Complete Christianity Ed Paine August 17, 2012 The Full Gospel Lighthouse 156 St. Vincent Street Barrie, Ontario L4M 3Z1 (705)739-9556 email@example.com www.myfullgospellighthouse.com
The Lord had a job for me, but I had too much to do,I said "You get somebody else, or wait 'til I get through."I don't know how the Lord came out, but he seemed to get along.But I felt kind of sneaking like-knowing I had done God wrong.
One day I needed the Lord-needed Him right away;but though He never answered me at all,I could hear Him saydown in my accusing heart:"Brother, I got too much to do;best get somebody else,or wait 'til I get through."
Now, when the Lord has a job for me,I never try to shirk;I drop whatever I have at hand,and do the good Lord's work.My affairs can run along,or wait 'til I get through;because nobody else can do the workthat God marks out for you.
These words, by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, are highly unpopular in today's "me first" society and even in many "modernist" and "liberal" churches, because they call upon us to set aside our lives for God when He calls.
Such people look upon God as a spiritual servant, or spiritual vending machine, who exists only to satisfy their desires at little or no expense to themselves. When exposed to the reality of Dunbar's words, and thus the reality of the Word of God as recorded in the Bible,
many fall away from Christianity or attempt to hide in places that call themselves "churches" that do not properly and fully present the teachings of Christ.
How is it such people and places exist? In many churches in our time, too many preachers avoid teaching on the harder, sterner side of God: His Law.
This is done to avoid losing members who do not want to hear about the obligations of our faith and the consequences of not meeting them (and, often enough, the consequences OF meeting them).
While bringing a person to Christ through "man centered" preaching may add a member to "a" church, it does not mean that a soul has been added to "THE" church.
The founder of the Methodist denomination, John Wesley, advised: "Preach 90% Law and 10% Grace".
This allows a person to be fully aware of the sinful state they are in and then to be fully aware of the magnificence of the grace that makes a believer righteous before God. Without an ongoing consciousness of sin, any sense of being near to God is counterfeit.
This would seem to make casual Christianity only 10% effective and that is always a prescription for failure. No rational person sets out on a journey that has a 90% chance of failure.
This is the reason that God's Word is so critically important: your knowledge of God's Word will be your best protection against the deceptions of Satan and his evil disciples. Discipline yourself in this area.
One of the great revivalists, Jonathan Edwards, maintained that the church needed reformation, "not because Christians feel so icky about themselves, but because they don't feel icky enough.
Only when we feel truthfully icky, can we fully realize the magnifigance of the grace by which we are saved from ourselves".
Too many people, in this day, believe that prosperity will quench their yearning for happiness. This sort of thinking is a vain illusion that leaves one in a strange state of melancholy,
in the midst of the over-abundance of this world, because the incomplete joys of this world will never satisfy the human heart. This strange melancholy manifests itself in many ways but always leads to the same despair of not finding fulfillment.
This despair cannot be satisfied by things of this world. The Bible tells us that the only thing that can satisfy our hearts, unto fulfillment, is God's love. God's love is only to be acquired through seeking and submitting to God's will and these can only be achieved through a combination of diligent Bible study and a sound, well balanced pulpit.
There are no smooth, easy, comfortable short cuts to encountering God and the salvation He has offered us.
"It is become an enormous problem, in this day, that we have an anemic and watered down Christianity that has produced anemic, watered down and spineless Christians who are not willing to stand up and be counted on every issue.
We must have a virile, dynamic, aggressive Christian who lives Christ seven days a week, who is ready to die for the Christ who died for us, if that be necessary.
We need Christians who are ethical, honest gracious, bold, strong and devoted followers of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." (from 'Day By Day' authored by Billy Graham).
This is a clear indication that Christians not only have the right, but are Biblically called, to be politically involved in their society.
This is especially critical in areas of moral conduct such as the crusades regarding abolition, civil rights, abortion and poverty where the church has traditionally led the way.
We have to resist the moral decay we see going on around us as is evidenced by the crime, divorce, youth suicide, sexual immorality, drug use, children on welfare, and single parent families which are becoming evermore prevalent. In the present, and in the future as well, Christians remain called out to rescue and lift up those in need (Matt 25:40-46).
In heeding this call Christians must be cautious about becoming so swept up in the political realm that we come to play by the rules of political power (Rev 2:6). Those rules tend to be the rules of ungrace and the church opens itself up to criticism from the world when this occurs.
Christians sometimes slip into this and other acts of ungrace out of the fear generated by the attacks against Christianity occurring in the schools, courts and even by our elected representatives in the various levels of government.
In a world that has little place for God, a Christian has to ensure that they are motivated only by love and grace and not the lust for power and control because moralism apart from love and grace does not solve problems nor bring peace.
The church works best as a force of resistance, a counter balance to the all-consuming power of government. The closer the church gets to government, the more watered down Christ's message becomes and this brings us back to Rev. Graham's message, above.
The apostle Peter tells us, in 1 Peter 2:2, to "...desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby." In this instance the word "sincere" comes out of the Greek to mean "pure and unadulterated", "not watered down", "full strength".
Casual Christianity is unable and unwilling to provide the sincere milk we need to grow spiritually into salvation.
Long before the term "Casual Christianity" was coined, Soren Kierkegaard, a great Christian apologist, observed that he despised the kind of so-called Christian teaching that "does not make known the Christian requirement ~ perhaps because it is afraid that people would shudder to see at what a distance from it we are living".
There is also a tendency to ignore to Old Testament because too many "Christians" and "ministers" are not comfortable with how God, the proper following of God, and the consequences of not following according to God's Will, are depicted therein.
(The discomfort is a subconscious understanding of the sinfulness of their lives and the need for THEM to change. They don't want to recognize THEIR character as it is depicted in the people of the Old Testament. Think "Relativism".)
Satan has them thinking that "OLD", as in Old Testament, means out of date. The reality of this error is that if one is not aware of the message of the first 39 books, the Old Testament, they will miss the message, value and salvation of the New Testament's 27 books.
They may well miss it ALL because, in doing so, they will probably pick out a few isolated sentences, from here and there in the Bible, that make them feel good, and build a false religion around them. They will be creating a story and believe that they got it from God.
They didn't ~ caution: Satan at work! It may well make them feel good but this incomplete understanding of what God wants from us will keep them believing things God wants them to stop believing. These are things they need to stop believing in order to qualify for salvation.
This denigration of the Bible, and the failure to teach the less than pleasant teachings that make up a substantial part of its contents, has led to the "famine" of God's Word in this day as predicted in Amos 8:11-14.
Modernistic Christianity denies truth, at least any truth that is knowable with certainty. (Biblical truth is certain beyond doubt, its non-scriptural confirmation is enormous.)
It does not recognize the plumb line reflecting God's character, that Amos spoke of, and thereby obscures sin. Casual Christianity's relativistic version of truth, and its virtual ignoring of Grace, frees them to live a self-pleasing life with no inclination or reason to tremble before God the Father Almighty.
When one considers that even the demons tremble at the mention of His Name (James 2:19), it is not difficult to see how dangerous this attitude is. O Lord, where is truth? Where is grace? Be wary, HE IS COMING! When God begins to judge, He will clean His own house first (1 Peter 4:17). What He judges in outsiders, He judges first in His own family.
We cannot be saved until we know of the need to be saved. We will only see Jesus clearly to the degree we see our need of Him, not for the blessings of a good life now but for the forgiveness that guarantees us our best life forever.
We will only know of these things if we take sufficient time to seriously study the fullness of the concepts of the Law and grace as provided by a good pastor and the Bible.
The Book of Malachi is largely God's condemnation of poor teaching, and the poor following, of the will of God that can be the ONLY outcome of it, and what the guilty can expect in the way of consequences.
There are some words of encouragement for the few, the "loyal remnant", that faithfully continue on according to God's will. Each of us needs to give a lot of honest thought to which group we want to be part of and which group we actually ARE a part of.
"A little commitment turns out to be the same as none." (Elton Trueblood.)
We can be sure that bad teaching will have bad consequences, even as good teaching is beneficial. Twisted interpretation of scripture, a practice most notable in the Christian left, but also to be found in the far right, is referred to in 1 Timothy 4:1 as "things taught by demons"
~ a tactic used by Satan (Genesis 3:1 & Matthew 4:6) to undermine confidence in God's Word. The absence of teaching is also horribly detrimental. Many a pulpit is useless, because the Word of God is not properly interpreted, not properly expounded and, thus, the people are not properly taught.
This includes those who try to lighten up God's story by not teaching some parts of the Bible because those parts make people uncomfortable. The failure to teach from the Book of Revelation is a common example of this sin of omission. Everyone who calls themselves a Christian needs to be aware that God is the ultimate realist.