Contend Earnestly: My Weekend Rant

Friday, May 25, 2007

My Weekend Rant

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Romans 7:15-20

I ask this of myself all the time. Why don't I do what God tells me to do? Of course, in my pride, I also ask, "Why doesn't the church do what they are supposed to do?" I was listening to either the Q & A or the sermon from the 2006 Desiring God Conference, whichever it was, Tim Keller was doing the speaking. He said something that I found a big help to this question and it is in line with some of my thinking lately as well.

Dr. Keller was speaking about the "deadness" of church attenders. Those who attend church, do some "churchy" things, like teach Sunday school, administer different events, maybe even give of their money to different church "causes", but never really actually do the work of an evangelist. Which, in my humble opinion, would be doing things like, helping the homeless, widows, orphans, those in prison, hospitality to those around our community and the like, all so that they can in the end show the people the love of Christ BOTH in word and DEED. What James preaches is TRUE religion. People love to sometimes just preach the word, or give monetarily to missions, but ask them to show the word, to live out the word, and that is just too big of a commitment.

Dr. Keller went about his explanation from Jonah. Notice that in Jonah, Jonah did everything in his power to flee from the people who needed God the most: the sinners. But, if we look at Jonah's life, when did he decide to follow God? When did he decide to go to the sinner to preach the gospel? It all comes to a climax in one verse, the verse that is said to be the thesis of the entire Bible: Jonah 2:9

...Salvation belongs to the Lord.

Dr. Keller exclaims that if one truly believes this, as Jonah did, the very next action taken by Jonah, will be the same for the church:

So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh
Jonah 3:3

When one understands the gospel and the cross of our Christ they will truly understand conviction and call to pour out that love to those around them. Until this, our churches will be dead and we will be truly worshiping in vain. Until we understand that salvation belongs to the Lord, meaning it doesn't belong to us, to our methods, to our work, to our hands, to our wants, to our desires, but only in the faithful Creator of heaven and hell, only then will we stop being a weekly one night stand with God and whoring ourselves out the rest of the week to whatever fancies us along the way.

The verse that I have taken to heart to try and meditate on more, because I believe it is the verse that most encapsulates the entire Gospel is Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

In this verse we have the showing of a deserved condemnation, because of our sin, but also the answer to that condemnation: Jesus Christ.

It is a great verse of balance between knowledge of sin and the salvation of Christ. When one understands the depth of their sin, but doesn't stop there and gives those sins to Christ, is washed in His blood, then how can one not follow what Christ says? Think about it! You should be going to hell, and if you are a Christian, you have no condemnation, no wrath, no death, no hell, but eternal life worshiping our God, heir to the thrown!

If this does not excite you into telling others and showing others what your Christ has done, are you sure you are an heir?

I agree with Dr. Keller in that if the people of this generation do not start to understand the depths of the gospel, we (the church) will continue to fall into decline and the gospel will continually be watered down and the people will continue to live for themselves instead of dying to Christ.

I would encourage you, as I test myself with this as well, to re-read over and over again Jonah 2:9 and Romans 8:1 and let that just fall deep into your soul of understanding. But don't stop there, live out your faith.

Again...if you are a Christian there is no condemnation! This should be like food for the hungry, water for the thirsty, shelter for the homeless and rescue for the lost. This should be our life's work: understanding the gospel more and more so that our lives bleed gospel always.

May your weekend be blessed in the name of our great and glorious Saviour, Jesus Christ.


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