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Eternal Approach

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heavenhiker

Everyone Is Religious

Dark Alley

A common argument often used against biblically faithful Christians is that they are too religious.

And that religion just divides people.

And that religion is not based on real life or on a real relationship with God.

And that one needs to be more secular, more focused on the real world, and more focused on loving one another.

As opposed to insisting that people all believe the correct doctrines and theology. Which, again they say, only divides people.

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God’s Starting Point – Part 2: Death is Required

Wheat in a Hand

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 12:24)

There are countless examples of those who have possessed great understanding of spiritual things, who have had phenomenally successful ministries, who have enjoyed great respect for their intellect and sound biblical positions.

But who have eventually fallen into compromise.

Because they did not allow the Cross to be applied to their lives. They had too much confidence in their own performances, reputations, or outward successes.

They had confidence in their own strength. And in their own Christian flesh.

The Missing Part of the Gospel

Most Christians live with an understanding of only part of the work that the Lord has accomplished on their behalf.

They know that He died for them. And that He paid the penalty for their sins. They know that the scriptures say how we are “dead to the law” and “dead to sin” (Galatians 2:19; Romans 6:11). They know that they are “crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20)

They even read the words that we arerisen with Christ“. (Colossians 3:1-4)

But they live as if the Lord has only accomplished one part of this for them. And they persist in trying to live a life that is impossible for them to live.

All because of a terrible misunderstanding that is common across the Christian spectrum.

This is not something missing in only one group or one denomination. This is a common blessing and truth that is missing all across the board in the lives of believers.

This is something that is missing in the lives of those who have already been born again.

Living by What Power?

This could be explained in a couple ways.

Consider a man who owns an awesome car. Who does not put gas in that car. Who gets out of his car and tries to push his car down the road. Failing to realize that his car runs on gasoline; and not by his own effort.

Or a kerosene lamp. That is cleanly trimmed. And very nicely polished. But does not have the kerosene within it. And yet, the owner tries to light the wick without any success. Who, at best, gets only short moments of light as he lights and re-lights the wick. While it continues to go out.

Failing to understand that he must put kerosene in the lamp to make it work.

Or the electric lamp that thinks it can bring light to those sitting around it. But it is not plugged in. The electricity is not flowing through it. And so, it can never give light. As beautiful and stylish and shiny as it is.

It is a worthless paperweight sitting on an end table. Because it believes it can light the room by its own power. Instead of allowing the electric current to flow through it and light it up.

Leaving the Spirit Behind

We live in a way no different than this.

Because we fail to see that the Lord has put us to death. In order that He can be our life.

Not in order that we can be a life for Him. Or to live for Him. But so that He can be our Life. So that He can be our Life for us.

But we just don’t get it.

Instead, we constantly try to reverse this truth. In a million different ways, we twist this around.

Churches constantly reverse this by the way that they teach us to live. By getting it wrong in a million different ways.

The Christian world is filled with teaching that tries to combine modern motivational psychology with the Bible. Only to accomplish disastrous results.

We are basically taught a kind of Christian form of the “Psychology of Winning”, the “Power of Positive Thinking”, and the hard-work, sports-training ethic all rolled into one. With a lot of Bible verses sprinkled in to make it very compelling.

Which is an especially seductive method used by those trying to build a ministry, to train up leaders, to reach out to the community, to be “missional”, or to “make a difference” in the world.

While leaving the Lord and His Spirit behind. As they run ahead waving for the Holy Spirit to catch up!

Image by 41330 from Pixabay

God’s Starting Point

Woman with Face in Hands

When we think about the gifts of the Spirit, as put forth in I Corinthians 12, we might confuse those gifts with our natural abilities, or natural skills, or even with our aptitude for a specific spiritual work.

Many leaders in “full-time Christian service” believe they are called by the Lord because of their abilities or experience. Such as someone with experience as a teacher, a coach, a business manager, or who has skills that might be useful in managing a church and its congregation.

But this is not how God chooses or uses people.

The Lord is not interested in the strengths of men. Nor is He impressed with their celebrity, their influence, their singing voices, their oratory skills, or their ability to rally people around a cause or a movement.

God’s way is based on something entirely different.

His way is based on our weakness. And on our failures.

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The Only Source of Assurance

Barren Desert Tree

As I get older and closer to Eternity, I realize the worthlessness of many things I used to think were important.

And the incredible importance of things that I used to take for granted.

In that important category, is a simple truth.

That what is true is not based upon experience but on the written word of God.

Which is our only source of faith.

Which is our only source of absolute trustworthiness in this life and the life to come.

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The Christian “Self” Dies Hard

zombie pirate

A problem that is common to every believer in Christ is dealing with one’s own inner self. And our confidence in that self.

Yet, despite the reality of our evil inner man, the idea that self-confidence is a bad thing is rejected within Evangelicalism today. 

Because self-esteem teaching has permeated the church. Thanks to a number of “Christian psychologists” who have pushed this thinking. Even going so far as to say that having a lack of self-esteem is the real definition of sin. Which is an idea popularized by the late Robert Schuller, the “positive thinking” preacher.  

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The Partial Counsel of God

Truth Puzzle Missing Pieces

One of the most important lessons of life that I’ve learned, (Or, perhaps I should say, I’ve had to learn and then re-learn and then learn again) is the willingness to walk alone in truth.

Now, this may seem a bit strange to say. But it’s about learning that there is no group, no denomination, no church, no Christian University, no seminary, no organization, no ministry, no writer, no leader, and no pastor that you can trust 100%.

This is why we must each learn to walk in the integrity of our own convictions, according to the scriptures, even if we must walk alone. Even when all those around us think we are wrong.

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Are There Absolutes We Must Believe?

light on dark sea

The scriptures command us to Defend the Faith.

This presupposes that there actually are scriptural absolutes to defend.

Not just good ideas. Nor simply strong beliefs. But solid, non-negotiable, doctrinal truths.

Even so the modern Evangelical church is moving away from scriptural absolutes. Not long ago, one of our local pastors even made a comment against “absolutes”.

Which means that truth must not really be true anymore. Even though our pastors still call “truth” by that name.

At least not absolute truth which one must believe in order to be right with God. Which one must believe in order to be saved.

Nowadays, it’s more about what you do or don’t do or how nice and loving you are that makes you right with God.

Instead of what you actually believe.

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The Evidence of Spiritual Evil

Phantom in the Mist

In the midst of all the talk about not making idols out of political alliances, or American Exceptionalism, or the American Way, or the Republican party, or Conservative principles, Evangelicals ignore many things.

They ignore the fact that we do not live in a vacuum.

I know I’ve written about this recently, (“Polarization” in the Church? – February 19, 2022) but I just wanted to cover one more related point.

That the spiritual, unseen world spills over into the physical world.

It is impossible to prevent that.

Continue reading “The Evidence of Spiritual Evil”

A New World Without Fear?

Girl Fantasy Cliff

When a person kills another person, other than in self defense or in a justified action on behalf of a country or state, it is murder.

Regardless of the weapon used.

Whether using a gun, a knife, a stick, a rock, or a popsicle stick. It makes no difference. The deed is still murder.

Murder is a sin. And sin is evil.

And it is caused by a condition of the soul.

Continue reading “A New World Without Fear?”

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