more attractive to the masses?

Consider how infrequently we take into consideration these Scripture truths concerning Kingdom exclusivity and difficulty:

Matthew 7:13-14:

"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."

Matthew 7:21-23:

"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. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'"

Matthew 10:32-39:

Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. . But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.

Matthew 13:10-16:

And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" Jesus answered them, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,


But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear.

Matthew 13:47-50

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Matthew 15:7-14

"You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you:

After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, "Hear and understand. It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man." Then the disciples came and said to Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?" But He answered and said, "Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

Matthew 16:24-28:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

Matthew 19:16-26:

And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?" And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." Then he said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?" Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?" And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

The overwhelming sense I get is that passages like this are ignored because they are too difficult to assimilate with the false gospel that has morphed and/or sifted into the sub-conscience of Christendom. Somehow (probably Satan speaking through his mouthpieces, the false teachers (Matt 16:23, 2 Timothy 4:3), at some time, we were fed the lie that in order to be effective for the Kingdom of God, we have to persuade all people into thinking God and His ways are beneficial to the pursued.

When that [pragmatic, beneficial character of God being able to meet the selfish perceived wants/needs as an acceptable presentation of the gospel] is our preconception, our end becomes to manipulate the minds of men by distorting the image of God to fit the perceived attractiveness of God to the manipulated/deceived. This is making God something He is not. It makes Him small and controllable. Rather, it simply becomes an idol, and all who associate with it become idol worshippers.

Our end should be not to compromise the presentation of God to make Christianity inclusive and alluring, but to magnify the Lord, proclaiming His [Christ Jesus'] worth and glory. The Sheep ("brothers of Mine") will then be fed and the Church will not continue to gather more and more goats into its flock (Matt 25:31-46). The Sheep will be fed because the Church will finally be doing as it is meant to, and the worth of our inheritance - our hope and strength - which is Jesus (because He is Lord and worthy to judge the living and the dead - to reign over creation because He is infinitely great) will be realized and will empower the saints to boldness.

The Man-pleasing gospel and the "Church" which presents it needs to be exposed by the Light. Repent all who are tickled by such notions of the Faith, that God may graciously have mercy on the humble (Isaiah 30:9-18). When they don't, true saints, stand firm and unashamedly on the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16) - not this man-pleasing rubbish - and proclaim it on the rooftops till you are silenced by death from persecutors or Christ comes in Glory once more, and all will be on bended knee (Philippians 2:10).

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Final Thoughts on Persecution

It's been a while since I wrote on this. Any who read it probably got the sense that I was being quite intense. That's accurate. I was also being reactionary. I get the overwhelming sense that the Christian milieu these days think we are at a time of rest. I hate this notion. I believe we are in the end times, and it started when Jesus came to earth. End times are not for resting. Rest is connected with apathy, and we as the Church cannot afford to be complacent when we have the greatest news we will ever hear and we aren't sharing it with everyone. All because we think it's a resting season.

I believe in seasons. I will even concede that there is a season of rest, and a season for persecution. I am not getting stones thrown at me currently, or fired for my faith, so it's probably safe to say I, personally, am in a season of rest (from persecution).

We are never to rest from proclaiming the worth of God. There is no greater purpose for a Christian. And it will be for that reason that persecution will be, or at least should be, visible in the church throughout these end times. Collectively, we all will not experience persecution or tolerance together. We experience our own seasons as we live out our own faith and because we are not all on the same page, waging battle against the same evil power at the same time, some will find the faith journey as gruesome one moment, and rewarding and victorious the next.

My roommate also mentioned the issue of the Tribulation, where everything is turned up 50 degrees in intensity. I think it goes without saying, because political and economical powers of oppression will be inescapable that persecution will be rampant and unavoidable (unless you recant or compromise the true faith). I'm just saying we should not fear persecution, or think it is optional, or that the integrity of our witness, as adamantly compelled to proclaim Christ as worthy of all glory and praise, is open to debate and dilution.

A diluted faith will not bring about persecution for it does not offend. Do not be afraid of fighting the good fight, or running the race well. The reward is Christ. He is our prize and there is none greater, especially not any rest we might experience if we compromise.