Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

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  I had the awesome opportunity to have guest writer Emily Satterfield share with VOD a very important and controversial subject. These words are written from the experience of a young woman that used to claim to be Christian but was also proud to be a part of the LGBT community. Please take the time to hear her story and how she found forgiveness in the loving truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Is Christianity an easy path to walk? Is following Christ a journey that’s supposed to make us popular with
the world or enemies of it? Did Jesus promise that we would be loved or hated for His name? Contrary to
what so many evangelicals believe, both pastors and laypeople, Christianity is by nature divisive and does
not mesh with the lost world.
Initially submitting our lives to the lordship of Christ is a necessary and difficult thing that all sincere
believers must and will do, but I don’t think it’s the hardest thing we have to do. A true believer is one
who doesn’t pick and choose which portions of the Bible to adhere to, and, while that seems
commonsense, that principle often doesn’t carry over into our relationships with the unbelieving world
around us. Yet somehow, either due to lack of discipleship or courage, frankly, we are much quicker to
cherry-pick which parts of the Bible we follow when it comes to the lives of those around us. It’s scary
when the truth forces us to go beyond ourselves, and as a result, many of us wrestle with obedience and
often fall painfully short. We cower back and reject the conviction He brings us, even when there are souls
at stake.
It is not an overstatement to say that most people are under the misconception that discussing the sins of
others is unloving. “Judge not” is a phrase I’ve heard used out of context more times than I could count,
and that’s just from within the church. Yet in John 7:24, Jesus tells us “Do not judge by appearances, but
judge with right judgment.” Perhaps we have to dig beyond the first verse in Matthew 7 to understand
what Jesus meant in regards to judging.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be
judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the
speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or
how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the
log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will
see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5

Upon further examination of the text, we can see plainly that Jesus is referring to judging hypocritically.
To go to a brother living in blatant sin while you yourself are living in blatant sin is hypocritical and isn’t
going to hold any weight with your brother and could cause him to doubt the authenticity of your walk. We
must first repent (remove the log out of our eye) then go to our brother that he may also repent (help
him remove the speck from his eye). Here we see not a warning to keep our mouths shut, but rather a
charge to repent and help your brother to do the same.
Obedience to God is the most loving thing we can do for both Jesus and those who must repent. We know
that those who walk in darkness do not know God (1 John 1:6). We know that Jesus’ call to all His
followers was to “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). We also read in John 14:23 that those
who love Him will obey Him. So what is it that keeps believers from faithful obedience when it involves
others outside of themselves? That answer is found in Proverbs 29:25: “The fear of man lays a snare…”
It’s scary to tell lost people that they’re lost. It’s frightening, particularly with loved ones, to tell them that
their lifestyles are incompatible with the faith and that they must repent. It no longer looks pious and
prestigious when we go from living holy lives that look different but don’t directly affect others to
engaging with a culture that hates the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus promised us that believers would
suffer in this world. Paul told us that “all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”
(2 Timothy 3:12).
As believers, we have to be honest with this dying world, despite the costs we’ll surely face. We’ve been
granted salvation from hell and an abundant life in the present while the lost are condemned and headed
for hell apart from Him granting them repentance and faith. Jesus said, “Whoever believes in him is not
condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the
name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18). At this very moment, our neighbors and loved ones are at
enmity with God because they have not repented and believed.
Christians have been given a commission; a parting command from our Savior:

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father
and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded
you.” – Matthew 28:19-20a

Believers have been given an obligation and a responsibility to proclaim the truth to this world even when
in an age of ‘tolerance’ that’s the most unpopular thing we can do. The modern understanding of
‘tolerance’ is directly contrary to what the Bible teaches, as it demands that we not only accept but
celebrate various forms of sin in the lives of those around us. Not only can we not condone the sins of this
world, but we must go to those who are practicing it and share both the gospel and what He’s commanded
them to do. As scary as that seems, I assure you that the original disciples faced far greater risks for their
obedience as we do today in America.
The task is made to appear harder when one considers how groups like the Westboro Baptist Church have
done more than put a bad taste in the mouths of many Americans, both the lost and the saved. They
picket funerals in protest of sins like homosexuality and they do so in the name of Christ but demonstrate
no discernible fruit by which one might reasonably consider them to be sincerely Christian. Not everyone
who says to Him “Lord, Lord” will actually inherit the Kingdom of God (Matthew 7:21-23). In light of this
baggage, how should the believer go about speaking the truth to the lost about their sin? Paul gives us
the answer in Ephesians 4:15 with the phrase “speaking the truth in love”. In that verse we see that
there’s a message (the truth) and a manner that conveys that message (love). Though many will still
lump true Christians who display this character with those of Westboro Baptist Church, the difference is
known at least to God and those sheep who will hear His voice and repent by His grace.
Figuring out how to communicate the content of the message of truth is perhaps the most difficult part.
The believer first has to give that person a context for what sin is and what its effects are. This is where
the gospel comes in. We have to tell the lost, whether they are deceived ‘cultural christians’ or adamantly
atheistic, about their sin nature and enmity with God, their need for reconciliation with Him, and the
atonement He made at the cross for those who will repent and believe. In Romans 7, Paul tells us “if it
had not been for the law, I would not have known sin.” The law shows us that we’ve fallen short. The law
brings us, by the Holy Spirit, conviction for our sin. The remedy for that sin is the gospel, the power of
God for salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16). This means that people have to understand that they
are sinners and are guilty before a holy God. We have to be faithful to speak the truth to them, in love,
that they may repent. If we’re affirming sinners in their sin, we’re aiding them into condemnation. That is
not love but hate.
I became a believer in April of 2014 at 22 years old. Up until that point, since age 15, I was dating girls in
serial monogamous relationships. I esteemed myself to be a ‘good person’ and had many ‘believers’ in my
life affirming me in my sin. I was kind to my family, was a loyal friend, and was bold for the LGBT cause. I
enjoyed my sins of course (drunkenness, drugs, sexual immorality, etc.) but called myself a Christian and
boldly proclaimed “Love is love, and God is love.” I had formed a god in my head to suit my sin and my
desires that resembled nothing of the God of the Bible. I had a few people reach out to me to show me my
error and my need for a Savior but I had “already done that” (prayed a sinner’s prayer and been baptized)
and was content. I was condemned where I stood and was storing up wrath by the minute. Fortunately
the Lord showed me mercy and opened my eyes, through His law, to see my sin and my depravity and He
granted me forgiveness and a new life no longer enslaved to sin.
I did not enjoy the few times that believers came to me and pleaded with me to repent. I so much more
liked those who shrugged and either said “God will save her when she’s ready” or worse, “She’s a good
person. Surely God wouldn’t send her to hell for acting on those feelings.” Who loved me rightly? Who was
obeying our Lord and caring for my soul? It’s easy to overlook those who are in sin either because it’s
scary to talk to them about it or because we can’t fathom that they’re condemned already apart from Him.
If we believe the Bible is the word of God, and all sincere believers do, we have no choice but to go to
those who are in sin and plead with them that they repent and believe. If we believe that hell is what’s
awaiting them, how can we not do all in our power to stop them? How selfish could we be to withhold the
keys to eternal life from others just as guilty as ourselves for fear of rolled eyes or at worst, an argument?
Do we value our egos so much that we can’t be obedient to Jesus and give them the truth they must hear
to be saved (Romans 10:17)?
It was Spurgeon who said “If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And
if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell
must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”
Because we love Jesus and because we love our neighbors, we have to be radically obedient. We have to
endure what comes anytime truth is proclaimed in a sin filled world and trust the results to God. It’s easy
to let culture and fear trap us and keep us quiet and ineffective. We must repent of our apathy for the
lost, and we must obey. He can save and He will save; we need only be submissive to Him and rejoice
that He allows us to take part in the unfolding of His plan. If we believe the Bible, we cannot and we will
not be silent. “For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon
me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” – 1 Corinthians 9

What would our society look like if we, as Christians, actually decided to take Him seriously as our Master and obeyed Him? I know that it sounds like a silly question but take the time to stop and think about it. What is the greatest commandment? That we should love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is that we love our neighbor as our self. This isn’t optional or a nice suggestion. This is actually the definition of Christianity. It is a command.

What does this look like in practice? The answer is so simple that most Christians today wouldn’t even see it. The answer is in James 1:27. He tells us what pure religion looks like. Pure and undefiled religion is manifested in how we treat the widows and fatherless and how the world around us effects our lives. It is worth reading.

If our lives don’t fit the description of these two passages in the Bible than we are only living a disgusting mockery of the God we claim to serve. We have made our own god. His name is Self…we love to worship him.

If you don’t love God with all your heart you wont love others as yourself. We love ourself with all are heart, don’t we? We strive greatly, our whole lives, just to be happy, just to have that moment of pleasure, the vacation we’ve always wanted, a time of rest and quiet, a tasty meal, a good book, new clothes. We want it our way…but God wants you to love others THAT much. We should be willing to give our own desires up for the sake of others. Isn’t that what Christ did? Did not He give up everything He deserved to abandon Himself to the bonds and chains of humanity? So why aren’t you? Why do you refuse? What excuse have you concocted in a heart of selfishness and pride? As Christians we GAVE UP our right to self at the bloody cross of Christ.

Stop thinking about how spiritual you want to become or how righteous you must be for bearing all of your trials. Everything you do in life is spiritual. Everything you do is a decision. A decision to follow one of two masters. You decide to follow God or your flesh. You can’t serve two masters. If you serve the flesh, God is NOT your Master but just a nice guy up there that saved you from Hell. For most of us, we never intended to allow God to keep our lives. We gave only to gain what we couldn’t get on our own. We laid our sin crippled bodies on the alter of sacrifice and repentance only to get up and walk away to indulge ourselves on the tasty fruit of the tree of good and evil. It feels spiritual to lay down on the alter…I mean, look at all that we’ve done and given up to lay there. Look at me! I made such a sacrifice. But what about the knife? What about the death to self? Are we hoping for a miracle to save us from death? God stayed the hand of Abraham, right? That may be true but He wont for you. Jesus gave His lifeblood for you and you took it. That is wonderful but now God requires something from you. Do you know what that is? It is YOU. Yes, you.

Are you surprised? Probably not. Why would you be…you have heard this before. We are to be a living sacrifice. Living yes, but that life is Christ’s, not yours. You MUST DIE. There is no getting around it. Have you allowed God to kill you? He wants to. This isn’t pretty is it. No, actually it is the greatest tragedy of history. Man rebelled against God. We disobeyed Him and cursed all of humanity with death. Creation has been groaning under this burden for thousands of years. Sorrow. Pain. Destruction. Hate. Hurt. This is the world you create when you decide to rebel against Love.

So back to the question, what would our society look like if we obeyed God? And more specifically, what would YOUR life look like if you gave God His rightful place of honor? We have become accustomed to the phrase, “you will know them by their fruits.” Everyone has said it at least once in their life. It has become a cute Christian slogan. So do you have the fruit of the Spirit? John tells us that we WILL love our brothers and sisters IF we have the love of God abiding in us. Do you? If not, why not? This thought scares me. Have we subjected ourselves to an imitation christ? A christ that promises safety from Hell but leaves our wicked heart intact? The real Christ wants that heart removed with the knife of the Word. But our fleshly heart is still beating. Why? Have we become so comfortable in the grace of God that we have allowed the world to cheapen it? To make it a license to wickedness? What have you done THIS WEEK that you KNEW was wrong but CHOSE to do it anyway? Be honest. You did it because you knew Christ would forgive you. You said in your heart, “Stay on the cross a little longer. Let the wounds of vile sin bleed a drop more. I need a bit more of your blood to wash this sin away. Don’t worry, I’ll say I’m sorry later.”

We have gotten drunk on a perverted communion. We drink the blood of Christ, knowing that there is an endless supply. Our remembrance of Him always brings us back to what we can gain instead of what we have been blessed to give. Christ didn’t die so you could buy indulgences for your sin. Do you sin that grace may abound…God forbid! How do you that are dead to your sin continue in it? Are you dead to your sin? Why not?

If you were willing to be honest with yourself, you would have to admit that you have at least one thing in your life that is worth Christ being beaten and mutilated and hung on a cross until He suffocated to death. Think about it….”Sorry God, I just couldn’t help myself.” Are you not ashamed of what you have done before the just eyes of your Creator? My guess is that you have not cared enough to really ponder it that much. We should weep over this. It should break our hearts. It broke His…

Maybe the greatest commandment doesn’t mean much to you. Maybe “pure religion” really isn’t that high of a priority right now. Maybe the Great Commission has taken the back burner. But that’s okay right…I mean, everyone else does it. You LOVE and WORSHIP your own BLINDNESS. Being blind is like resting in a big over sized comfy chair, listening to your favorite music and sipping a nice cup of tea. Go ahead and rest. Sing a lovely song about how much you want to worship God. Raise your hand a say, “Alleluia!” There is just one thing that you have to know. Your comfy over sized chair is resting softly atop millions of bodies. Some of them are dead, others are hanging on by a shriveled thread of existence. So many tortured souls, some weeping others hiding years or hurt and loneliness behind callous laughter but they are all looking at you. They are all looking for that hope that is supposedly lying within you. They are looking for that love, the love of God. They are looking for that fruit of the Spirit. Their eyes are searching for peace and hope and long-suffering and kindness….Is it there? You have squandered the death and blood of Christ, why not your neighbor’s?

Do you remember the definition of pure religion? Well, here is your opportunity to follow the example. These bodies, these wretched souls are the widows and fatherless. They are waiting for you to meet them in their affliction. Why wont you get out of that chair? Is it too much to ask for you to set down your cup of tea?

So do you love your neighbor as yourself? The answer is a resounding “NO!” All God asks is that you be the Good Samaritan. Help someone up. Set them in your over sized comfy chair and give them a sip of your tea. True love GIVES. The examples of the true Christian life in the Bible was NEVER a group of smiling people getting together on Sunday morning and Wednesday night to listen to a sermon and sing a few songs. This is nice and even good but that’s NOT Christianity. Your worship means NOTHING to God when His goodness is squandered on your lusts and when you have refused to love your neighbor. It becomes a mockery of the whole reason why Christ came. He came to GIVE not TAKE. God wants you to give your heart to Him…your heart and your dreams and your desires and your time and your money…your whole life. God wants you to give to others.

Its time to be a Christian, Christian. If you don’t want to than my suggestion is you get out of the ranks and stop giving fodder to the enemy. Christianity isn’t a fun journey. It never was supposed to be. But it is JOYOUS. The stark reality of this is astonishing. It is uncomfortable. Some will be angry after reading this but it is true.

Jesus so lovingly gave of Himself for you and the the whole world. How selfish of us to hoard this for ourselves alone. The world is going to Hell and many are proud of this fact. Be the voice that pleads with them to find the straight and narrow path. Be the warning cry. Be the watchman on the wall. Sound the alarm. That’s the most loving thing you could ever do. We are living during a national emergency everyday of our lives. Every moment another person slips into an eternal lake of fire. Every moment another soul asks you why you were too busy or too comfortable to tell them of their bitter end. Every moment death comes banging on someones door to take them to their new home of darkness, pain and eternal separation from our LORD.

This post was written by a good friend and fellow Abolitionist. May it be an encouragement and a good reminder as we enter into the fight. God has set the perfect and righteous standard. Let us be willing vessels.

‘For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God, and the Lord hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.’
Deuteronomy 14:2
‘Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.’
James 4:4

We live in a rebellion saturated culture. America is a country founded on and won by the principles of rebellion and revolution. Americans worship rebellion, individuality, freedom of expression. Americans don’t like being pushed around. ‘Don’t tread on me.’ That is the watchword of our culture. That is the surface. Underneath we find that the truth is, our culture of rebellion is just regulated individuality.
Rebellion against standards and conscience? Yes. Freedom to immorality? Absolutely. But beyond that, the pursuit of individuality and expression is a carefully controlled and segregated. We are a culture that worship individuality in word, but conformity in action. The rebellion does not pass beyond the bounds of physical appearances in many cases.
Yet America is a ‘culture of rebels’. I am not here just to harp on the foolish conformity of our youth. I am here to talk about righteous rebellion. If I were to ask who was ready to be a rebel for Jesus, the answer would be a resounding, yes, from most. After all we are still a christian nation in census if not in deed.
Somewhere between seventy-five and eighty-three percent of our nation identify themselves as ‘christian’ (ABC News and Gallup Poll ). Rebellion is good, we like to say that we’re ready to be weirdos for God. It sounds good. It appeals to the American Spirit. Yet somehow there is a peace treaty between the world and the Christians. After all that makes sense, our nation is eighty-three percent christian, right? If that were true our nation would not look the way it does today. Does America look like a nation under God to you?

The fact is that we are not rebels, we are seldom even very different. What sets you apart from the people of the world? A slightly different dress-code? Sunday morning attendance? Those are both good things, but they are a mere fraction of Christianity! A few little things that can be overlooked since you seem nice besides your superstition.
If the friendship of the world is enmity with God, does it not follow that the friendship of God is enmity with the world?
We are not standing up! When you’re the only one standing in a room full of sitting people, they notice you. If we were standing up, we would be different. The Bible says ‘A peculiar people’. We do not need to seek to appear different, if we really follow what God say we will be different. Our nation is not Christian and if we act like Christians, really lived our faith according to God’s command and Jesus’ example, we will stand out.
We say we are willing to be rebels for Christ, yet our lives reflect little or nothing. The fact is, rebellion is hard, being the minority is hard. When the majority lauds and supports the minority, it isn’t hard being the minority, is it? But the fact is the world will hate us. They hate even the idea of a just God, the idea of consequences and accountability. Jesus is a rock of offense and they will despise Him and those who stand for Him, even if they do not realize why. For God to use us we must be empty vessels. But we have to accept God. Satan does not need the invitation, the empty are ready vessels waiting and open to be used by him. They will not remain empty, something will fill them, like the man in Matthew 12:43-45. I’m not saying that everyone is demon possessed, I believe Satan can use people without them being possessed. There are no noncombatants in this war, there are only allies and enemies.
It is hard when the rubber meets the road, when the hatred is not a vague impersonal concept of evil people out there somewhere who don’t like you. When it is acquaintances, neighbors, and friends that begin to cut a wide berth around you. If your nation is eighty-three percent ‘Christian’, than you are going to be hated by ‘Christians’!
I am not saying to seek hatred. The Bible says, ‘If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.’ We are not to try to alienate and anger people, but if you emulate Christ’s example, it will happen as a result.
Just remember, those that hate you for following God are the enemy. Did the allied forces in World War II worry that the Nazis would hate them? No, they stormed Normandy beach, they fought the Japanese tooth and nail for the hills of Iwo Jima! If the enemy loves you, then you’re on the wrong side of the battlefield! We do not need to fear to be hated by the enemy.

God has called us to righteous rebellion. True Christians have always been and always will be the rebels. Look at Peter and Paul and the apostles who ‘turned the world upside down’, ‘doomsday-ers’ like Noah and Jeremiah, John the Baptist ‘fanatic’, The world has never had true peace with Christians and never will.
I can almost guarantee that if you could go back to the inception of our nations independence, when we were newly founded, a nation under God; that the true Christians still would have challenged the status quo and still would have been hated. Even if the laws of the nation were right, they would be hated for standing for God. Maybe just to admonish people to live lives truly surrendered to Christ, for instance. They would still be hated.
As Christians, we are very fond of talking about being a ‘weirdo’ or ‘Jesus Freak’. It is easy to say and easy to rally around, but are we truly willing to be righteous rebels for God? Do we mean it? Are we willing to be hated for His name’s sake? I’m not saying that it might happen, the Bible says that it will happen. Jesus is a rock of offense to them. But to us He is the cleft in the rock, the hiding place, the shield and protector, and we can face the world with no fear.