Contend Earnestly: Where's the Beef?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Where's the Beef?

This used to be the slogan of Wendy’s back in the ‘80’s when talking about these other burger joints that had hamburgers with less than satisfying amounts of meat on their hamburgers. I am asking the same thing with the Gospel that is preached to the world these days: Where’s the beef? The Gospel has been so watered down that you cannot tell the Gospel and the preacher from just a speech and a motivational speaker. The question is where do we put our trust? Do we trust the power of the Gospel or the persuasion of words? Power of God or power of psychology? It really comes down to God or man. Look at Paul’s words:

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Why could Paul make this kind of statement? Because he knew the power of God’s word and believed in Isaiah 55:11

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.

Yet today many of today’s “pastors” are looking for a better way to go around the gospel to make it more “meaningful” to the lost and more comfortable so that people are not turned off by the old and staunch words of our Lord. This leads to tickling the ears of the hearer and leads to the sad state of our church worldwide. I saw an interview with the hero of this watered down, motivational approach: Joel Osteen. He was asked if being a Christian was hard. He of course quickly responded, “No.” That should be the test for all of us not just Joel Osteen. We are told that the world will hate us (John 15:18); that we will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12); that Christ came with a sword and will separate families (Matthew 10:34). It IS easy to be a Christian if you never evangelize or never preach about sin or stand up against immorality. Of course that is an easy way to walk through this world, because you have become part of the world. But look to the warning that John gives those who are a part of the world instead of apart from the world:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:15

And also James speaks out against it:

Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God.
James 4:4

We need to put the “beef back into the burger” and start to preach out against sin: To love the sinner and hate the sin; To love the deceived and hate the Deceiver; To hate the lie and love the truth. Joel Osteen’s Christian life is easy because he admits he never speaks against sin and actually never even uses the term in his “sermons.” How can someone repent and be saved if they don’t know their sin and they don’t know what they are being saved from. Also, what will happen to these same people when their lives come across trials or when a great philosopher comes across their path and persuades them another way? How do we guard against this? Paul again tells us:

that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and {attaining} to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, {resulting} in a true knowledge of God's mystery, {that is,} Christ {Himself,} in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument. For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, {so} walk in Him, having been firmly rooted {and now} being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, {and} overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.

Colossians 2:2-9

Did you catch that? All our wisdom is found in Christ. Why? Because He is fully God! If you don’t lean completely on Christ for your wisdom, people can take you away with their persuasion. If you lean completely on Christ for all your wisdom, you will never be deceived by these philosophies and persuasive arguments. But those who are, will be the ones that Christ says, “Away from Me for I never knew you.” I don’t want that to be anyone that I came across and preached the Gospel to. I want to be like Paul and simply preach Christ crucified; may it be the same with you.


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