Archive for April, 2015

cross-blood

What do you do with a Christianity that is more concerned about how the world perceives it than faithfully obeying the Word of God? What do you do with a faith that withers in the face of opposition? What do you do with a people that no longer know how to give the lost and dying world an answer for the hope that lies within them? What do you do with a follower of Christ that stops following the moment Christ walks against the tide of our culture?

Does not this describe the heart of God’s people today? I really wish that this was an over-exaggeration. I wish with all my heart that these questions were laughable. I desire that we would be so lost in the love and power of Christ that the world couldn’t help but be drawn to Him. But this isn’t the case. We live distracted Christian lives. God has become just another part of who we are. We forget that Christ is our life and no one else. Sitting in a pew on Sunday and Wednesday night has become our devotion to Him. Conviction has become an addicting adrenalin just powerful enough to keep us coming back for more. But whatever happened to pure, sincere, heart-felt repentance? It should break our hearts that we are only willing to give our left-overs to God. The problem is that we have become obsessed with ourselves. Everything has become about us, about what we can get out of it, how we benefit. We need the mind of Christ. Jesus said, “Not my will but thy will be done.” Will you be willing to let that be your prayer? The verse in John 12:32 is very telling. Jesus says that, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

Who are you lifting up today?

Are you declaring Christ or boasting about yourself? Who do you think about the most? When people mock or revile you do get angry and offended? Will you take time to watch a movie or play a game without even giving the Bible a second thought? When you wake up each morning do you think, what am I going to do today or what does the LORD want me to do today? Is your life so planned that you don’t have time for God to interfere? We want the world to see Jesus and yet we hide Him behind the dark curtain of selfishness. We want the world to give their all to Him when we wont even give Him a few hours of our day? We desire to declare the truth in public and yet at home we make provision for sin through things like the TV, movies, internet, books, conversations and jokes. In light of these questions, who are you lifting up in your everyday life?

How was Christ lifted up?

He was lifted up on a bloody instrument of death. He was lifted up on a cross. You may say, I don’t lift myself up. I present Christ in my life! Examine yourself. The Pharisees thought that they were lifting up God. They prayed elaborate prayers to God in public while looking down their noses at the world around them. God became a flashy jewel around their necks. A prize that they earned by obedience. But the true Christ is lifted up on an ugly cruel cross. There is nothing flashy about that. It is raw Christianity displayed in honesty before men. Jesus said that we are to daily take up our cross and follow Him. Have you taken up your cross and followed Jesus? Have you been crucified with Christ? Have your past works of righteousness been counted as dung? Are you walking in His Spirit of truth?

Why was Christ lifted up?

He was lifted up to draw all men unto Himself. He came to seek and save the lost. He came to preach law to the proud and grace to the humble. He came to give life. Why are you lifting up Christ? He has commanded us to preach the gospel to the whole world. Are you? All He asks is that you begin in your Jerusalem. Do you have the ministry of reconciliation? Why should we ever want to hoard the greatest gift that God has ever bestowed on mankind? Christ was lifted up for YOU. Now point the sinner to the cross. Jesus is waiting.

When is Christ lifted up?

Christ is lifted up when we, like John the Baptist, say that He must increase, but I must decrease. He is strong in us when we are weak. His strength is made perfect in weakness. That is why He has chosen the foolish things of this earth to confound the wise. It is Christ perfect righteousness in us. Stop stealing the glory that belongs to God. He alone deserves the honor and glory.

Let’s be salt and light!

That light is the light of salvation, the light of His Word. It is not our own. All we have to do is trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding and He SHALL direct our paths. His Word is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path. We wants His light to shine on a hill. This light of His righteousness will expose the works of darkness. His holy presence, when He is lifted up will convince men of their sin. The wages of sin are made clear in light of the agony of Calvary.

What in your life is more important than God? What idol has replaced Him in your heart? I’m talking to you Christian. Don’t think that you exempt from falling for an idol. Many have fallen away from their first love. They are worshiping a God of their own imagination, a golden calf made from their own riches, those flashy jewels of self-righteousness taken from the Egyptians.

There’s no reason to let apathy or bitterness or discouragement or regret hold you back from lifting up the Son of God. Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. The time for loving your God is now. The time for reaching the lost with His love is now. The time for walking in His Spirit is now.

Don’t be afraid of the world. Nothing touches a child of God without first passing through the hand of God. We are to fear God not man.

I plead with you Christian to follow the Lord. His yoke is easy. There is no lasting pleasure in a life lived for self and sin. Jesus Christ can be your all.

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Bonhoeffer-Banner-1“Silence in the face of evil, is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless.  Not to speak, is to speak, not to act, is to act.”
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Your city has an abortion clinic. Down the street from your church stands a place that makes money on the death of tiny human beings. You drive by it everyday and never give it a second thought. The citizens in your city live in peace with the destruction of your neighbors because YOU live in peace with it. What does your “pro-life” opinion mean without Christian action to follow it? Is not faith without works dead? Are you a hearer only and not a doer?

You may be thinking, “But my town doesn’t have a abortion clinic in it.” Are you sure? Take a moment to stop and think. Your local grocery store has become the abortion clinic, the killing center. You can buy the murder of your unborn child for under $50.00 at the place where you buy food. Shouldn’t this be abhorrent to us? My town sells abortions at Walmart, Safeway, Super 1 and Sandpoint Super drug. If you don’t believe me, read this: http://ahanorthidaho.com/AbolitionArticles_02152015.html

Whatever happened to living in the land of the free? What happened to the unalienable rights that the conservative Christians in our nation tout so loudly?

What does pure religion look like in a town that sells abortions at the local pharmacies? Death is being sold freely around you at the whim and convenience of the murderer. As Christians, what do we do about it? Is there anything we can do?

We stand outside of Sandpoint’s abortion clinics and plead with people to follow Christ. We plead with them to stop worshiping death, to stop sacrificing their children on the alters of convenience, pride and selfishness. We plead with the Christians to love their neighbor as themselves. We plead with moms and dads to care about their unborn children. While we were there, I had a Christian youth pastor tell me that, “You should go where people are actually getting abortions. Go to a bigger city. You know, 90% of everyone here agrees with you guys.” The statement was appallingly ironic. We had this discussion in the parking lot of a place that sells abortifacient pills. I told him that he should stand with us and see for himself how the majority of those coming in and out of this place are actually haters of God. Our culture is in love with death.

A Christian minister that has a church in the area pulled up in his car and without even taking the time to get out began to argue with me about the message I was preaching. He said I was judging and that I had a bad spirit. I urged him to consider the verse in Proverbs 6:17 that tells us that God hates the hands that shed innocent blood. He didn’t want to hear it. No matter how much I shared with him the Word of God he refused to listen. He fails to hate murder as much as God hates it.This leads me to the question that I asked earlier. What does pure religion look like in a town that sells abortions at the local pharmacies?

The answer to this question lies in Psalm 97:10. These two Christian men failed to understand this. “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil.” This is a small verse with huge implications for the Christian today. The greatest commandment ever given is that we love the LORD with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We all already know that we are to love the LORD but what does that love actually look like in a culture that loves evil and hates good? If you truly love God you will hate evil. How couldn’t we when it was evil that separated us from God? Evil is why Christ had to submit to the death on the cross. Evil is rebellion against our holy God and Savior.

As Christians, we already know that we are to love. We know that love is long suffering, kind, does not envy, is not arrogant and proud, in not unseemly, does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices in truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things and never fails. Love is by no means just a feeling. Love is the character of God flowing out of us through actions. Real love acts.

James 2:15 says, “If a sister or brother be naked, and destitute of daily food,

And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

This is hollow faith and empty love. Acts don’t automatically mean you have God’s love because in 1 Corinthians 13 the Bible tells us that, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”

But when we truly have the love of God in us we WILL act accordingly. Love is evidenced by action. God became man because of love.

Isaiah 53:4-5 tells us that, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”

That is love. A love that took Him to the cross. A love that acted accordingly. This is sacrificial love. He gave His life for the lives of lowly man. His love was hateful. Jesus loved us so much that He hated the evil that separated ourselves from Him. Is that the kind of love you have, Christian?

As love is an action so is hate. We are commanded to hate evil. Do you? David is a perfect example of a man of God that hated evil. 1 Samuel 17:26 states, “And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” David asks, “Is there not a cause?” That question rings through the centuries. Is there not a cause today? Do not wicked men and women defy the soldiers of God today? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by whom we are called? Is not the image of God being defiled right now in your city? David was young and inexperienced but this didn’t matter in light of Who his God was. David told Goliath in verse 45, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.” That is my God. That is your God. David loved the Lord enough to hate the wickedness of this Philistine. He stood when no one else would.

Verse 46, “This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” What evil is the Lord waiting to deliver into the hands of His faithful servant? What evil must we behead in God’s name? Could God be waiting for a David? Could He be waiting for men and women that hate the evil God hates? Stand against the evil in your city. If you really love God you will hate evil and act on it. You will want to stand against those that defy the name of your God.

When you stand against evil people will say that you are hateful. Tell them that they are right. We hate evil because we love God.