I realize most hearts are all aflutter at the thought of God being their new found automated teller machine, an endless source of crisp hundred dollar bills, requiring only an upward glance and an enthusiastic 'money come to me now.'
Dreams of Italian cars with leather interiors, German really isn't up to snuff anymore, indoor and outdoor pools, and homes one can get lost in, are the stuff of many Christian's daydreams, holding tight to the promises of prosperity, sowing those faith seeds, and waiting.
I realize also that the hirelings are all too happy to continue preaching Christ less sermons, and a great majority of the sheep having itching ears love to have it so. Even when a shepherd's conscience gets the better of him, rare but it happens, he is quickly reminded of who signs his paychecks, and that the committee is meeting next month to vote on whether or not to extend his contract one more year, so he'd better scrap the sermon series on repentance, and stop talking about uncomfortable topics that make the newcomers squirm in their seats.
There is however a counterbalance to these teachings, a certain Book that is as a thorn in the side of many who hold it up to the cameras every Sunday, and within its pages we find certain truths, that try as one might cannot be expunged.
I'm sure some of you can think of more, but in a manner of minutes I found seven truths that are as relevant and important today, as the day they were penned by men inspired by the Holy Spirit. Truth has no expiration date, and even though the very bones of those who penned these words have long turned to dust, the truth remains, able to transform anyone who is willing to receive it.
1. Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.
Hebrews 9:22, "And according to the law almost all things are purged with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission."
Hebrews 9:27-28, "And as it is appointed for all men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."
2. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
3. Without holiness, there can be no communion with God. Without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14, "Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord."
4. Without chastening no one can be a son of God.
Hebrews 12:8, "But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons."
5. There is no faith without works.
James 2:26, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
6. Without love, there is no reward.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3, "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing."
7. Without Christ we are barren and can bear no fruit.
John 15:4-5, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing."
Any one of these scriptures, and these truths can be fleshed out, can be made into a sermon, or a sermon series, but since I have never enjoyed being superfluous, I will end this post with the following thought.
Truth is neither subjective or relative, it simply is. No matter how much men attempt to alter it, to twist it that it may fit their agendas, it always reverts back to its original form, being a witness and a testimony against those who attempted to pervert it on the day of judgment.
I would rather preach the truth to an audience of one, than preach a lie to an audience of ten thousand.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
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These seven things are right on, and how badly they are needed to be applied in the life of a man I just met minutes ago.
I returned from work tonight, and stopped on the front porch of our apartment building. I struck up a conversation with a man who was out smoking. We began chatting about computers. He naturally interwove vulgarity into his speech. He bragged to me about all the songs and programs he had illegally stolen off the internet. He went on to the topic of music. He mentioned he was in a locally well known band. I asked him what type of music he played. He told me that it was a "christian" band, that leads worship in a local church. He described some other experiences using racial slurs and more fowl language. He then went on to describe all the "christian" events that their band plays at with nationally known bands like Michael W. Smith and Skillet. He invited me to their band practices at their church. He put out his cigaratte and we went inside the apartment building.
As I spoke with him, I stared into hollow eyes, and saw a lost man. Please pray for Dan.
I read your articles titled, "When God Chastens".. Its frustrating to when roadblocks or stumbling stones suddenly show up. It only makes sense that God would throw curves at us to keep us from straying.
I read this newspaper article earlier this week and it seems the
although the writer is an ORU graduate,the outside world is more discerning than the average Christian.
I really don’t see most televangelists as Elmer Gantrys, cackling privately about the stupid people of whom they are taking advantage. I think most of them start out with the best of intentions.
In theory, television is a powerful medium for cultural change, and it’s tempting to think that television can be a powerful tool for evangelization. But television is also expensive " incredibly expensive. And that means you must have a source of revenue. The normal model for televangelism is that you ask your viewers for money, either directly or by selling them various books, videos and collateral products. This requires that you convince your viewers that what you are doing is unique and potentially world-changing. It requires you to convince your viewers that you are specially qualified to wield this tool. What happens at this point is that you begin tailoring your message towards the people who are most likely to give you money. You resist anything that would offend them, and in some cases you have consultants advising you on how best to cultivate them.
So, instead of changing the world, televangelism becomes the ultimate form of preaching to the choir. And it’s usually the ultimate in non-challenging preaching. If there is righteous anger, it’s directed, not at the viewers, but at some supposed external enemy " secular humanism, or depraved Hollywood, or the opposite political party. You’re not really changing the world, because your whole message is directed towards the people who are already within the circle.
Along the way, the self-aggrandizement required to beg for money becomes a tempting narcotic. You begin to believe your own publicity. If you have bought into the prosperity doctrine " an unhealthy fixation on material possessions as evidence of God’s provision and blessing " you may think that your increasing wealth is a sign of your approval in the eyes of God.
Amen to the truths that you stated. Some others that I have framed my life around are:
8. Without being led by the Spirit of God, we cannot be sons and daughters.
Romans 8:14 - For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
9. Regardless of what people believe, if we receive not the love of the truth (Jesus being the way, the truth and the life) then we cannot be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 - And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.
10. Those who let the pride of life rise up within them are setting themselves up for a fall.
Proverbs 16:18 - Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
These are a few of those truths that the Lord has ministered to me in times past.
Good one Mike,
If we depart from our first love the soul can wanders into every type of error. If we forget, if we get puffed up with pride, if we get carried away by our own lusts, if we compromise, if we are not content (covet), if we allow our faith to be drained, falling from grace is fast on the heels. Having once tasted the "Heavenly Gift" what else could our merciful Father possibly do? What other sacrifice for sin is there?
The letters to the seven churches so clearly define falling away no one will be excused, no one could say I didn't know.
I heard you once say; "Deception is well financed, but the truth is on a shoe-string budget." I liked that and was reminded of that when I read your post.
I agree. These are the simple principles of living a life in Christ, aren't they? Thanks Michael.
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