A New Man?
Is it just me or does any one else seem to notice how unpopular, and even downright offensive, it can be to point out evil, wickedness, sin, etc. that is prevalent in the lives of individuals? Certainly the Scriptures teach us to judge ourselves, and this we must do. However, a week doesn't seem to pass anymore before I hear someone speaking in reference to immorality that we "Christians are not to judge. After all, we do not know what's in a person's heart, and we certainly do not know if they are right with God or not."
This should be concerning to us to know that an "anything goes" gospel is being propelled for our loved ones to hear. When I think of the saints that reared and trained me in His nurture and admonition, it frightens me at times to see the lax attitude toward the holiness of God and obedience to His Word. There was a day in my past 50 plus years that a reverential fear of the Lord was present among His people. Did He change? Did we change? Who decided that He could become a Buddy that we can carry in our pocket to do our bidding?
This week I'm reminded of Paul teaching the Ephesians about just what it means to be a "new man." When I read through this list of Christian character traits, it just doesn't jive with the popular approach to the life in Christ being presented before us today in many circles.
For sake of brevity, I'll only list a few. But, please turn to Eph. 4 - 6 and read the instruction for a clearer view. We're to put off the former and put on the new, put away lying and speak truth, put off the stealing and work to have to give to others, put away corrupt speaking and use words to bless and edify, trade off bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking, and malice for kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness for others. Check it out. It's all there; the works of darkness are to be put away, and the works of light are characterized by Christ within.
As His children, we have a responsibility to declare the Truth. The words of our mouths and the actions of our lives preach something. If we are made into "new men" through the gift of grace through Christ, where do we get the idea that we, or any of His, can walk in deeds of darkness any longer? We simply cannot. This is not who we are.
My personal challenge this week is to be bolder to speak the Truth in love. It's dangerous to speak anything else.
Eph. 5:6-8 "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:"
May the Lord Bless you abundantly this week,
This past Friday evening Julie and I watch the classic western film "High Noon" staring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. It's the story of a man who stands alone doing what he believes is the right thing to do. He is determined to do it in spite of his own fears simply because it is the right thing to do. If you follow my writing you know I like heroes.
What I want to focus on in this film is the church. I have titled this blog "Principles of the Founding Fathers" and you have heard me time and time again make the statement or reference to our need to return to the faith of our Fathers. These Principles are directly connected to our faith. The faith of our Fathers produced the Principles upon which this nation was founded. I saw this in a new way watching this film, and so I think what I want to do is lay a bit of foundation in this post and do a few follow up in few subsequence posts. It has occurred to me if I am to suggest we need to return to the faith of our fathers, we might need to examine what that faith was, and are we viewing our world through that same faith?
He found it difficult finding men who would sacrifice for the cause. So we find him making his way to this worship service. When High Noon approaches and we need men of courage who have answers to the forces that we face, where should we be able to look other than the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ?
We find something interesting in this scene, when the situation is presented we do not find men of courage. What we find in this congregation is a multitude of sin manifesting among the people. Such things as fear, pride, selfishness, greed, and betrayal. At one point all eye's are upon the Pastor, what do you say Pastor? Does the word of God give us answers to which we can rest upon? Does the Word of God give us direction and hope? Should we stand and fight for our town? The answer is given, the Pastor quotes part of a verse that we should not kill, then states he cannot send his people out to kill or even maybe be kill, then he says other than that I don't know what to tell you.
When High Noon approaches someone's life, when they need answers to life's hard questions, does our church, your church have the courage to meet the challenge? Does our church, your church have the knowledge to give an answer from the Word of God? Or will the Pastor and elders be clueless and the congregation ridden with sin?
On June 5th, 1809 John Foster, a New England clergyman, preached to his congregation in Boston saying, "It hence becomes the duty of every community to provide means of protection, and to appear in the attitude of readiness, should they be driven to the painful alternative, "to fight for their brethren, their sons and their daughters, their wives and their houses [Nehem. 4:14]." To shrink from combat, in such an exigence, were a dereliction of every principle, both of piety and patriotism. It would betray equal ingratitude to God, and perfidy to our country." ~ John Foster
John Foster would later close his sermon stating; "Attend his call therefore; and, at his call "Be courageous, and play the men for your people, and for the cities of your God: and the Lord do what seemeth him good [2 Sam 10:12]." ~ John Foster
If God will grant me the grace, in the next few post I should if possible, consider the faith of our fathers. Why did they think the way they did? Why did they say the things they did? Why did they form a nation as they did? Was it not the product of their faith?
May the Grace of God be toward each of you,