Book Part 2

Continued......
Heb. 13:8 Jesus Christ never changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

9 Don’t be fooled by any kind of strange teachings. . .         CEV

 

So, having quoted that God does not change, we then go on and believe strange teachings …. About God being only loving/kindly?

Let's look at some examples of these subjective comments.

 

This occurred while I was writing this book, and is a typical conversation and a good example of the common current thinking:

 

During a church service the pastor made some comments that someone took exception to, and they walked out of the service. After the church service, I was discussing this reaction, sin and biblical illiteracy in the greater church in general with a brother, let’s call him Fred. He has been a very active Christian for many years with a lot of experience. I made some comments about a high profile pastor and leader here in Melbourne, let’s call him Tyson, who is very liberal, the kind who rarely speaks of sin, and certainly will not confront sinful lifestyles that are greatly opposed to Scripture.

Fred replied:

 

"Oh no, they just have a different way of saying things. It's best not to offend people and cause them to walk away.  If they come into the Church, they will learn over time and God will change them.  It would be better if our pastor had not said what he did to cause that person to leave while he was preaching.

The best way to reach people is like Phillip spoke about (a testimony) in the church service - by showing people love. 

It is better not to ram the teaching down their throat but present Jesus to them."

 

I felt grieved at this foolishness coming from the mouth of a supposedly mature, experienced Believer.

 

In the discussion where we talked about many things, I mentioned that Paul said to 'make them believe correct doctrine' and that he would 'punish them' if they did not believe it.

He looked at me in disbelief and asked "Where in the Bible does it say that?" He really had no memory of anything even remotely like that.

I was more grieved. How can a mature, experienced Believer, not know and understand such a basic concept? Because we fixate on God loving us soooo much.

So I emailed Fred later that day:

Hi Fred,

 

I have been troubled after speaking with you at church today. I grieve over the state of the Church and so few truly understand the problem and the deep false conditioning.

 

It was good to get to know you better and see what a strong heart you have for the Lord. 

 

I am going to be straight and blunt with you and I hope you will be with me. I want to really, really know God and if I am missing something, I must know about it.

 

Now, I started off by saying (with a smile) "Can you correct Tyson's theology (liberal theology) when you see him?"

You said "Oh no, they just have a different way of saying things. It's best not to offend people (coming into the church) and cause them to walk away.  They come into the Church and they will learn over time. It would be better if our pastor had not said what he did that caused the person to leave while he was preaching.

The best way to reach people is like Phillip spoke about during the church service - by showing people love. 

It is better not to ram the teaching down their throat but present Jesus to them."

 

You agreed with me that a very high percentage of the Church today in Australia are not actually a true Christian.

You did not believe me when I said that Paul said to 'make them believe correct doctrine' and that he would 'punish them' if they did not believe it.

 

I said that a major problem is that we have a fixation on 'God's love' and we have dumbed down the teaching of Jesus so much, that we do not even preach the true gospel now. We preach a feel good 'God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life, he will heal all your problems and will take care of you.......'

 

This is calling people to idolatry - all the things they will get, it's all about them. This is not preaching a truly saving message that brings in 'disciples' who take up their cross daily, are missional and keen to make more disciples.

 

You objected as though I was speaking of a 'harsh' gospel preaching, too strong, and not what the Bible commands of us which is supposedly, preaching God's love to get people saved and to help mature those in the Church.

 

I quoted some basics facts about what the Bible actually

says about God's love, like the fact that the NT says little about God's love for us while harsh things are said, things that you would say 'we should not say that because it would push people away'. And that nowhere in the book of Acts is it recorded that the apostles preached 'God loves you' to either Christians or non Christians.

But then you changed what you were saying and told me that you did not preach about God's love, contradicting what you had said earlier.

 

Of course God loves us, that is not in question, what is in question is the huge, over-emphasis we now put on it - we are fixated on it.

 

Having realized that maybe we should not preach God's love so much, you then said that you did not do that.

But then, you used a diversionary tactic by asking if 'I was perfect, no, so how can I judge?' Which is irrelevant to the discussion.

So was John the Baptist wrong to preach repentance even though he was not perfect? Was Paul wrong? Or John, James, Peter? Or Martin Luther, Charles Wesley, CH Spurgeon, CT Studd.......?

You see how it is an irrelevant question and detracting from the issue?

 

This is why I want to challenge you to consider that we do indeed have a fixation on preaching 'God's love' rather than repentance -  obey the God who created you.

We need to be delivered of this fixation so that the Gospel can be preached correctly. We need to have the veil of conditioning, even deception lifted.

Take note how often Christians will go back to God's love, and Jesus not being judgmental etc... in your discussions and in church.  

Notice how people in the Church need to have this affirmed in order for them to function as a Christian - it is a drug of dependence, but we keep on administering it and think we are doing what God wants us to do.

 

The reason we have soooo many unsaved in the Church now,  is because we did not preach the true self-sacrificing gospel in the first place like Jesus did:

 

- Luke 9:23  And he said to them all, "If you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, take up your cross every day, and follow me. 

 

This is the verse I was referring to about Paul from the Bible in Basic English version:

 

- 2Cor. 10:2 (Yes, I make my request to you, so that when I am with you I may not have to make use of the authority which may be needed against some to whom we seem to be walking after the flesh. 

(ETR Version - I plan to be very bold against those people when I come. I hope I will not need to use that same boldness with you.)

3  For though we may be living in the flesh, we are not fighting after the way of the flesh 

4  For the arms with which we are fighting are not those of the flesh, but are strong before God for the destruction of high places; 

5  Putting an end to reasonings, and every high thing which is lifted up against the knowledge of God, and causing every thought to come under the authority of Christ; 

6  Being ready to give punishment to whatever is against his authority, after you have made it clear that you are completely under his control. (ETR Version - We are ready to punish anyone there who does not obey, but first we want you to be fully obedient.)

7  Give attention to the things which are before you. If any man seems to himself to be Christ's, let him keep in mind that we are as much Christ's as he is. 

8  For though I might take pride in our authority which the Lord gave for building you up, and not for your destruction, it will not be a cause of shame to me: 

9  That I may not seem to have the desire of causing you fear by my letters. 

10  For his letters, they say, have weight and are strong; but in body he is feeble, and his way of talking has little force. 

(ETR Version - "Paul's letters are powerful and sound important, but when he is with us, he is weak and the worst speaker you have ever heard.")

11  Let those who say this keep in mind that, what we are in word by letters when we are away, so will we be in act when we are present.

(ETR Version - Those people should know this: When we are there with you, we will show the same power that we show now in our letters.)

 

Cannot be made any clearer that this, so why are we so weak and pathetic?:

- 1 Tim. 5:20 As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

 

But you say we should not offend anyone, causing them to leave?

 

Another instance:

- 1 Cor. 4:21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?

 

Another instance:

- 2Cor. 7:8  I don't feel bad anymore, even though my letter hurt your feelings. I did feel bad at first, but I don't now. I know that the letter hurt you for a while. 

9  Now I am happy, but not because I hurt your feelings. It is because God used your hurt feelings to make you turn back to him, and none of you were harmed by us.            CEV

 

Another:

- 2 Cor. 2:9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.  NIV

 

Another:

- 2 Thes. 3:14 Take special note of anyone who does not obey our instruction in this letter. Do not associate with them, in order that they may feel ashamed.    NIV

 

More:

- Gal. 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

 

- Gal 2:11 But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong...... 14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in front of them all....

 

- Phil. 3:2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 

 

- Acts 13:10 Then he said, “You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good!

 

- Rom. 11:22 Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness.

 

- 1Cor. 5:5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 

 

You know why you have not noticed these Scriptures and think that I am too harsh? Simply because, as I said to you 'we are so busy preaching the nice things and some neutral things that we lose focus on how important the harsh things are. We cannot even use them in our Christian walk or ministry. If we relegate them to the 'too harsh' basket, why would we ever really preach them.

We only preach half the Word of God, which is a false word and a false gospel. This is very, very serious, but we say "Oh they just have a different way of preaching it."

 

But you say we should not be too direct in our preaching, we just love them and somehow in time, they will change.

How? Why would sinful people who love their 'God-given benefits and comforts' give them up without clear,  straight teaching on it? There is no incentive.

Since when was it ok to fill the Church with fake Christians?

That is our foolish Pharisaical tradition.  

 

Christianity is not a happy club for little children, where we are not to offend anyone! We MUST offend people with the truth, or we are NOT preaching the true gospel and Word of God. 

1 Cor. 14:20 Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 

 

Jesus not only stated that 'you are either for me or against me' but that is how he approached all his teaching and most of his interaction with people.

Yet what you advocated, what we believe and act is the opposite - the current belief is that if we turn some away because we said something that offended them, we somehow did it wrong and not something Jesus would do.

It is just another false tradition of men that we hold to, just like the Pharisees whom Jesus condemned.

 

No, we have made the Church a haven for Pharisaical, so-called Christians and they drag everyone else down.

The clear, straight preachers are not allowed to preach anymore, because the pretend Christians filling the Church will not let them - they might leave.

God wants to take the Church back, and He will - a great shaking is coming to the Church. If we refuse to do things  God's way, He will do it His way, and we must not stand in His way brother.

 

If the truth be told, we do not even know God any more,

because we only believe in a single faceted God - love.

 

Love you brother, let me know what you think.

 

God is so good,

Neil

 

Do you see how even seniors in the faith are 'Biblically illiterate' because our traditions blind us to the unpleasant Scriptures.

Everything is read through the distortion of 'God loves us soooo much'(read: God is only nice.)

  

The results of this, is that we then discern everything, not by what the Bible actually says, but by how we 'sort of, kind of remember what the Bible says.'

Most Christians are like Fred, they don’t know what the Bible says, they only know what it ‘kind of’ says, we  are constantly judging things by ’how we sort of, kind of remember’ what the Bible says but we are so very wrong in so many things.

 

And then we teach others the wrong things.

Just like Jesus said of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law - 'Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.'  Matt. 15:14

 


How terrible for the Western Church to be in such a state. Is there any hope for the Western Church?

 

When Fred said:

' It's best not to offend people and cause them to walk away.  If they come into the Church, they will learn over time and God will change them. . .'

And

' It is better not to ram the teaching down their throat but present Jesus to them.'

 

How can one reconcile that with Scripture which says:

 

Eph. 5:11 Have no part in the things that people in darkness do, which produce nothing good. Instead, tell everyone how wrong those things are.   ERV

 

Psalm 7:11 God is a good judge.

                 He always condemns evil.                 ERV

 

And our God told us that we are the salt of the earth.

Not only that, but He said if we lose our savor, we are useless.

So, being the salt of the earth as God commanded, is ramming the truth down their neck by our traditions?

 

Guess who is wrong, so very wrong?

 

And if I may be so bold as to echo Jesus’ conclusion for those followers who have lost their savor – a great many of us are useless to the Kingdom of God and all we are ‘good for is to be thrown out and walked on.’ (Matt. 5:13 CEV)

 

If you are offended by that, you show that you still do not truly know God, His Kingdom call on us, His missional commands, His missional expectations or His values.

 

Another example:

 

Dan, a Christian blogger, in an article where he refutes the statement that Jesus speaks more about hell that any other subject:

 

'.......Continuing to promote that falsehood severely undermines Christ’s true message—which is the love of God and neighbor that Jesus himself called The Greatest Commandment.

Turning Jesus’ gospel of love into a “gospel” of fear, damnation and punishment is either alarmingly ignorant or intentionally manipulative. Either way, it’s very bad news indeed, and needs to stop.....'[11]                                                                                   Dan          

It didn't matter how much I appealed to Scripture, I was met with the same old insistence that 'Jesus was only caring with people - he loved people'.

 

So again, telling the truth by God's standards is now a 'gospel of fear' by our standards and traditions?

 

This is so typically subjective of the progressive liberals, but it has flooded the evangelical churches too.

 

Another person in the discussion said to me:

 

Bones  comment to me:

'......your Jesus isn't the Jesus of the gospels.

He's someone to fear.

You've made god in your own image.'

 

I have been accused of this many times, just as others have, when they speak biblical truths.

No, it is he that has 'made a god' of his liking.'

 

How can one break through such blind conditioning?

I decided that 'facts don't lie' and I needed to go through the interactions Jesus had, in all four gospel accounts, and count up how many times He was kindly and how many times he was less than nice.

In the light of clear proof, maybe Christians would stop their robotic claims - recycling the popular view - and listen attentively to the Word of God.

 

I looked at every single instance of an interaction Jesus had with people, in all four gospel accounts. I wanted to know how often Jesus was kindly, tender; over and against how often He was stern.

 

This is the result:

 

I found that Jesus was stern much more often than he was nice - more than double.

Only 11% of his interactions were warm, while 28% were stern or otherwise, leaving 61% as neutral interactions or not giving enough information to tell otherwise:

 

For the record; I did not try to isolate where it may have been the same instance reported on twice by different writers. I did this because it is impossible with some things to know if it was the same instance or a different occasion. I then decided to accept all instances as being what God wanted in His Word to communicate whatever He did.

 

How can 89%(neutral & stern) of Jesus' interaction with people, equate to Jesus supposedly being ‘only kind and tender-hearted with people?'

With the inference that He was always kindly and on the rare occasion he was not, He had a good reason because the person being addressed was so wrong, that that instance does not count.

 

Oh! How blind we are! We do not even know the God we serve. We claim to be the keepers of the 'true knowledge of God and the Bible' but we are really quite biblically illiterate – again, our bold claims are based on 'sort of, kind of’ remembering what the Bible says rather than what the Bible does actually say in black and white.

And tragically, this applies to so many pastors too.

 

But the quoting of Scriptures where Jesus was harsh or stern, does not easily silence us into thinking more deeply about these things. No, we are determined to protect our pet doctrine, and we search for an excuse for them, we find a loophole - "Jesus was only like that to the proud Pharisees, priests and teachers of the law not the general people" as though this now answers all. (Later, I will prove statistically, that this statement is in fact false.)

So, we just contradicted ourselves. Jesus was not always   'kindly' in his interactions. In fact, the record shows Jesus was often ‘unkindly’ and was not often kindly as I just showed statistically.

 

We automatically think that when Jesus spoke, he is doing it in a tender way: when Jesus says 'do not worry' we imagine it said tenderly 'Don't worry(I am with you)' but these things were usually said in a challenging or confrontive way "Do not worry(it is only because you have hard hearts that you worry, now stop it).”

Jesus did both ways, but we demand only the nice way to be fact.

 

I would go so far as to say that, anyone who claims that 'God is nice' has never truly met Him.

In seeing, they cannot see how the Bible clearly describes God.

God is called many things, but 'nice' is so shallow, so as to be false.

 

Even the 'kindly' instances, are mostly indirect rather than someone feeling very loved and warm:

Matt. 9:36  When he saw the crowds, he felt sorry for them. They were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.                   CEV

 

Let's look at a few instances with the Jewish leaders and while we go through these, think about how today, anyone saying such things would be called, hateful, unloving, un-Christian and not being like Christ:

Mark 12:38 Jesus also taught: “Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. 

39 And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. 

40 Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be more severely punished.”                NLT

 

Matt. 12:39  But Jesus replied: You want a sign because you are evil and won't believe! But the only sign you will get is the sign of the prophet Jonah.                                                                          CEV

 

But, we say, you should never say someone is evil, the most we can say it "You acting in an evil way" not evil itself. Because that will harm their self-esteem and drive them away from our church and away from God.

Yes, saints will be called hateful for speaking the truth(in not-so-evident love) but that is only because we hate the truth:


To love is to warn of danger.

We now live in a world where normal, need-to-know  facts offend people.

And we hate being offended, so to remove any offense, those facts must be relegated to the 'unacceptable bin' and classed as wrong.

Therefore, they are no longer acceptable facts.

Therefore, facts that offend cease to be facts.

 

We cannot change facts however much we deny, whine and pout, and we will be reminded of that when we stand before the Holy God.

 

Jesus loved so much that He warned and warned and warned again. Even though it would cost Him His life.

And Paul too:

Act 20:31  Be on your guard! Remember how day and night for three years I kept warning you with tears in my eyes. 

What else do you think the writer to the Hebrews meant when he wrote"

 

Heb 10:24  and let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works….                            MKJB

 

It's is a strong Greek word used here, some translations use the weaker 'encourage' to translate it, but others use the word 'stir up' which is a better translation conservative scholars tell us.

 

Yet if we do this, we will be accused of 'stirring up trouble.'

We have to get over that accusation and do our job.

If you are not considered a stirrer, you are most likely not doing the job you were called to do and that which Jesus died for.

 

Yes, Jesus loved enough to warn and speak the truth boldly:

Matt. 16:3  And in the morning, foul weather today; for the sky is red and gloomy. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky, but you cannot see the signs of the times! 

4  A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign.....                                                                            MKJV

 

Matt. 21:31  Which one of the sons obeyed his father? "The older one," the chief priests and leaders answered. Then Jesus told them: You can be sure that tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you ever will!                 CEV

 

Matt. 21:43  I tell you that God's kingdom will be taken from you and given to people who will do what he demands.                                          CEV

 

Demand? But this also is problematic for us. No, Jesus would never 'demand' surely. We need to get back to the basics and realize that God Is God, we are not. We ought to obey the Holy God without complaining.

Basically, we need to grow up. Who do we think we are?

 

Matt. 22:18  But Jesus realized their evil intentions and said, "Hypocrites! Why are you testing me?

                                                                                         Net

Mark 7:6  Jesus replied: You are nothing but show-offs! The prophet Isaiah was right when he wrote that God had said, "All of you praise me with your words, but you never really think about me.                                                                                            CEV

Matt. 23:13, 14  ...."How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You lock the door to the Kingdom of heaven in people's faces......

15  "How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! .....win one convert; and .... make him twice as deserving of going to hell as you yourselves are!

16  "How terrible for you, blind guides!....

17  Blind fools!....

19  How blind you are!.....

23  "How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites!......you neglect to obey the really important teachings of the Law......

24  Blind guides!....

25  ...."How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You clean the outside of your cup and plate, while the inside is full of what you have gotten by violence and selfishness.

26  Blind Pharisee! Clean what is inside the cup first, and then the outside will be clean too!

27  "How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside but are full of bones and decaying corpses on the inside.

28...on the outside you appear good to everybody, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and sins.

29  "How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! ...... 33  You snakes and children of snakes! How do you expect to escape from being condemned to hell?.......

35  As a result, the punishment for the murder of all innocent people will fall on you.....

36  I tell you indeed: the punishment for all these murders will fall on the people of this day!       GNB

 

What a terrible thing to say to the Jews:

27  "How terrible for you, teachers of the Law and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside but are full of bones and decaying corpses on the inside.                                      GNB

 

That they were like unclean, dead, decaying bones.

Today, that would be seen as excessive, even being nasty and totally self-righteous.

 

Question. Now, I'm serious, please explain, where Jesus is showing love in any these instances? Because it's there, but not by our definition of God's 'love'.

 

Q) Where is the love of Jesus in the above instances?

 

Our post-modern theology does not have an answer to that question. We are not theologically equipped to even answer such a simple question honestly.

 

A)  His love has much higher priorities than what we dwell on, it was for the Father, the Kingdom and for Truth.

Yes, Jesus loves Truth more than He loves us, for to love Truth, is to love God. And to blur biblical truth is to show a form of contempt for God.

 

This puts it all back into perspective does it not?:


When Jesus instructed his disciples to:

 

Luke 9:5  If people won't welcome you, leave the town and shake the dust from your feet as a warning to them."

 

Well, by our sentimental standard, that is not a very nice thing to do. Why are we so focused on 'being nice' when the far, far more important thing is to do everything God's way because His truth is so very important?

 

How shocking for us to contemplate.

You have to agree, that most of us, with very few exceptions, would think or tell Jesus, that He was :-

 

·       not being Christ-like

·       not being very loving

·       too judgmental

·       not modeling Christ

·       not Christian

·       unloving

·       who do you think you are?

·       not 'of us'

·       deeply lacking any real empathy or concern for a perishing people

·       where's the love in something like that?

·       certainly not a Christian

·       should keep his unloving views to Himself

·       not very helpful

·       that was completely unnecessary

 

Modeling Jesus - there is so much said about 'modeling Jesus' these days, do you pastors want to model Jesus more accurately?

 

Then don't ever preach 'God loves you'. Right!

Only speak of it to an individual or maybe a small private group, if there really is a need for it.

Be like Jesus and spur your people on to growing in God, the mission and holiness, defeating sin in their lives, enduring hardships without the need for ‘counseling’, and so on.

 

No, like Jesus I do not want to talk about the love of God with people and that He has a wonderful plan for their lives. I really want to share the plan of God with them - the Gospel – God is holy and though they are stuck in hell-deserving sin, Jesus died for their sin and was resurrected back to life. He is fully capable of saving them.

 

And so, in the example of Jesus, I say to you, let us repent of our hard hearts, our false sentimental declarations and our Pharisaical attitudes.

 

Now, for those who want to incorrectly insist that, 'But that was Jesus, He was God and we should never do that' consider these:

 

John the Baptist:

Luke 3:7  Crowds of people came out to be baptized, but John said to them, "You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from the coming judgment?                                                    CEV

Paul:

2Cor. 7:8  I don't feel bad anymore, even though my letter hurt your feelings. I did feel bad at first, but I don't now. I know that the letter hurt you for a while. 

9  Now I am happy, but not because I hurt your feelings. It is because God used your hurt feelings to make you turn back to him, and none of you were harmed by us.                                                    CEV

 

Yet we are so shocked if someone intentionally offends a person for the Kingdom's sake. How unloving, we say, how judgmental, I don't think that person could even be a real Christian, we think.

 

Gal. 5:12  I wish that everyone who is upsetting you would not only get circumcised, but would cut off much more!                       CEV

 

Well, that was uncalled for Paul, that is not love.

 

Gal. 1:8 Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. 9 I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.

 

Gal. 2:14  But when I saw that they were not really obeying the truth that is in the good news, I corrected Peter in front of everyone and said: Peter, you are a Jew, but you live like a Gentile. So how can you force Gentiles to live like Jews? CEV

 

We do not even see these things, even after fifty years of reading it.

Not only did Paul,  

1)  strongly confront Peter, he did it

2)  in front of everybody.

And not only that, he then went on and

3)  wrote about it here, to the church all over Galatia.

And worse, Paul instructed the churches to

4) circulate his letters around to all the other churches[12].

 

Paul highly valued truth and sought to protect the Church, just like Jesus.

Paul truly loved the Galatians, unlike our pastors, who think ‘being nice’ and ‘not upsetting’ someone is love.

We get so very precious over some little offense.

We really do need to learn who our God really is, what the Kingdom imperatives are, and grow up.

 

Phil. 3:2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.                        NLT

 

Acts 13:10  and said, "You son of the devil! You are a liar, a crook, and an enemy of everything that is right. When will you stop speaking against the true ways of the Lord? 

11  The Lord is going to punish you by making you completely blind for a while." Suddenly the man's eyes were covered by a dark mist, and he went around trying to get someone to lead him by the hand.                                                                            CEV

 

1Cor. 5:5  You must then hand that man over to Satan. His body will be destroyed, but his spirit will be saved when the Lord Jesus returns.  CEV

 

1Cor. 16:22  I pray that God will put a curse on everyone who doesn't love the Lord. And may the Lord come soon.                                             CEV

 

2Cor. 13:2  During my second visit I warned you that I would punish you and anyone else who doesn't stop sinning. I am far away from you now, but I give you the same warning. 

3  This should prove to you that I am speaking for Christ. When he corrects you, he won't be weak. He will be powerful!                                          CEV

 

1Tim. 1:20  Two of them are Hymenaeus and Alexander. I have given these men over to the power of Satan, so they will learn not to oppose God.                                                                                 CEV

 

Tit. 1:9  They must stick to the true message they were taught, so that their good teaching can help others and correct everyone who opposes it. CEV

 

Tit. 1:12  It is like one of their own prophets once said, "The people of Crete always tell lies. They are greedy and lazy like wild animals." 

13  That surely is a true saying. And you should be hard on such people, so you can help them grow stronger in their faith.                                CEV

 

Wow, Paul was not very Christ-like was he?

Oh wait a minute, yes he was.

 

What a weak insipid virtually useless form of Christianity we have developed with our superior spirituality, superior knowledge of God and His Word.

Oh how we need to repent of our hard hearts and our pride. We need to be broken before God, humbling ourselves at the foot of the cross, in true 'poor in spirit' fashion.

 

Tit. 1:15  Everything is pure for someone whose heart is pure. But nothing is pure for an unbeliever with a dirty mind. That person's mind and conscience are destroyed. 

16  Such people claim to know God, but their actions prove that they really don't. They are disgusting. They won't obey God, and they are too worthless to do anything good.                    CEV

 

Worthless? But my pastor says 'we are all so special to God.'

And Paul says it again:

2Thess. 3:2  Pray that we may be kept safe from worthless and evil people. After all, not everyone has faith.                                                             CEV

 

1Tit. 5:6  A widow who thinks only about having a good time is already dead, even though she is still alive.                                                                 CEV

 

1Ti 5:20  But if any of the leaders should keep on sinning, they must be corrected in front of the whole group, as a warning to everyone else. CEV

 

What? But don't we say it should never be done publicly?

 

Act 13:46  But Paul and Barnabas bravely said: We had to tell God's message to you before we told it to anyone else. But you rejected the message! This proves that you don't deserve eternal life. Now we are going to the Gentiles.......51  Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from that place off their feet and went on to the city of Iconium. 

 

What? They 'judged them as unworthy of the gospel'? That sounds extremely judgmental to us and they 'shook the dust off their feet'. How rude and unchristlike.

No, we would certainly not have Paul & Barnabas (the Encourager) as our missionaries, we do not want anyone so rude and judgmental, driving people away from Christ.

In fact, we would not even have Jesus as our visiting preacher let alone our pastor. Jesus would empty our church and we all know that would be ‘just plain wrong, it is not the way to do things.’

 

Peter:

2 Peter 2:22 They prove the truth of this proverb: "A dog returns to its vomit." And another says, "A washed pig returns to the mud."                  NLT

 

Remember how Peter, when he was feeling protective of God's plans, rebuked Jesus, but Jesus, '...He rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" He said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."'

 

How sad it is that so many times, we, who are Christians rebuke Jesus, when He speaks through someone, and we truly 'do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men' also. God is going to have His way in the Church whether we choose to agree with Him or not. Surely, it is best not to get in His way.

We have preached, talked, affirmed, demanded, talked, encouraged, talked, given great honour to, talked....... about how much God loves us, how much Jesus loves us and wants to encourage us, that we have a great overemphasis on it. We lost the FACT, that there are FAR MORE verses in the NT that show the directness, sternness, harshness and 'negativity' of Christ, and the seeming aloofness of Jesus.


And what about the 'Apostle of Love' - John:

1John 3:10  You can tell God's children from the devil's children, because those who belong to the devil refuse to do right or to love each other. CEV

 

2John 1:10  If people won't agree to this teaching, don't welcome them into your home or even greet them.                                                                  CEV

 

Well that's not very nice John, we thought you were a loving person, we even call you the ‘Apostle of Love.’

No, it is we who have redefined the word 'love' to mean something so different from what God means. It is we who have turned powerful, dynamic love, into a man-pleasing, weak, sentimental feeling of little eternal value. 

 

James:

Jas. 2:20  Does some stupid person want proof that faith without deeds is useless?                            CEV

 

Yes, sadly there are many stupid people today also. Those who claim and live by the idea that they are saved by faith without the evidence of works. Mere works can save no one, but salvation ALWAYS produces holiness, devotion and works.

 

Stephen:

Acts 7:51  You stubborn and hardheaded people! You are always fighting against the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors did.  CEV

 

Yes, the Bible makes it abundantly clear, that it was not only Jesus who was harsh on people for the Kingdom sake.

What did the apostle Paul tell pastor Timothy, he do; what must be part of what we do?:

 

2Tim. 4:2  to preach God's message. Do it willingly, even if it isn't the popular thing to do. You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up, and when you instruct them, always be patient.

3  The time is coming when people won't listen to good teaching. Instead, they will look for teachers who will please them by telling them only what they are itching to hear.   CEV

 

That is what we now have as a Church!

We too, reject solid teaching and have itching ears for only what is 'nice'.

 

Gal. 1:10  I am not trying to please people. I want to please God. Do you think I am trying to please people? If I were doing that, I would not be a servant of Christ.                    CEV

 

Even though Paul clearly says he is not trying to please people, that is what we do. He even goes so far as to say “I could not be a servant of Christ if he were a man-pleaser.’

 

So, why the harsh words, by Jesus and the apostles, and why by so many?

Because Truth, matters that much! God's creation is extremely important to Him. Hell is extreme punishment that lasts for eternity upon eternity. The stakes are very, very high and TRUE love would act this way at times.

We had better not get in the way of God's unfolding plan.

 

This kind of blind foolish 'sentimentalism' masquerading as 'higher spiritual truth', is destroying the Church and the Gospel for millions of people around the world.

Then let's clearly establish this - Jesus was not always kindly, sometimes He was harsh with people too. So stop pretending that he was so 'cuddly kind.'

For one who understands God, they know that there is no conflict between God's love and His wrath - you cannot have one without the other.

 

Having shown how Jesus was not really so 'nice' as we make out, let's have a look at the other part of that objection:

"Jesus was only like that to the proud Pharisees, priests and teachers of the law not the general people."

 

We make these bold assertions in almost complete ignorance of the facts. Sadly, we feel so very righteous when we do, because as I have already stated, this 'God loves us soooo much' is now THE hallowed standard by which to measure all doctrine, practices, God and the Bible.

Again, here we are going to learn what the Bible actually says, rather than what we sort of, kind of remember it says, by looking into more of my research:

 

When we look at all the 28% stern/harsh instances of Jesus interacting with people, we find that Jesus is documented as being stern/harsh more often with the  people in general, rather than the Jewish leaders.

Here are some instances:

 

To the multitudes:

Luke 12:54 Jesus also said to the crowds....

56  You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how can you not know how to interpret the present time?    

   Net Bible

 

hypocrites -EW Bullinger Companion Bible:

Theodotion’s rendering of Job_34:30, and Job_36:13, and Aquila and Theod. in Job_15:34, and by Aquila, Syria., and Theod. in Pro_11:9, Isa_33:14, and Septuagint in Isa_32:6, show that the word had come to mean not merely "false pretence", but positive impiety or wickedness.[13]  

 

The Expository Notes of Dr. Constable:

It was not that they could not see that He was the Messiah, but they did not want to see it in spite of the evidence.[14] 

 

To cities that did not believe Him:

Matt. 11:20 Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities in which he had done many of his miracles, because they did not repent.

21  "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

22  But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you!

23  And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to Hades! For if the miracles done among you had been done in Sodom, it would have continued to this day.

24  But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you!"                                                 Net Bible

To a person in the crowd offering to help:

Luke 9:60 But Jesus told him, "Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God."  NLT

To another offering to help:

Luke 9:62 But Jesus told him, "Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God."

Exposes the woman at the well - a stranger:

John 4:17  The woman answered, "I don't have a husband." "That's right," Jesus replied, "you're telling the truth. You don't have a husband. You have already been married five times, and the man you are now living with isn't your husband."  CEV

Jesus said of unbelievers:

Matt. 7:6  Don't give to dogs what belongs to God. They will only turn and attack you. Don't throw pearls down in front of pigs. They will trample all over them.                                      CEV

To a man asking a simple question about inheritance:

Luke 12:19  Then I'll say to myself, 'You have stored up enough good things to last for years to come. Live it up! Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.' " 

20  But God said to him, "You fool! Tonight you will die. Then who will get what you have stored up?"                                                     CEV

To the crowds and the Pharisees:

Matt. 12:34  You are a bunch of evil snakes, so how can you say anything good? Your words show what is in your hearts.         CEV

To the crowd, Scribes and Pharisees:

Matt. 12:39  But Jesus replied: You want a sign because you are evil and won't believe! But the only sign you will get is the sign of the prophet Jonah.                                             CEV

To the disciples:

Matt. 15:15  But Peter said to him, "Explain this parable to us."

16  Jesus said, "Even after all this, are you still so foolish?       NET

 

Pulpit Commentary:

Verse 16. - Are ye also yet without understanding? Even yet: adhuc. In spite of all that has passed - my teaching, my life, my miracles - do you not understand in what real purity consists? Often had Jesus to complain of the dullness of his disciples' intelligence, the slow appreciation of his meaning, the indifference to the spiritual side of his acts and doctrine.              

Ellicott's Commentary:

 (16) Are ye also yet without understanding?—The pronoun is emphatic: “Ye, My disciples, who have heard from My lips the spiritual nature of My kingdom, are ye too, like the Pharisees, still such backward scholars?”  

 

To Peter who was trying to help:

Mark 8:33  But when Jesus turned and saw the disciples, he corrected Peter. He said to him, "Satan, get away from me! You are thinking like everyone else and not like God."   CEV

To the disciples and crowd:

Luk 9:41  And Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and bear with you? bring hither thy son.   RV

 

"How unbelieving and wrong you people are! . . . How long do I have to put up with you?"                                                       GNB

"You unbelieving and corrupt generation! . . . and put up with you?"                                                                                       GWT

"O generation, unstedfast and perverse . . . and suffer you?"                                                                                             YLV

 

To the disciples:

Mark 10:14  When Jesus saw this, he became angry and said, "Let the children come to me! Don't try to stop them. People who are like these little children belong to the kingdom of God.                                                              CEV

To James & John:

Luke 9:54  And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we bid fire to come down from heaven, and consume them? 

55  But he turned, and rebuked them.     RV

 

By consulting the Bible instead of what we ‘sort of, kind of remember’ the Bible says, we see that Jesus was NOT 'always kindly' but we read these things and do not even see or understand them because we are blinded by "God loves you soooo much."  

If someone says something like that now, there is a chorus of "That's judging, that's not being Christ-like.” Hence, just like the Pharisees of old, our traditions nullify the Word of God.

 

The pinnacle of success today as a Christian, is being a 'nice' Christian.  Such a loving, nice person is like perfection - the perfect Christian, supposedly. It skews our thinking and judgment.

Jesus was ‘nice’ enough to strongly warn people of sin and hell.

 

You can never understand God's determination and zeal in what He wants and does, when you believe this over-emphasis of His love for you.

You know how we all have 'blind spots' things that we do not see about ourselves?

The Church has a massive blind spot! It just cannot see this glaring problem.

Yet, when someone is rightly exposing sin, and Christians foolishly state, "That's not loving, you need to be more like Christ" they speak ignorantly of God and the Bible - they do not even know their own God. How dangerous that is, how shallow - the perfect environment for deception. And you are deceived.

 

In fact, Jesus would tell you that you are 'cowardly, with little faith' if you kept coming to Him as you do to the pastor, counselor or even a friend, with every little problem and personal crisis.

 

Recently I had someone challenge me because they said the Bible says nothing about exposing the sin of civil leaders, we must contain ourselves to only the Christian community. Really? Then how are we supposed to genuinely be the salt of the earth?  By somehow being a hidden image of Jesus?

 

Strange isn’t it, how Jesus said ‘the world hates Me because I testify it’s works are evil:

 

John 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.    KJV

 

Yet we claim that it is not Christ-like to upset the world with the truth of its evil ways. We claim to be the ‘salt of the earth’, but hide from any possibility of angering the world. Yes, our traditions of men too, annul the Word of God.

 

And there are examples in both the OT nad the NT of God exposing and calling the world into account for its sin:

 

John the Baptist exposing the sin of Herod:

Mark 6:17-18  Herod had earlier married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. But John had told him, "It isn't right for you to take your brother's wife!" So, in order to please Herodias, Herod arrested John and put him in prison.      CEV

 

And:

 

Jesus to Herod the King:

Luke 13:32  Jesus said to them: Go tell that fox, "I am going to force out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and three days later I'll be through."                                 CEV

That fox =  A figure of cunning, mischief and cowardice. Herod deserved the name.

 

But, even worse for us, what are some of the hard things Jesus is saying to us that contradict this 'God loves me so much' idea?

 

Jesus to the Churches.

Yes, that's to you and me and our churches.

By our standard, these things are not very nice:

 

Rev. 2:5 Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.                     NIV                                                    

Rev. 2:16 So change your hearts! If you don’t change, I will come to you quickly and fight against these people with the sword that comes out of my mouth.                                                ERV

 

Rev. 2:22 “So I will throw her[Jezebel] on a bed of suffering. And all those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly. I will do this now if they don’t turn away from the things she does. 23 I will also kill her followers. Then all the churches will see that I am the one who knows what people feel and think. And I will repay each of you for what you have done.    ERV

 

Rev. 3:16 But since you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 You claim to be rich and successful and to have everything you need. But you don’t know how bad off you are. You are pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.   CEV

 

Please note, these words are not spoken to the Pharisees or the Jews of that day. They were spoken by Jesus himself, to the churches and to us.

 

We are completely oblivious to the fact that we ARE the Pharisees of the post modern Church.

When we read about Jesus rebuking the Pharisees, we imagine ourselves to be in the crowd looking on. We have no clue that we are in the Pharisees group, being called hypocrites for our traditions of men that annul Scripture.

Remember that the Pharisees were the really serious, good believers. They wanted to restore the worship and serving of God. But, they got onto some wrong ideas about God, became proud in their superior unbiblical theology, and dismissed any who disagreed with them.

 

Sounds just like us today.

 

This is the Jesus whom we claim to be soooo wonderfully kindly and nice (when they say we should be 'more like Jesus') when He says to us:-

 

·       'I will spit some of you out of My mouth'

·       'if you don't repent, I will come and fight against you'

·       'I will kill those who follow the usurper'

·       'if you don't repent I will remove your glory'

 

So, I would like to know, where do Christians get the idea that Jesus was so gentle and kindly? I don't see much of it in Scripture and I have looked at every word Jesus is quoted as saying.

It seems to be a logical leap by people who want to re-imagine the Jesus of the Bible. They have taken the verses on God's love for us and massaged them until they turn out looking like 'only ever kindliness'. As the saying goes, 'if you torture the data long enough, it will confess to anything.' This seems to be the case here, and generally, the data we did not like, has been left out.

Jesus loves us enough not to be mostly ‘gentle and kindly’. He had an extremely important mission to accomplish, one that required a certain firmness even steeliness, as well as kindness.

All I can say is "Oh thank Jesus, that you did it Your way and not ours, or else none of us would ever get to heaven."

 

In the Church, we do not like people who ‘rock the boat,’ and yet Jesus was most definitely a ‘boat-rocker.’

Not only that, He taught the disciples to rock the boat’ too.

 

What we have done, is something like this.

We were given the Scriptures intact – something like this picture here:


But then, we really wanted to preach a nice message to our congregations in an era where ‘nice’ is everything. The congregation really wanted to hear a nice message too. So, we preached a nice message, and they were happy about that. They loved it and loved us for it, and we really liked that.

We kept on preaching this nice 'God loves you soooo much and has a wonderful plan for your life, and says you are special just as you are and He wants to give you an abundant life in every way, heal your every hurt, and restore every low self-esteem.' 

This Sola Affectus, 'kindly love' message began to colour the thinking of everyone, even the non-Christians. Our glasses became more rose tinted and more rose tinted.

 Now we permanently wear these rose tinted glasses because we cannot handle the real Truth oops, I mean handle the bright light.

 

This is the typical  pair of 'God's Great Love' rose tinted glasses:

 


            


[1] http://www.orcuttchristian.org/What%20did%20Jesus%20Teach.pdf

[2]  The Dreadful Harvest - Leon Morris Christianity Today, May 27, 1991

[3] http://www.khouse.org/articles/2003/491/ Dr Chuck Missler

[4] The Foundations of the Christian Doctrine - page 305. Kevin J Conner

[5] 6 Questions on Hell - Mark Driscoll

[6] How Can I Know? - Robert Jeffress

[7] Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and His Confrontation with the World

[8] The Ultimate Religious Decision - John MacArthur

[9] interview with John Piper - Rick Warren

[10] Heaven and Hell - Jerry Falwell

[11] http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unfundamentalistchristians/2015/01/did-jesus-speak-more-about-hell-than-about-heaven/

[12] Col 4:16 After this letter has been read to your people, be sure to have it read in the church at Laodicea. And you should read the letter that I have sent to them.     CEV

[13] Companion Bible - Luke 12:56

[14] https://www.studylight.org/commentary/luke/12-56.html

 


 Now, when we read the Scriptures, they look something like this.

It's wonderful, we have got rid of all manner of unpleasant commands and truths.

See?


It works just like that. It does, I made up some rose tinted glasses and tried it out, and this is the resulting image.

Now, and in order to get our proper eyesight back, we need radical surgery - cut out the 'God loves us so much' elements from our life. The blindness do not have to be permanent, it can be corrected, but it will take commitment and hard work.

 

Pastors, stop preaching it and preach Christ, in repentance, in holiness, in judgment, in deep humility, in prayer.......... 

 

What did Martyn Lloyd-Jones say about this?:

“It is not surprising that the cross has been discounted by modern theologians; it is because they have started with the love of God without His holiness.”             

 

What did R.C. Sproul say about this?:

“The failure of modern evangelicalism is the failure to understand the holiness of God.”

 

Church! We need radical surgery - cut out the 'God loves us so much' elements from our life – from your thinking, from your Church if necessary and pray for personal revival.

How right Ravenhill is. The 'sinners prayer' with little understanding of how vile our sin is and little life-changing repentance, produces a goat who believes he is a sheep.


An elderly retired Baptist pastor told me years ago that C.H. Spurgeon considered the new innovation of the 'altar call' to be most unhelpful. He felt that it caused Christians to focus on a single event to confirm their commitment to God rather than their daily walk. They would tend to rest on that, rather than viewing their day to day walk with God as the confirming factor of their genuine faith.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those words are so profound for this era.

It is hard to imagine not doing altar calls because they have been the norm for so long. We cannot imagine how it could possibly work without them.

 

But this is a very good point. A person's relationship with God is primarily between them and God. They need to make their own decision and they need to maintain that commitment. Daily.

We are much too quick to offer shallow words of 'assurance of salvation' to one who is unsure or struggling. Let them struggle and work it through with God - learning to cling to God despite all other problems and let the Holy Spirit give them the assurance.

Hold their hand when necessary, but do not be quick to offer God’s assurance of salvation.

Sadly, our desire to 'help' people, causes us to identify too much with their discomfort, rather than point them in the right direction and find their salvation and their answers in God.

We claim that to have a relationship with God is so important. Well then, let people work out their faith in their relationship with God. They will mature. If they never have to wrestle with their problems and sins, because we saved them, with ever-comforting words of reassurance, how will they grow?   

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x Jesus was always kindly with people = No, not true at all.


 

Chapter 12. Was Jesus Always Kindly To The Sick
Was Jesus always kindly to the needy, sad and sick then?

In short, no, not particularly.

Yes, Jesus was kind, He came to die and warn people of hell, but that's not the type of 'kindness' we elevate.

 

In this chapter I want to take it a step further and challenge the popular but false idea that Jesus was only ever nice to the needy. The idea that Jesus would never be hard on anyone that was already suffering in some way.

And at the same time, I want to challenge our belief and practice of only ever speaking kindly to the needy. We hold this rather strange idea, coming from secular psychology, that it is only by being nice, that you help someone out of their problems, their sin, and their bondages.

That it is only by 'encouragement' that you help a troubled person out of their troubles.

 

If this 'kindness is a better motivator than criticism/challenge' is so true and fundamental to human nature, why didn't Jesus do it that way?

How foolish we are with our traditions of men.

 

Sometimes 'tough love' is needed. We exercise double-think on this issue, one minute declaring that 'encouragement better motivates than correction' and the next minute in a different discussion, agreeing that there are times ‘tough-love’ is needed.

Well, we say tough love is sometimes needed, but ‘don't anybody ever use it on someone else, unless that person is not particularly liked’ - then it's completely appropriate.

 

This concept is closely akin to the saying we love to quote:

 

'You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar'.

 

This saying is quoted as though it were Scripture, and the end of all arguments about getting non believers into the Kingdom. It is not ‘the ultimate’ Scripture for evangelistic techniques – it is not even Scripture at all. This saying is used in such a shallow way, to thwart any hard words and force everything to conform to our Sola Affectus gospel.

However, this saying is useful when speaking about personal attitudes toward others, yes, it is generally true.

 

Again, this is typically where many people will over react and object with “How are you are you going to get people in if you are hard on them?”

***Sigh***

What a foolish, disingenuous thing to say. Did I say anything about not being caring or nice? No! This kind of comment is one of pretence, as though I was what I was saying.

I can weep for that person while I tell them that ‘unless they repent, they will go to hell to pay for their own sins.’ I could say it in a kindly way.

Of course we should endeavour to be nice to people, but the gospel requires that we challenge people to repent of their sin too. Both those who are believers and those who are not.

 

If Jesus had commanded "Go and bring as many people in as you can, don't be too fussed about their lack of devotion, sin or commitment" then this saying would be entirely appropriate:

 

'You  catch more flies with honey than with vinegar'

 

This is the aim of modern marketing and advertising – just get in as many consumers as you can.

But Jesus did not in any way, propose that kind of evangelism. He said "Go and make disciples.”

That requires not just people, but ‘filtered people’ - those who hear, 'repent and die to the world for the Lord, and be prepared to die, take up their cross daily and follow Christ. If they do not, they are not worthy of Me.'

That, is what Jesus commanded! We simply preach what we were told to allowing the Word and the Holy Spirit to filter people – people will choose for themselves if they are prepared to die to self and  follow Christ and His demands.

 

Note Jesus’ way of ‘filtering’ volunteers to the cause:

 

Luke 9:61 Then someone said to Jesus, “I want to go with you, Lord, but first let me go back and take care of things at home.”

62 Jesus answered, “Anyone who starts plowing and keeps looking back isn’t worth a thing to God’s kingdom!”                             CEV

 

If some leader today was to say such a thing, we would say “What a stupid leader, how are they going to get help from anyone with an attitude like that?”

No! Jesus is not stupid, we are. The Kingdom of God is to be presented as God’s own possession, and presented in the way He did it – it will cost you everything.

The Kingdom of God is not ours to ‘sell off cheaply’ so that we can just to get them in. Which is largely what we have done and we got in many who are unfiltered and unacceptable to God. What arrogance.

Why do we constantly entice people into the Church, these 'consumers' rather than the 'givers'? We insult a Holy God by trying to sell  ‘good life’ to sinners.

Jesus commanded a tough call, not a 'get everyone in that you can with any promise you can' sales pitch.

We are not building a fun multi-level marketing company, selling cheap eternal grace, we are building the Kingdom of God, for a Holy God, the Lord of all creation. 

 

Think about it; if you wanted the best mountain climbing team, would you just get anybody you could into the team?

No, you would lay out the requirements and commitment needed and begin to filter out those who were not fully committed. Your life depends on it. It has nothing to do with catching more people with sweetness.

We bring our silly worldly expectations and traditions of men into the Church.

We have dumbed down God, the Bible, Jesus and Christianity so much, that we do not see them as being worthy of 'getting in' those whom who They say are the  right ones. No, we have a better idea 'let's get in everyone because God loves everyone so much.'

 

This saying like so many sayings, MUST be interpreted within it's context, otherwise we use it simplistically to interpret the Bible.

So, to use this saying as a blanket statement over all ministry interactions, is false. It is a pretext - something we have taken out of it's true context to mean something that it does not.

 

Here are some examples where Jesus was stern.

Of course He did it in love, that's not in question, (just a very different kind of love than what we peddle) but He was stern:

 

Jesus to the frightened disciples:

Matt. 8:26 But he said to them, "Why are you cowardly, you people of little faith?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it was dead calm.                                                           NET

 

God's Word Translation:

"Why do you cowards have so little faith?"

 

To a frightened Peter:

Matt. 14:31  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"                NET

 

To a broken Peter who had denied his Lord, Jesus said:

John 21:17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly(listen to me carefully) I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”                                    CEV

 

What? No wonderfully reassuring cuddle and encouraging words? If only Jesus would take our advice, He could do it in a more loving way.

Hmmm, brings to mind 'For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom.' (1Cor. 1:25.)

 

To the disciples after the upheaval of the trial & crucifixion:

Mark 16:14  Afterwards, Jesus appeared to his eleven disciples as they were eating. He scolded them because they were too stubborn(hardness of heart) to believe the ones who had seen him after he had been raised to life.      CEV

 

Other versions translate it as:

- reproached

- rebuked

- criticized

- sharp words

- berated

- put them to shame

 

To a gentile woman pleading for her sick daughter:

Mark 7:27  And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”       ESV

 

To the publicly humiliated woman caught in adultery:

John 8:11  “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Now go and sin no more.”     BSB

 

Pulpit Commentary:

He does not say, "Go in peace," or "Go to peace;" but from this moment, this awful "now" (?p? t?? ???), "sin no more."  

Cambridge Bible for Schools Commentary:

[go, and sin no more] Or, go and continue no longer in sin. The contrast between the mere negative declaration and the very positive exhortation is striking. See in John 5:14. Later, Jesus met the man in the temple and told him, "You are now well. But don't sin anymore or something worse might happen to you.    

 

Popular NT Commentary: John 8:11

no more. The word ‘I’ is peculiarly emphatic. The language, it will be observed, is not a sentence of acquittal: it is rather an intimation to the woman that she has still space given her for repentance and faith.....    


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Jesus were here today and handled that situation in the same way, the warm fuzzy Christians of today's Church, would claim that He overstepped the mark of common decency, by telling that poor hurt, humiliated lady in a forceful way, to ‘Go! And sin no more!’ Because that’s totally insensitive.

No, instead Jesus should have given her a big hug,  and would have told her that she was a special person. And, He would have made a point of doing this in front of everyone, so that she was vindicated to some degree and therefore, help her to heal and be able to move on with her life.

And then He would be severely condemning of those evil Jewish men for the gross and public humiliation they had brought upon her.

By today's standards, Jesus handled that situation very poorly indeed. Yet, this very story is one of the most commonly used, by most Western Christians, to falsely silence any discerning or correct judging of sin. It is used to silence the speaker and shut down any discussion. 

 

To the healed leper:

Mark 1:43  Immediately Jesus sent the man away with a very strong warning.

44  He told him, "See that you do not say anything to anyone...    Net Bible

 

To those Jesus healed:

Matt. 12:15 ...Great crowds followed him, and he healed them all. 16  But he sternly warned them not to make him known.    Net Bible

 

To the 2 blind men:

Matt. 9:30  And their eyes were opened. Then Jesus sternly warned them, "See that no one knows about this."                        Net Bible

 

To his disciples:

Matt. 16:20  Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.           ESV

 

If Jesus was so warm and kindly, why were his disciples and friends often afraid or nervous of him?

 

Afraid to ask Jesus what He meant:

Luke 9:45  But the disciples did not know what he meant. The meaning was hidden from them. They could not understand it, and they were afraid to ask.                                                                   CEV

 

Mark 9:31  because he was teaching the disciples that the Son of Man would be handed over to people who would kill him. But three days later he would rise to life.  32  The disciples did not understand what Jesus meant, and they were afraid to ask.                        CEV

 

The disciples held back from asking:

John 16:19  Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’?                                 ESV

 

Mark 9:9  As Jesus and his disciples were coming down the mountain, he told them not to say a word about what they had seen, until the Son of Man had been raised from death. 

10  So they kept it to themselves. But they wondered what he meant by the words "raised from death."                                       CEV

 

Many times, Jesus sounds unapproachable.

 

Jesus often spoke cryptically making it difficult to understand:

John 16:29  The disciples said, "Now you are speaking plainly to us! You are not using examples.  30  At last we know that you understand everything, and we don't have any more questions. Now we believe that you truly have come from God."                                          CEV

 

As we look more closely at these interactions Jesus had with people, it becomes clearer, what He was really like.

Our manufactured picture of Jesus is something like this:  meek & mild, always so kindly, running after us, attending to our every need and discomfort.

Whereas, the real Jesus that emerges, when we put aside our traditions of men, and learn from a literal reading of the Bible, Jesus is One who is intense, stern, nit-picky, contrary, outspoken, a stickler for the truth, intimidating, very focused, bossy. Yes He did all things in love, but because the stakes were high in a fallen world, His love is expressed in a different way that what we think, want and now demand.

We made Jesus into a 'snowflake' after our own image, because we did not value the literal Bible, but rather elevated our own traditions of men.


If 89% of the interactions Jesus had with people are either stern or neutral, how could we possibly come to believe that Jesus was so sugary nice? It is just not logical it is both illogical and subjective. It is just plain ridiculous and shows how much we want to believe a lie.

In fact, it is a weapon of Satan against the Kingdom of God.

A weak gospel with no saving power is being preached to the masses! How pleased the demon hoards must be!

 

1Jn 5:10  If we have faith in God's Son, we have believed what God has said. But if we don't believe what God has said about his Son, it is the same as calling God a liar.       CEV

 

So when you declare and push the idea that 'Jesus loves us soooo much and is nice to people', it annuls the Word of God, you lie and call God a liar!

John was refuting the Gnostics, who claimed to love God, but held wrong views about who Jesus was.

We too, have wrong beliefs about who Jesus is, and the Apostle John would refute our foolish, false beliefs too.

This kind of blind foolish 'sentimentalism' masquerading as 'higher spiritual truth', is destroying the Church and the Gospel.

 

So, we now find that, having declared that it was 'only the Pharisees and teachers of the Law' that Jesus was hard on, that He is documented as being hard, more often on people who are not the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.

Not only that, but through all this investigation, we are exposed as being the Pharisees of today making up our own 'nice' Christianity. We too, have developed traditions of men that will protect us from having to obey the Bible, as Kierkegaard says, and protect us from having to obey God.

God is calling the Church to a broken repentance for our hard hearts, our sin and our dishonesty about what Jesus is really like.

 

CONCLUSION:

x Jesus Always Kind To The Sad/Needy/Sick = No, not like our emphasis.

 


Again, yes God love us. All I am saying is that we over-emphasize this truth to the dumbing down of the other essential attributes and realities of God.

 

 

Chapter 13. Does Jesus Run To Help Us?
We believe that Jesus is so caring, that He runs after people to help them, encourage them, teach them guide them...

 

I love Michael W. Smith's song "Secret Ambition" but one line that is not really correct. A popular song reinforces wrong thinking in millions of young people (well, when I say young people, I also mean the many grey-haired babies in the church too) in the absence of good strong teaching.

 

'....Questioning those in powerful positions
Running to those who called His name....'

 

Really?

In defense of Michael, he is only verbalizing what the Church believes, he is not inventing some strange new idea.

 

We have this false sense of spiritual security. We believe that God is going to just shower us with all the information we need for salvation, safety, healing, protection, etc... as long as we are a Christian. We have no real concept of having to seek God with all our heart.

The Bible show us that Jesus is not like that. The Scriptures repeatedly shows Jesus giving a little information and expecting that person to actively seek after God for themselves until they find God, and find the answers. We have this false confidence, believing that God loves us soooo much that He will tell or give us anything we really need. As though no real effort on our part is necessary. This contradicts Paul words – ‘work out your salvation with fear and trembling’[1] and when Jesus told us to be like ‘the persistent widow who kept going to the crooked judge.’[2]

 

God created man with the knowledge of Himself written within, it is up to each person to seek out the Originator of this still small voice. All creation speaks of God, each person must seek the God who made such an amazing  world. (Rom. 1:20[3])

 

Not only are we required to wrestle and persevere to hear and receive from God, but God never promised to give us the message in a ‘nice little package.’ No, God so often uses someone we do not like, maybe like a prophet, to give us the message. But we cannot imagine that God could possibly be speaking through any unpleasant person, so we reject the message.

What a ‘prince/princess mentality’ we carry, and how conceited we are. If we believe that Jesus is so kind to us, why would we accept anything but nice from anyone else?

 

Let me give you some examples of Jesus, not running to people:-

 

Allows his friend to die:

John 11:3  The sisters sent a message to the Lord and told him that his good friend Lazarus was sick.....6  But he stayed where he was for two more days.                                                 CEV

 

You may argue that this is different because God had a plan. Yes, He did. That plan was to, 'not' run to Lazarus, but to do a miracle. You can see that, in the way He responds to Mary.

Today, if one was to put off praying for a sick person, and they died as a result of it, that one would be regarded almost as an evil person.

 

To His own mother & family:

Matt. 12:47  Someone told Jesus, "Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to talk with you." 48  Jesus answered, "Who is my mother and who are my brothers?"                  CEV

 

Notice the attitude of Jesus here? Even His own dear mother He did not run after, when she was very concerned about his welfare. Jesus was a very focused person and was ‘about My Father’s business’. Mary would not be hurt by this for she ‘treasured these things in her heart’ Luke tells us when writing his account of the gospel.

 

Tell me, if Jesus' role was to tell of God's great love and to run to the needy, why did he only heal one person at the pool at Bethesda, when there was a multitude of sick people?:

John 5:2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 

3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed.                                     ESV

 

No, Jesus does not run to or after us. We seek and cling to the Father:

2Cor. 12:8  Three times I begged the Lord to make this suffering go away. 

9  But he replied, "My kindness [grace] is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak." So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am.                        CEV 

 

Kindness? “You must endure it” is God’s idea of kindness? But surely if Jesus was ‘kind’ in the way we hold so dear, He would do something more than that.

This is why so many fall away, they expected God to ‘help’ them (just take it away) in a time of dire need but He did not, so they walked. When people walk away from God in this way, it shows that they had not died to self, to follow Him. ‘God’ in their minds was more like the ‘great genie’ who would keep them from bad things and give them a good life. That is just part of the false ‘prosperity theology.’

 

Luke 9:23  Then Jesus said to all the people: If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross each day and follow me.                             CEV

 

Forget about myself? Why? Because we are sinful, weak, ignorant, and unable to save ourselves.

That is our life on earth, that is life. However, we do not need to live spiritually disabled, depending on God to run after us and keep us happy, by naively believing a false gospel.

 

Jesus – said what?:

Matt. 15:11  it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.”  12  Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”...

14  Let them alone; they are blind guides...”  ESV

 

What? ‘let them alone’ and forget about them?

That is the opposite of running after them.

This is what God said to the Northern Kingdom through Hosea:

Hos 4:17  Ephraim is joined to false gods; let him be.            BBE

 

Again we see Jesus acting like the 'God of the Old Testament'. We will look at this false concept later.

 

What do some Bible commentaries say about this 'let them alone' declared by Jesus?'

 

John Trapp Commentary:

Ver. 14. Let them alone - A dreadful doom;[4]

Pulpit Commentary:

Let them alone. Do not trouble yourselves about them; let them be offended, if they will.[5]

John Gill's Bible Exposition:

Let them alone,.... Have nothing to say, or do with them; do not mind their anger and resentment, their reproaches and reflections, nor trouble yourselves at the offence they have taken; if they will go, let them go; they are a worthless generation of men, who are not to be regarded, hearkened to, nor to be pleased; it matters not what they say of me, and of my doctrine[6]

Explanatory Notes R. Ice:

Don’t worry about them. Don’t be concerned by the hurt feelings and the opposition of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law.[7]

Expositors Bible Commentary:

He simply says "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." Expose their error by all means; root it out if possible; but as for the men themselves, "let them alone."[8]

Adam Clarke Commentary:

The words are rendered, let them alone: but the whole connection of the place evidently proves that our blessed Lord meant, give them up, have no kind of religious connection with them, and the strong reason for which He immediately adds, because they are blind leaders.[9]

Thomas Coke Commentary:

Therefore, let them alone; concern not yourselves about them."[10]

 

So, Jesus teaches in a way that insults the Pharisees, and then He tells the disciples 'let them alone' to, 'forget about them and move on'.

 

Not only is Jesus not running to them with nice words, He is NOT running after them at all.

Why do we? We run after people, sometimes for years, trying to be everything that might cause them to change and follow Jesus.

This is NOT the pattern that Jesus modeled.

When someone has a hard heart, we move on, like Jesus. That is unless the Holy Spirit shows us that this is a situation we must persevere with. (Obviously we persevere with our own family members, but even then, we must be careful to give only what the Holy Spirit directs us to.)

He does not run after us, He commands us to come to Him. We must be seekers of God - the responsibility is on us.

 

Another problem with this thinking is that pastors feel that they need to be 'like' Jesus and 'run after anyone' who is troubled. It wears them down - burnout syndrome, and it is not good for the sheep. Sheep must learn and grow, they must work out their own salvation with the Father, they should not have a pastor saving them from every problem and systematically pronouncing 'assurance of salvation'.  Let them work it out themselves, then they will truly have it, i.e. salvation.

No, on the contrary, Jesus mainly called people to come to him, rather than running to or after people.

I cannot think of any obvious instance of this concept of Jesus being so eager to find someone to help them.

 

There is the instance where Jesus sought out the man He healed of blindness,(John 9:35) after the Jewish leaders had  interrogated him, but this would be a low keyed 'running to' unlike what we envisage. Possibly Jesus sought out the woman of Samaria too, we do not know. So it can be said that Jesus did seek individuals on occasions, but not as a practice or focus.

Think of it like a busy evangelist who carries a vision for the many, and keeps focused on that, while there are some instances of seeking out a person or two, it is not the main focus for him. We ought not read our view into what Scripture describes of Jesus' ministry.

 

Jesus not only preached and spoke bluntly to people, He also often spoke in cryptic statements and parables.

Rather than Jesus running after people, the responsibility is on us to seek God. If we do not seek God, the Creator of the universe who left abundant signs of His existence, then people can blame no one else. 'If we seek God, we will find Him' as Scripture declares.

Rather than 'running to people' an objective reading of His ministry reveals quite the opposite.

 

"If you talk like that, you would drive them away Neil."

I have heard this so many times over the years, from people considered to be mature, experienced believers and pastors.

 

Some years ago I had a heated debate with Joe, a seventy plus year old unstoppable evangelist here in Melbourne. He believes in the prosperity doctrine and I tried to show him that it is not a Biblical concept. I asked him where in the Bible does he find any support for such a view. He answered:

 3John 1:2  Beloved, in regard to all things I pray that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.                                  MKJV

 

I felt like weeping.

He needs to read a simple English version of the Bible, because he cannot translate from the more literal versions.

 

Something like the Contemporary English Version:

3 John 1:2  dear friend, and I pray that all goes well for you. I hope that you are as strong in body, as I know you are in spirit.    CEV

 

…the New Living Translation:

3 John 1:2 Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.                                 NLT

 

…or the Easy-To-Read Version:

3 John 1:2  My dear friend, I know that you are doing well spiritually. So I pray that everything else is going well with you and that you are enjoying good health.                                   ERV

 

Joe finally got very frustrated with me because I could not see how wrong I was about the Bible, and he blurted out: ""If that’s all you preach (repentance) why would they come in? You would drive them away."

What! So we need to preach prosperity as well, otherwise we do not have enough to offer them? Their great sin against a holy God, followed up by eternal judgment in hell is not enough, we need some enticement?

That's idolatry. 

I found it hard to believe, yet it was the 2nd time I had been told that in about 2 weeks.

Joe would be shocked to be reminded that he had said that, because he would not say it normally, but in the heat of the moment, his deeply held belief came out.

 

Another pastor friend objected to these things and said 'You would have no one left in the Church if you said that Neil.'

 

We were not given some divine right to change what Jesus commanded.

If the way Jesus did it and taught us to do it, was indeed the worst possible way to evangelize, and it was truly driving people away, that is God’s business, not ours.  We are to simply obey. We were commanded to do it this way.  God knows what He is doing and no other option was ever offered to us.

 

I know, Jesus would have failed every modern marketing course right now, because he did it all wrong, if His intention was to get as many people in as possible.

But that's the point isn't it? Jesus did NOT want just anyone coming in - he wanted those who had truly died to self and had no demands, only humility and obedience.

It turns out that Jesus was right all along, and it is the 'best' way to evangelize, if you truly want saved, properly focused and passionate people coming into your church.

 

Why is it so hard for us to remember that tough love works better that weak love?

And why is it so hard for us to understand that Jesus said He does not want those who are 'lukewarm' when He said it clearly in many different ways in the Bible?

 

I then must ask the same question Jesus did - 'Are your hearts so hardened, that you cannot understand?' (Mark 8:17.)

 

And as Stephen said :

Acts 7:51  You stubborn and hardheaded people! You are always fighting against the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors did.    CEV

 

It is sad to say, ‘yes we are hardheaded’ because we preferred to listen to the words of men rather than to plain Scripture. And we can get away with it in this age, because everyone else is too.

 

Here are a few instances of Jesus, as we would ignorantly say, is 'driving people away':

 

·       ‘tells rich young ruler to sell all and give to poor’

You will lose most people doing that.

 

·       ‘eat my flesh and drink my blood’

This is so extreme, but we refuse to really see it.

 

·       ‘exposed woman of Samaria for her immoral life’

 

·       "You faithless and perverse generation, how long do I have to put up with you?”

 

·       "You blind fools.”

We would say that goes beyond driving them away and is so insultingly wrong.

 

·       ‘"Get behind me, Satan" to Peter’

 

·       ‘Drove people out of the temple. Twice’

Here Jesus IS literally 'driving people away.'

So, by your reckoning, who will ever come to Jesus's Church?

 

·       ‘He rebuked them for their lack of faith’

Yet our unbending belief is that you only motivate people by encouraging them.

 

·       "This is an evil generation."

Jesus scores a fail here again according to our wisdom.

 

·       “I say to you, many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able”

 

·       “It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea”

Jesus obviously has not read "How To Win Friends And Influence People.' We think we are so spiritual, advanced and so clever, but really we are so stupid.

 

·       ‘to the crowd - "You knew I was a hard man, reaping what I did not sow, bring them here, and slay them before me’

Why say such a thing? Because a true cause has little interest in a self-serving agenda.

 

·       ‘Jesus said, "You are an important teacher of Israel, and you still don't understand these things?”’ 

We would chastise a 30 year old Jesus correcting a respected elder, by saying something foolish like "Touch not the Lord's anointed."

 

·       ‘to the woman caught in adultery - "GO! And sin no more!"’

 

You don't hurt a hurt lady like that…………….

 

·       "You are an adulterer if you lust after a woman."

 

Well, you are not going to get anybody in by talking like that!

 

·       “And will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”

Well, talking weird like that is going to scare off anyone that wants a normal church.

 

"I did not come to bring peace, I came to bring division, wounding and death."
 

Ok, we just lost everyone, didn’t we?

No! Only most of them - those who would not bow their knee to the Almighty Living God and have rejected the true message.


That's just a few.

We just don't get it. Why? Scripture is clear.

Jesus wanted to drive away the ‘goats’ and the ‘lukewarmers’. He does not want them in His Church dragging everything down to the lowest common denominator - flesh breeds flesh and the number of unsaved in the Church is now so high, that they have the critical mass, and determine the overall congregational culture. If they do not want hell, sin or judgment preached, the pastor will not preach on hell, sin and judgment, and the Kingdom of God is robbed.

 

If Jesus does not want them, upon what basis do we bring them in? We must have a very strong case for opposing His will! What is it?

Strange isn't it, how we avoid conflict ‘like the plague’ while at the same time saying & singing that we want to be Christ-like. Yet Jesus declared such shocking things as "You must eat my flesh and drink my Blood” in order to sort out/lose those who were not fully committed.

If you do not want to cause any conflict, you should have thought about that before. You should have taken the time to 'sit down and count the cost' before you chose to be a follower of Jesus Christ. After all, that's what He told you to do:

 Luke 14:26 You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life… sit down and figure out how much it will cost…       V27-30[11]         CEV

 

Or do you refuse to be involved in the 'normal' conflict of being a genuine follower of Jesus by speaking the truth? That truth which offends people, because it testifies of Christ and exposes their sin? If so, then you need to renounce your supposed 'Christian commitment' and leave. You are 'not worthy of this calling' and you are not accepted by Christ.  You may find that pacifist Buddhism is more what you were looking for.


 

We were called to repent of our sin and join God's 'People's Liberation Army' in order to bring the lost in. A Cause where we die to self and obey the Commander’s commands, and if you refuse to, you will be discharged, even if you do not realize it. How can you say, you were ever really a Christian?

Either Jesus did not know what He was doing or, we are so incredibly foolish, ignorant, and hard-hearted. We are stubborn fools, spouting a lot of fleshly ideas.

 

Recently I read the Barna Research project - Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church

September 2011:

#1 – Churches seem overprotective.

#2 – Teens’ and twenty somethings’ experience of        Christianity is shallow.

#3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to                   science.

#4 – Young Christians’ church experiences related                       to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.

#5 – They wrestle with the exclusive nature of                Christianity.

#6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who                 doubt.

 

We hear so much about 'being relevant to the world'.

What 'people want' is almost completely irrelevant! Why on earth would church leaders consider what the young people favour as a guide on how to build a church? That’s not church, that’s a Christian youth club.

At no time did God give us permission to change what He required.  If every single person in the world except you, refused to accept the commands of God, you still have no right to soften the message to get them in.

 

Our first responsibility is to obey God, not people.

 

Paul Washer on this:

"When we look at Romans 1:16 we understand that Paul was not ashamed of the gospel. That might seem something unusual to us that he has to make that statement, being an apostle, a principal carrier of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

But I want to tell you that Paul’s flesh had every reason to be ashamed of the gospel because the gospel he preached contradicted everything that was believed to be true and everything that was believed to be sacred in his culture.

 

Now just really quickly I want to say this. Paul makes no attempt to become relevant to his culture. He makes no attempt to make treaty with his culture, adapt his message to the culture, repackage the message or any of the other nonsense that has become so prominent in the evangelical community today.

 

To the Jew the gospel, Paul’s gospel was the worst sort of blasphemy because it claimed that the Nazarene who died on that cross accursed, was the Messiah and the Son of God.

To the Greek it was the worst sort of absurdity because it claimed that this Jew from some out of the way place was actually God in the flesh. Therefore, Paul knew that whenever he opened his mouth to speak the gospel he would be utterly rejected and ridiculed to scorn unless the Holy Spirit intervened and moved upon the hearts and minds of his hearers.

 

Now this is what he knew. This is what you should know. If you are properly preaching the gospel, it will be scandalous and if you try to make it less of a scandal you no longer preach the gospel."[12]

 

What God commanded us to teach is wholly relevant.

God knows all truth. God intimately knows man - He also intimately knows every single person, so He is the only One qualified to determine what is the best way to save man. Our 'modern' bright ideas do not help God, they get in the way, they obfuscate and they produce death. Traditions of men, do not help and if people refuse to come into the Church with what God told us to tell them, He does not want them.

Most would say 'well, that's a bit harsh' but only because they do not know the God of the Bible.

 

I love a Babylon Bee satirical piece about this entitled:

 

‘Progressive Believer Ensures Survival Of Christianity By Denying Every Major Christian Doctrine’

 

“. . . The problem with Christians is they are tossed to and fro by every passage of the Bible, rather than remaining faithful to the ever-shifting moral standards of the culture,” Gerry told reporters Wednesday. “I’m just happy and humbled to do my part to call other Jesus-followers to a more palatable understanding of the Christian faith . . .” Read more…[13]

 

How foolish we are.

So many have now become apologists for a different Jesus and a different god. The god of the sola affectus gospel.

 

But let's look at what the God of the Bible expects:

 

You must deny self daily - Luke 9:23, Mark 8:34, Matt 16:24

 

So, forget about and deny your own bright ideas about how important you are and how much God wants to run around after your every want. You just deny yourself and obey Him, He will take care of the rest.

 

Christians instantly react to this kind of talk and 'judge' it as too hard. No! It is not too hard, it is exciting to give your life for the greatest cause of all. It is so deeply fulfilling, and gives great peace and communion with God.

Oh that we might die to self, and live for God.

 

What else does the God of the Bible expect?:

 

·       to take up his cross and follow after Me or is not worthy of Me - Matt 10:38

 

·       carry his own cross and come after Me or cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:27

 

·       Jesus told another, "Come follow Me." "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father." But Jesus said "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but you go and preach everywhere the gospel." Luke 9:59-60; Matt 8:21-22

 

·       "I will follow You wherever You go." Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but I have nowhere to lay my head." Luke 9:57-58

 

·       For not one of us lives for himself.. Rom 14:7

 

·       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."Mark 10:17-21,Matt 19:16-21

 

·       Count the cost. "Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? "So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.  Luke 14:28-33

 

·       "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. Matt 10:37

 

·       "If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother [figuratively speaking, to show how devoted we must be] and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Luke 14:26

 

·       "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you."  John 15:20

 

·       "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22

 

·       "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. John 12:25

 

If you said of my comment above 'well, that's a bit harsh' you must now also say that Jesus is a bit harsh.

And He is, by our standards of 'niceness.' But He is not harsh at all in the light of surviving a sinful world and living for eternal values and heaven.

It only seems harsh to us because we do not understand that sin is so vile, hell is so terrible, God is so holy and sin must be punished - there simply is no way around this, God cannot change cosmic requirements just because mankind finds them inconvenient.


Sin is so vile, and hell is so terrible:


'Then he will throw them into a flaming furnace, where people will cry and grit their teeth in pain.' Matt. 13:42  CEV

Consider the words of this atheist, he knows the God of the Bible better than you do:

 

Letter from an Atheist.

This is an excerpt of an e-mail to evangelist Ray Comfort:

"You are really convinced that you've got all the answers. You've really got yourself tricked into believing that you're 100% right. Well, let me tell you just one thing. Do you consider yourself to be compassionate of other humans? If you're right, as you say you are, and you believe that, then how can you sleep at night? When you speak with me, you are speaking with someone who you believe is walking directly into eternal damnation, into an endless onslaught of horrendous pain which your 'loving' god created, yet you stand by and do nothing.

 

If you believed one bit that thousands every day were falling into an eternal and unchangeable fate, you should be running the streets mad with rage at their blindness. That's equivalent to standing on a street corner and watching every person that passes you walk blindly directly into the path of a bus and die, yet you stand idly by and do nothing. You're just twiddling your thumbs, happy in the knowledge that one day that 'walk' signal will shine your way across the road.

 

Think about it. Imagine the horrors Hell must have in store if the Bible is true. You're just going to allow that to happen and not care about saving anyone but yourself? If you're right then you're an uncaring, unemotional and purely selfish (expletive) that has no right to talk about subjects such as love and caring."[14]   (Emphasis added)

 

No, we do not change God's requirements, we obey them. The Kingdom requirements are based on eternal truths, on an Infinite God, how dare we think we can modify them.   

 


 

It is true that Jesus 'would have all men to be saved'[15] that is His desire, but it is also completely true that Jesus did not and does not, want half-hearted or lukewarm followers:

 

Luke 14:27 You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me.            CEV

 

Rev. 3:16 But since you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.  CEV

 

He wants all in, or all out, not some "Oh well, hey, come on in, you might truly repent and make me Lord one day." What a horrible violation of His teaching, of His Kingdom and of His death on the cross.

 The 'Just Get Them In' mentality is so very wrong. We may have no standards but God does and it is His Church.

We take it so lightly but God does not.

 

CONCLUSION:

x Jesus Runs After People To Help/Guide = No, Jesus did not 'love people so much that He ran to the needy as His normal practice.'

 


Again, yes God loves us. All I am saying is that we over emphasize this truth to the dumbing down of the other essential attributes and realities of God.

See how Scripture does not show an emphasis on God's love for us, unlike what ‘we sort of, kind of remember it does.’

 

 


Chapter 14. What Did Jesus  Come To Do?
Or one may ask, what was Jesus' 'job description' as described in the Bible?

Was it to tell us that God loves, cares for and encourage us as we constantly hear from the pulpit?

 

Recently in a Baptist church Bible study I was attending, we were discussing the role of the Law and what changed when Jesus fulfilled the Law.

 

An older man who has been a Christian for 61 years, a pillar in his church, who has lead Bible studies, and is a counselor, made the grand declaration:

 

"Christ was to come and show us two things; how to love God and how to love one another."

 

I asked him to repeat it so I could write it down accurately.

How shockingly shallow.

What about, to defeat sin and death?

What about, to die for the vile sin of mankind?

What about, to obey his Father?

What about, the great plan of salvation -to save the lost?

What about, to glorify the most Holy Creator God?

What about, to defeat Satan before all the hosts of heaven and hell - the great cosmic battle?

What about, to empower His people to defeat sin?

What about the 'great mystery' that the forefathers longed to see?

1Tim. 3:16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:

He appeared in the flesh,

    was vindicated by the Spirit,

was seen by angels,

    was preached among the nations,

was believed on in the world,

    was taken up in glory.                           NIV

 

Heb. 11:13 All these great people continued living with faith until they died. They did not get the things God promised his people. But they were happy just to see those promises coming far in the future. They accepted the fact that they were like visitors and strangers here on earth.              ERV

 

It is cosmic and huge, not simplistic and narrow.

 

I was grieved when I heard it, and felt like weeping. What hope does the modern Western Church have, when even the older generation have such a shallow nutshell understanding of why Jesus came?

 

This is just Sunday School theology. And even then it is far too simplistic and not a very accurate sum up of the gospel. 

We live on Sunday School theology (little children's theology) and we keep our people on it too,  for fear that someone may raise a subject or concept that might upset someone.

 

When we focus so much on these ‘nice’ things about God, we lose any focus on the hard things concerning God and life. This is normal for the human mind. Consider this; this is how God made the human mind to function; when we are deeply hurt about some offence, we are to forgive and forget and the hurt of that thing will fade away. That is a God-given ability the mind has to deal with painful memories - by not focusing on the problem, they fade or move into our peripheral thinking (as we know, keeping it in focus will lock us into the offence.)

However, that same function of fading or forgetting that which is not keep in our minds, also works with all other things we think about. If we do not keep in mind the wrath of God, the reality of hell, the fact that love offends too, the evilness of sin; these things will fade from view and retreat into our peripheral thinking.

Then in our assessment, discerning and judging of all other things is compromised- we only have half the correct dynamics in mind when making our judgments on how to think or act in any given situation.

 

That’s why Peter says:

2 Peter 1:13 In fact, I think I should keep on reminding you until I leave this body.             CEV

 

And why Paul says:

2 Timothy 2:14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.                                           CEV

 

We have fallen hopelessly in love with the idea of 'love' (mainly because we want to be loved) and we really do not love God that much. We switched our affections from loving God, to loving 'being loved.'

It could be said that we now worship 'being loved' rather than loving and worshiping God.

And we will argue, be indignant, malign and reject anyone who threatens this addiction.

 

So, let's get this straight. Jesus went about challenging people, preaching the truth that He knew was going to upset people, but we think we can do the same job by avoiding any possibility of conflict.

How carnal we are! Too bad about the truths that God commands us to preach, we know better and rebel against Him, with the pretense that we are being so wise and so very ‘loving’ by avoiding any one being hurt or offended. Conflict is not of God we ‘wisely’ reason.

 

To speak about God's love for us in every given situation,  is seen as a more spiritual way of speaking, as though this is the more correct way to address all things. 

But it is NOT, otherwise Jesus would have done lots of it.

 

We should stop calling ourselves Christians, until we start following Jesus in the way He told us to.

 

I recently heard it preached with no clarification:

"Moses brought the law.

Jesus brought grace and truth."

 

Yes, that is true, in John 1:17, but, Jesus preached law far more, (remember the rich young ruler), repentance mostly and hell a lot.

Jesus did NOT preach only grace (particularly our soppy understanding of the word 'grace') and play down the hard things. Quite the opposite.

You see how easy it is to quote a Scripture, from a wrong understanding because of our false assumptions? Preachers talk about the ‘Gospel of Grace’ but what they really mean is the 'Gospel of Grace, and only grace.'

 

Please brethren, how can we be pitting grace against repentance like this? This is totally contrary from what Jesus wanted and called us to do.

 

Sure, Jesus preached some about the grace of God too, but never at the expense of repentance, law and hell - he most certainly did not preach 'grace' over against repentance, law and hell, which is what we have come to do.


It grieves me to see pastors preaching in a simplistic way, making grand theological statements about something like grace, without indentifying the usages of the word grace and what it means in a particular context. But no, we have our established traditions of men, on how we view grace. Words can mean many different things in many different settings, discussions or contexts. But we do not feel the need to really study to determine what it means, we just comply with the 'acceptable view'.

 

Yes, Jesus was coming to establish a new covenant of grace, but He predominantly preached repentance and hell.

That tells you something about God's idea of preaching grace, if we are interested and willing to go against the flow for God.

Did you know that Jesus never used the word 'grace'?

It is true. Grace was in the fact, that Jesus told them to repent of sin.

 

Why do we assume that 'grace' is only something associated with Jesus and the New Testament?

The Law was also God’s wonderful grace to mankind, given by the only God who is full of grace. Even in the Old Testament.

 

What was it that Jesus Himself and the Bible tells us about why He came?

It seems evident from Scripture, that Jesus was far more interested in creating internal conflict, bringing people to a crisis of conscience that might provoke them onto faith in God. But what we do not see, is Jesus trying to make people feel happy, or build their self-esteem. And it makes sense, because hell is a very terrible place in which to end up.

Even when James is speaking about peace-making, he  states that holiness comes first, then peace-loving:

 

James 3:17  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable[i], gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical.                           Net Bible

 

Pulpit Commentary:

First pure, then peaceable. "The sequence is that of thought, not of time" (Plumptre). Purity must be secured, even at the expense of peace.

 

We have it back-to-front, we want peace while holiness and truth come second, third, fourth or maybe not at all. If we were to look at the dynamics of what we are doing, it turns out we are devangelizing[16] not Biblically evangelizing people.

 

So, if we are prepared to see it, Jesus continually brought His hearers to a place that demanded they make a choice for or against God, in the same way Joshua did:

 

Josh 24:15  If you have no desire to worship the LORD, choose today whom you will worship,...

NET

 


 

And that is why Jesus makes this confrontive statement about His mission:

Luke 12:51  Do you think that I came to bring peace to earth? No indeed! I came to make people choose sides(division).      CEV

 

Yet, we are fixated on keeping the peace, and never causing any offence, even though Jesus said He did not come to bring peace, but to cause offense. Obviously Jesus came to bring peace to our souls in a spiritual sense, but this same truth would bring conflict and divisions in a practical sense – to many families and the world.

 

Look at the lengths Jesus went to, to cause the non-genuine followers to leave Him – those who want followed Jesus as an ‘option’ for the benefits, not by ‘conviction’ for a Great Cause – the Kingdom of God:

 

John 6:53 Jesus answered: I tell you for certain that you won’t live unless you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man… 66 After this many of his disciples quit following him and did not accompany him any longer. 67  So Jesus said to the twelve, "You don't want to go away too, do you?"     NET

 

A path in life taken by choosing a beneficial ‘option’ cannot withstand such a declaration, but a true ‘conviction’ of the reality of a cause, can. So too, a mere beneficial option cannot withstand the sufferings required to follow Christ. It cannot withstand the shame of lost reputation or the loss of your wealth. It cannot forgive the deepest cuts or supply the ability to defeat the hardest sin. The mere option cannot truly die to itself in order to live for Christ.

 

Why did Jesus come, what does the Bible say?

The usual first response to this, is that He came to die for us, but this is only one of many reasons stated in the Bible. Let us go on to observe the things Jesus proclaimed that He came to do.

Here are a few:

 

·       Matt. 5:17 " I have not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it."

·       Luke 19:10  "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."

·       Luke 4:43 "I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom . . . for that is what I was sent to do."

·       Luke 12:49  "I have come to bring fire on the earth

·       John 9:39  Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world.

·       John 18:37 "So you are a king!" Jesus replied, . . . for this reason I came into the world."

·       John 18:37 . . . for this reason I came into the world — to testify to the truth.

·       1Tit. 1:15 "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"

·       1John 3:8  For this purpose the Son of God was revealed: to destroy the works of the devil.

·       1John 3:5  Jesus was revealed to take away sins.

Heb. 10:9  "Here I am: I have come to do your will."                                                      NET
There is nothing there that shows any emphasis on God’s love for us from what Jesus Himself, said.

 

Let us now look at 3 independent lists about this question, from a range of doctrinal backgrounds.

 

Obviously, Jesus also came to tell us that God loves us, among many other things, but let's see if any of these lists found any clear statement to that effect, or shows

 the great emphasis on it, that we give it today:

 

What did Jesus come to do? - Matt Slick[17]

1. To reveal the Father.

2. To be a ransom for many.

3. To serve.

4. To save the world.

5. To preach the gospel of the kingdom of God.

6. To bring division.

7. To do the will of the Father.

8. To give the Father's words.

9. To testify to the truth.

10. To die and destroy Satan's power.

11. To destroy the devil's works.

12. To fulfill the Law and the Prophets.

13. To give life.

14. To taste death for everyone.

15. To become a high priest.

16. To atone for sin.

17. To proclaim freedom for believers.

18. To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

19. To bring judgment.

20. To take away sin.

21. To preach.

22. To call sinners.

23. To know who is true.

 

Why Did Jesus Come? 21 Reasons - Dr. Roger Congdon[18]

1. He came to fulfill prophecy.

2. He came to abolish the law.

3. He came to seek the lost.

4. He came to save the lost.

5. He came to serve.

6. He came to give His life as a ransom.

7. He came that men might have life more abundant.

8. He came to reveal the Father.

9. He came to do the will of God.

10. He came to preach.

11. He came to bring fire.

12. He came to bring judgment.

13. He came to be king.

14. He came to bear witness to the truth.

15. He came to save sinners.

16. He came into the world to be a faithful high priest.

17. He came to put away sin.

18. He came to destroy the works of the devil.

19. He came to send a sword.

20. He came to bear our sins.

21. He came to provide a pattern of holy living for Christians.

 

BlueletterBible site - Don Stewart[19]

1. He Wanted To Further Reveal God To Humanity

2. Jesus Came To Fulfill God's Promises To Certain People

3. Jesus Came To Fulfill The Law Of Moses

4. Jesus Came To Die For The Sins Of The World

5.Jesus Came To Bring In A New Covenant

6. Jesus Came To Destroy The Works Of The Devil

7. Jesus Came To Judge The World Righteously

8. Jesus Came To Sympathize With Believers As The Great High Priest

9. Jesus Came To Be An Example For Believers

10. Jesus Came To Prepare Humanity For A Heavenly Destiny

 

No, there is no specific Scriptural claim in any of those lists to support our over emphasis. Why then do we make it so important, why do we preach, evangelize and talk about 'God loves us' so much?

I would like to add one of my own here, because I believe it is important for us to keep it in mind, to help keep a Kingdom perspective. I love to ask my audiences this question, to cause them to think about where their perspective really is:

 

Q) Why did Jesus come?

I get all sorts of answers, but I am looking for the most foundational reason, the essence, distilled down to its purest form.

 

A) To be obedient to the Father:

·       John 14:31  ...I am doing just what the Father commanded me,....."                             Net Bible

·       John 4:34....I must finish the work that he gave me to do.                                                            CEV

·       Heb. 10:7  Then I said, Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God."                                                                  MKJV

·       John 6:38  For I have come down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me.                                              Net Bible

 

Who is the centre of everything?                    God.

Who is the source of all life?                             God.

Who is The great Cause of all things?            God.

To whom will every knee bow?                      God.

Who ought to be first in our lives?                  God.

 

Then, if God the Father 'sent', 'commanded' His Son to come, the most foundational reason we have and the most reasonable single answer is, 'obedience to the Father.' The primary reason Jesus came to earth is for the Father, for His plan.

 

Can you see how this keeps God on the throne in our thinking and perspective? Rather than holding to the view that we are the greatest reason that Jesus came.

Obviously, we can say that Jesus came to die for us, but this is a secondary reason. Maybe not even secondary, in the whole scheme of things, it could be argued that God's holiness or character are the secondary reason and we may be the tertiary reason, or the quaternary, quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, 

nonary, or denary reason.

Who knows? But that is not important. What is important is that God IS First and I am only a humble  servant of God. A loved servant for which I am eternally grateful, but nonetheless, a lowly humble servant.

 

Then What Does Scripture Say Of Itself About This?

Does Scripture speaking of itself show any emphasis on God’s love for us? I would like to also add what Scripture says of itself in a very simple way, with two well known, often quoted verses.

Jesus IS the Word made Flesh. So Both will agree.

 

1)    2Tim. 3:16  Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

17  that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work.   Net  

 

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges:

. . . Ellicott well sums up the meaning ‘that Holy Scripture teaches the ignorant, convicts the evil and prejudiced, corrects the fallen and erring, and trains in righteousness all men, especially those that need bringing to fuller measures of perfection.’[20]

 

It IS inspired (God-breathed) by God and useful for, yes, for reproof, correction, as well as teaching and training.

And:

2)    Heb. 4:12 For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart.                 Net Bible

 

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges:

…a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart] These words are a practical explanation of those which have preceded. The phraseology is an evident reminiscence of Philo. Philo compares the Word to the flaming sword of Paradise; and calls the Word “the cutter of all things,” and says that “when whetted to the utmost sharpness it is incessantly dividing all sensuous things” (see Quis Rer. Div. Haeres & § 27; Opp. ed. Mangey i. 491, 503, 506). By enthumçseis is meant (strictly) our moral imaginations and desires; by ennoiai our intellectual thoughts: but the distinction of meaning is hardly kept (Matthew 9:4, &c).

 

It is a piercing sword, and a judge of desires and thoughts.

Nothing there about God’s love for us in either of those well known verses, they are mostly about things we do not like to hear.

 

Just by reading it, Scripture itself, exposes and reprimands us. So where do we get the idea that no one ought to expose and reprimand us? That somehow it is not being Christ-like?

And as we are taught from Scripture by pastors, teachers and home group leaders, we are to be taught, but also our sins and weaknesses are to be exposed and reprimanded by what Scripture says.

So why do pastors, teachers and home group leaders, dumb Scripture down to be a slight slap on the wrists at worst for us, and at best, they make out that Scripture says that God adores us and waits on us hand and foot; to heal our every discomfort and encourage us for every hurt feeling?

Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart, can you hear it? Can you answer the door and the call?

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x What Jesus And Bible Said About His Work = no emphasis on God's love for us.

 


Again, yes God loves us. All I am saying is that we over emphasize this truth to the dumbing down of the other essential attributes and realities of God.

 

 


 

Chapter 15. Jesus' Instructions To The Seventy
What did Jesus instruct the seventy disciples to preach when He sent them out, as recorded in Luke 10:1-12:

 

The gist of it is verse 9 - "Heal the sick in that town and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come upon you!’''

 

Again, nothing there about preaching God's great love, not a single word about it. In fact it is far more like the way Peter later spoke to the men of Athens, by way of a 'command':

 

Acts 17:30  Therefore, although God has overlooked such times of ignorance, he now commands all people everywhere to repent,    

31  because he has set a day on which he is going to judge the world in righteousness, by a man whom he designated, having provided proof to everyone by raising him from the dead."       Net Bible

 

Yes, you read that correctly, God ‘…commands all people everywhere to repent….’

 

COMMANDS! It’s not a long winded invitation to come to ‘gentle’ Jesus because ‘He loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.’ No! He is the Great Creator and Holy God. He commands and we obey.

You see how your perspective is so very different from what the Bible clearly shows us?


Obviously you do not go around ‘commanding’ people to repent and become a Christian. No, you preach that sin is a great offence to the holiness of God; and that He will judge those who rebel; and that He has provided a way for forgiveness through Christ’s atoning sacrifice. 

 

Again, I am sure that they preached about many different things, but it is summed up as preaching ‘repentance.’  That was the emphasis of everything they were preaching, it was filtered through the prism of repentance from sin, accepting Jesus as the Messiah and  surrendering to God completely. But for us, everything is preached through the prism of ‘God loves you so much.’

Effectively, there is no need to feel too convicted by the Holy Spirit because, supposedly God wants to alleviate your suffering mind and deliver you from such awful feelings.

 

Thankfully the disciples did just as Jesus told them to.

Sadly we do not,  and when someone is Christ-like in exposing sin, we want to remind and warn them to 'keep it in balance'.



What is prominent in God’s Word?

What should be prominent in our lives and preaching?

 

We found that only about 1% of the NT states or strongly infers that God loves but so much more is said about repentance, hell, holiness…..

 

I posted some of these things online a while back and as is almost always the case, I had a pastor friend call me into 'a balance'. So, I replied with this:

 

So often when we hear something like I stated, we feel we need to bring a 'proper' balance to the perceived imbalance.

But let me set the scene - the NT speaks only 1% about God's love for us, and 99% loving Him, loving others, hell, holiness, perseverance, serving, forgiveness, evangelizing etc......
But, because of the entrenched humanistic belief in the 'highest importance of man' (while claiming God does not exist) the Church has taken this emphasis lock, stock and barrel, and so now, the Church in general, preaches maybe, 80% God's love, encouragement, healing & comfort, and 20% hell, holiness, perseverance, serving, forgiveness, evangelizing etc......and even that 20% has little to no effect, because of the 80% nice stuff we preach.

The Church in general is way out of balance in its preaching & teaching. And contrary from the modern belief that 'love & encouragement' motivates people, the Bible says 'challenge one another as long as it is still called today.'


This is going to sound like a complete imbalance that needs to be corrected because of our 'Church tradition' but when you read the words of Jesus and the apostles, it just is not true.
But Christians & pastors in general are not interested enough to re-read the NT to search this out for themselves.

 

He did not answer or get back to me.

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x Jesus' Instructions To His 72 Disciples = no emphasis on preaching God's love, it is not even mentioned.

 


 

Chapter 16. John 3:16
Let us now look at John 3:16 for any great emphasis on God's love for us.

 

First of all, before we look at the text, I want to consider two facts to keep in mind:

 

1) John 3:16 is only recorded in John’s gospel account. If God's love was so important for us to know about and to teach, why is this verse - the most recognizable verse and concept of Christianity, not in Matthew, Mark or Luke? It is only in John.

The crucifixion and resurrection are central to the gospel message, and they reported in all four gospel accounts, as well as the letters. Why not ‘God loves you so much’?

 

We do not want to get into theology by numbers, so let's not take this line of thought too far, but it is to be considered.

 

2) Again, if teaching God's love was so important for us to know and to teach, why was it penned long after the other books, in around 90AD. Only the book of Revelation came later in about 95AD.


As you can see on my perspective Bible timeline[21] John’s gospel account was written long after the other three gospel accounts.

Surely if it was soooo important,  it would have been not only talked about far more in Scripture than we are discovering, but it would have been available to the new, fresh movement of the Christian Church? Why would it appear some 55 years after Jesus established God's plan to evangelize the world and not immediately after? 

 

Again, I would not take this idea too far, but it does help present a fuller picture of God's thinking and intentions for the Church.

Or to put it another way; if we were to remove the verse ‘John 3:16’ most of our foundation for our over emphasis would disappear. This is a warning sign.

 

Now the text:

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.                NKJV

 

3) Usage of the word 'world':

 

World:

G2889 ??´sµ?? - kosmos:

Probably from the base of G2865; orderly arrangement, that is, decoration; by implication the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively [morally]): [it is translated in the KJV as]  adorning, world.

 

We are not told explicitly in John 3:16 how to interpret the word, so this alone ought to cause us to be a little more humble and less demanding of God.

Yes, God loves us, but we need to take it down a notch.

 

As Dennis, (a dear brother in the Lord, a man of rare spiritual clarity) said of this verse:

 

There is something I have long believed about John 3:16. Does God love the world? We are told that if WE love the world the love of the Father is not in us. But does that make sense? If 3:16 says God loves the world, that would exactly be the love of the Father.

Here is where I’m going: The Greek word used for “world” here is “kosmos.” There are many possible emphases this word can mean, but the #1 usage is listed as “1) an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government” (Strongs). God loves His Creation, His order, and the harmonious arrangement He set up!! For the sake of His Creation, His plan, and His order, He sent His only begotten Son, that that order through Him might be saved. 

 

God set a heavenly order in place on earth in so many ways - consider the twelve tribes of Israel, which speaks of 'perfect government, the family unit designed after the Trinity, and in many other ways.

We even see that God's physical creation is very important to Him, as we see in the heavenly city which will be built with many of earth's elements as described in Revelation 21:

Rev 21:18 The wall was built of jasper, and the city was made of pure gold, clear as crystal. 19 Each of the twelve foundations was a precious stone. The first was jasper, the second was sapphire, the third was agate, the fourth was emerald, 20 the fifth was onyx, the sixth was carnelian, the seventh was chrysolite, the eighth was beryl, the ninth was topaz, the tenth was chrysoprase, the eleventh was jacinth, and the twelfth was amethyst. 21 Each of the twelve gates was a solid pearl. The streets of the city were made of pure gold, clear as crystal.  CEV

 

Consider also, the insightful words of Dr. Peter Pett on 1John 4:8, from his Commentary Series on the Bible(2013):

 

John reveals God in three ways, God is Spirit (Joh_4:24[22]), God is Light (1Jn_1:5[23]), God is Love. He uses the most incorporeal things that he knows in order to describe God. To him none had physical form. God as He is in Himself is without body or physical attributes, He is totally separated from all that is evil and in darkness, He is pure light, and He is pure, righteous love. Thus all that He is seeks to produce what is holy, righteous and good, untainted by the effects of sin and of the world. That is what His love seeks to achieve, and will achieve. That is what His love offers. And we are to seek to be like Him. But it is not the physical world itself that is tainted, it is the spirit of the world (1Jn_2:15-16[24]). God does not love that. His general benevolence is towards His creation, for it is His workmanship. But he does not love the spirit of the world. The spirit of the world is what man has produced without God, with the aid of the Evil One, and love of it is thus condemned. It is self-seeking. It is thus in direct contrast with the ‘love of the brethren’, which seeks not wealth, nor physical satisfaction, nor honour and fame, but the good of others, and especially of those who are God’s.

 

As such God is totally distinct from His creation. He sees His creation as good. What is not good is what man and the Evil One have done with it, and the spirit that they have introduced into it. Both God’s light and God’s love abhor the spirit of the world. His light reveals it for what it is, and His love seeks to remove it and to call men out of it. It is the ‘power of darkness’, in contrast with ‘the kingly rule of His beloved Son’ where He gives to those who respond to Him ‘the inheritance of those who are separated to God in light’ (Col_1:12-15[25]).

 

It is under that kingly rule, and to those who are under it, or who will be under it, that His love fully shines forth. To those who are ‘in the world’ He shows a general benevolence, but His love as the God Who is love is only fully shown to those who walk in His light, and have turned from sin in their hearts, for only they are receptive to it. His benevolence in general is open to all, His general benevolence reaches out to all, but His full love as the God Who is love can only become experienced and personal to those who respond to Christ and receive the life that He offers, eternal life, although the same love is active in seeking to bring men to this point. It is His love that draws men to respond to Christ (Joh_6:44[26]). It is His love that has given to Jesus Christ those whom He has chosen (Joh_6:37[27]; Joh_6:39[28]).

 

God does not love all men as they are. His wrath is revealed at what they are (Rom_1:18 From heaven God shows how angry He is with all the wicked and evil things that sinful people do to crush the truth. CEV).  But His love reaches through with the aim of making some respond to Him so that they may enjoy His love. It is a love revealed to such from the foundation of the world (Eph_1:4[29]) which will be fulfilled within His final purposes. It is holy love.

 

But the message that John is emphasizing stresses that God in His ‘otherness’ from His creation, He Himself became true man in Jesus Christ, so that He might be the representative of man in His death on the cross and in His physical resurrection. It was as “God-made-man” that He died on the cross for our sins, and as glorified “God-made-man” that He took His seat at the right hand of God, a distinction necessary because while in His Godhood He was One with the Father on His throne, in His glorified manhood He received His own throne to which He calls His own (Rev_3:21[30]).

 

The physical creation is therefore not in itself evil. It is what man has made of it that is evil. And the creation itself will therefore be ‘redeemed’ by itself also being totally transformed, so that it will result in a new Heaven and a new earth in which dwells righteousness (2Pe_3:13; Rev_21:1; Rom_8:19-21). In this will His love for His creation be revealed, and all sin, all that is not light, will be done away.[31]

 

So, is the ‘world’ referred to, all the people of the world, or does it include the created world order as well?

Again, we should not be so quick to interpret it as only the people causing us to have a very high view of our own importance.

 

We can only interpret John 3:16 as a full and glorious love to every single person, without any reservations, if we ignore other Scriptures that tell us that God 'hates the wicked.' And who are the wicked? No, not just the murderers. Jesus said that showing favouritism was evil too.  Anyone not obeying God in what He has told them is rebelling against God and under His anger.

We do not know the ones God hates right now and rightly so. We are to live in humility before God, grateful that we are not destroyed because of our daily sin.

 

Also, of John 3:16, it necessary to note that it is speaking primarily about God, it is more about God than it is about us, way more.
In this verse/truth, God is the Deity, His will is pre-eminent, and we are secondary.
Even Jesus is not the main Subject, God is. Though, I would not say that Jesus was incidental.
It is about an order of things, a cosmic order, the very law of the universe and beyond all time - God IS!

So, bow and worship Him. 

 

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