God delivered a glorious Gospel! Is your pastor man enough to preach it? The Apostle Paul described this message as "the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (I Corinthians 1:21). Does this "foolishness" embarrass you or energize you?
Let me ask you which christ is being preached in your local church? Is he the invention of cowards who, while knowing the truth, love to portray him as a life enhancer without the scandal of the cross - enduring God's just wrath as a penal substitute? Or is he the invention of biblically illiterate clowns who present him as a cosmic cloud of universal love overlooking our "mistakes"? Perhaps he is an idol conceived in the minds of cowboys who love to shoot from the hip with reckless quotation of Scripture all the while picking and choosing verses that best support the messiah of their imagination.
Is there any alarm bells ringing at this point? I hope not! You are in the right place when the Christ you hear being preached week in and week out is the God Incarnate One Who atoned for your unfathomable, infinite, and unthinkable debt of sin. If, as Isaiah tell us, our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6) then I shudder in horror at the thought of what my sin must look like in the eyes of a Holy God. It is here where the seeds of understanding take root as to why Christ had to come. Without an objective standard of righteousness how can anyone possibly see their need for a Savior? This is precisely why it is necessary to shine the mirror of God's law in the face of unregenerate sinners and unpack it's depth that exposes our bankruptcy in thought, word, and deed.
The cowards, clowns, and cowboys who indwell the pulpits of "modern evangelism" change the issue from righteousness to happiness. From ressurection life to a second chance at life. From salvation to self-esteem. From redemption to recognition. From God in flesh to a fleshly god. And I get a few short moments on this blog to plead with you - don't buy into any of these false messiahs being paraded before you! The real Jesus has come and laid down His life as a penal substitutionary atonement for wretched sinners like you and me. Kill the precious self esteem of fragile human ego, and purchase Christ esteem with repentant humility for "You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men" (I Corinthians 7:23).
So what provoked this rant? My good friend David Jakobsen and I recently hit the street and filmed a witnessing encounter with two young Danish guys (Danish with English subtitles). We have to confess to being quite stunned by the criticism levelled at us for sharing the Holiness of God, the wicked sinfulness of man, the reality of heaven and hell, Christ's atoning death and resurrection, and the need of all men everywhere to repent and trust the Savior. We're not so stunned that there is criticism, just that most of it is coming from pastors!
Would you rather avoid the uncomfortable subjects of sin, death, hell, and repentance or do you love people enough not to shield them from these impending truths? Unless they repent, the cowards, clowns, and cowboys of this world will continue to circumnavigate the hard and inescapable truths of Scripture. Please don't board that ship!
Weekend A La Carte (5/25)
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