Saturday, August 11, 2007

Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing
Part Two

The "main thing" is the obedience of true faith. And you will show others what you really believe by what you do.

"Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?"

The test, in its most general sense, is conformity to Christ. A life of obedience to God's revealed Word. That's why those in Matthew 7 are referred to as " who practice lawlessness". In other words, " who act as though I didn't give you a law". The wise are those who hear and obey and are thus like the man who "built on the rock" as Jesus stated.

Obedience is downplayed so much today. I recall the first church I attended back in '98 after my conversion. The pastor was doing a series in Revelation. More than once he encouraged us to read the book because it promises a blessing for "...everyone who reads it." Notice the period there, it is significant. He left out "...and obeys...". Years later, you wonder how this could have blown by you at the time. And I think "Why Didn't I Speak Up?" Simply a lack of discernment on my part, being so young in the faith.

Which brings me back to my original point. Obedience. It is one of the tests that John's first epistle gives us to help us distinguish "possessors" from mere "professors".

How can anyone be saved unless they obey the Gospel? Those who "...obey not the Gospel of God" face an eternity in Hell separated from God and anything Good and Right and Holy. And how can they obey what they haven't heard?...and as Paul states in Romans 10, "How can they hear without a preacher?" So the logical conclusion is that our greatest commission is also our greatest Omission -- honing our lives down to the fine point of preaching the saving gospel of repentance and faith.

It's so subversive. Not long ago, an otherwise "conservative" radio network, which I will not name here, removed a well-known Bible teaching program because of a language issue. The teacher in question began to use words which were arguably inappropriate for public broadcast. And I had no problem with that. But at the same time, they have no problem with scheduling programming from those who deny the necessity for repentance in the Gospel message. Ok, so the lesson here is that coarse language isn't ok, but a false Gospel is? Without repentance, there is no salvation, but hey, we're more concerned with purity of speech. The network owner also made a point of railing against non-KJV translations of the Bible as "heretical" and "blasphemous", while operating a station that hosts non-KJV based bible-teaching programs.

No, I'm not "KJV-only", but you tell me what you really believe by what you do.

And listen to so much of what passes for "Christian Radio" in general. Constant appeals to call your legislators to "protect our rights". Well, I believe in representative government and I do believe I'm responsible to vote and speak my mind. But listen closely and determine how much time is spent on the priority of delivering the pure gospel to the lost? Eventually, I have given up traditional "Christian Radio" because I find a perpetual undue thrust on trying to "protect our freedoms".

Yes, I love America. Yes, I love whatever freedoms we have left. But the greater mandate is going out of our way to spread the saving Gospel to the lost, not sitting by our phones calling Washington to protect us from the liberals. We don't have a "right" to spread the Gospel, we have a mandate to do it even if society falls down around us. When Paul was in jail, he preached the Gospel, not his desire to protect his -- or anyone else's -- rights. The same for the others.

Like the issue with the "potty mouthed pastor", here we go again. Washing the outside of the cup and not being so concerned with the inside. The core. The reason we're here, which is the message of repentance and faith toward God.

I remember a statement from J. Vernon McGee years ago. He talked about sharpening your life down to a sharp point. He was referring to "forgetting what is behind and pressing on to the high calling of God" (my paraphrase). Our High Calling is evangelism. That is the point. Period. Everything else is a diversion; a rabbit-chase from the devil.

Mark those who teach falsehoods? Sure. Then move on and get back to the Gospel. We aren't to be "professional fault finders". We can remove all the falsehoods we want and leave the lost in a vacuum. But isn't it better to just proclaim the truth and let it take over?

There. You have my point. Now, let's get back to the fine point of taking the Gospel to the lost.

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