AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH May 15, 2011
Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise by Faith
The Question of Stand-by,
the Quest for Truth and the Quenching in Flight
Today, we look at the idea of stand-by, where airline passengers are prepared, for lower fare, to await the first plane with a vacant seat. Many who flirt with Christianity, similarly are not actually committed, unless ... they get something else as a sauce or meat substitute. Correcting this trend helps faith to flow, and hence life to become vital and practical, with Christ, thus fulfilling the conditions of Luke 14:27ff..The quest for truth if intense, leads into the fold of Christ through the door of grace and the opening of the Cross-cancellation of guilt and the accord of pardon, giving power through companionship with God. Then thirst is quenched and the flight in faith proceeds.
A) THE ALMOST CHRISTIAN. This is a simple negative. Here indeed a miss is as good as a mile. Think of Herod, that monster, in Acts 26:28. If it weren't for SOME things he could do ALL things ... but...! ALMOST you persuade me to be a Christian! he tells Paul. If however you ALMOST invest in a property, it will not be yours at all.
B) THE PRE-CHRISTIAN - Luke 9:62. He fiddles with the plough, always about to start.
He cranks: no roar responds. He scurries, never soars, has no lift from the Lord, never believes, makes assent but never consents. His heart stays where it always was (cf. Ezekiel 11:19-12:2). Perhaps something fascinates such a person, whose mind never finds a stay on what remains. Jonah, sufficiently warned, exclaimed (2:8):
"Those who regard worthless idols ("lying vanities")
Forsake their own Mercy... "
Vanity itself can be an idol, emptiness a "god".
Note that it is
MAN'S OWN MERCY, the only God whose profound pity is so salient, that
is forsaken, not something exotic. This makes poignant the folly of such
endless non-beginnings, avoiding the place where reality is found, and where
God makes Himself available
(cf. Galatians 6:14, Matthew 11:28-30, Micah 7:18-20).
C) THE DREAM-TIME CHRISTIAN. Jeremiah 23:17-28. Dream?
"The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat ? says the Lord."
II Kings 17:33 has this:
"They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods - according to the rituals of the nations". (Cf. Zephaniah 1:5.)
Yet ONLY ONE MASTER is permitted by Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:8-10) - Himself: God must be loved with ALL the heart and mind.
MANASSEH, paragon of wickedness -
"even set a carved image... in the house of God, of which God had said... I will not again remove the foot of Israel from the land... only if they are careful to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law" (II Chronicles 33:7-8).
Indeed, another self-adoring object for worship in due course to be found within the TEMPLE is called by Jesus Christ: "the abomination of desolation" (Matthew 24:15-21, II Thessalonians 2) - the utterly horrible, religiously invasive thing which brings on ruin, desolation! Yes even the Jews were not allowed their OWN culture, and one playing with fire in this case needs to find ... a fireman. You cannot put out GOD! (See the papal action at Assisi, at P) below, where the dream mould and the radical man mix.)
Culture ? ANY CULTURE which dares to assert:
its thoughts, dreams, ideas, values, ideals in the FACE of the Lord,
as if HE would accept input from without (Proverbs 30:6),
CANNOT combine with Christ;
for, He declared,
"WHOEVER OF YOU DOES NOT FORSAKE ALL THAT HE HAS CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE" (Luke 14:27-33).
Forsake it as an ingredient to be merged with the things of God,
or make no claims on Christ, none to be a Christian.
It may have some kind of resemblance or be obviously the antithesis,
but impure chemicals are OUT!
The standard is the mouth of GOD directly delivering HIS WORD to man.
Therefore, if YOU are ...
or your PEOPLE
or your TRADITION
or your HEART
or your LIFE
or your national, tribal or regional life ...
is to be a contributor along with the word of God: then forget it.
Alas it would make of you, what ? A 'non-forsake' rejecter who CANNOT be Christ's disciple. After all, it is HIS name, and this, recorded in Luke, is what He has declared.
D) THE WESTERN DREAM-TIME CHRISTIAN. Consult II Timothy 4:3-4, 6:20, Jeremiah 2:27. The god of magical evolution - for that is truly what it is, a resourceful not-being who does all that creation is, without even being there to do it: this is the dream time of Europe and Russia and America: though recently there is a strong movement in Russia back to creation.
It is merely the old story of worshipping a stone, dust, earth, an ingredient, the paper as if the material written were not really anything added! (Cf. A Spiritual Potpourri, Chs.5 and 7, and in Chapter 4, pp. 50, 34-39, Section 4, and Section 6, p. 42; That Magnificent Rock. Ch.1 and The Kingdom of Heaven, Ch.8, pp. 127-139.)
That is what you have; and it is what you get. This COMBINATION with Christianity is just an idol, and idolatry is unacceptable in the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (I Corinthians 6:9-10).
E) THE FREE-STYLE CHRISTIAN.
For this pathology, the WORD OF GOD IS TOO NARROW so use your common sense, or whatever occurs to you, and call it intuition, perception or vision, what you will. However the WAY IS NARROW - Matthew 7:13-14. Thus small or large, a church must be obedient (Acts 5:32.) Size can readily degenerate into idolatry where the magnificence of truth is traded for the multitude of people or monies; or at the individual level, for the quasi-spiritual spectrum of self-indulgences.
F) THE "MY WORKS" CHRISTIAN. I am so full of works that any good God will just HAVE to have me, and indeed should WANT me, seems the last line here. It is the pure heart, not the bragging improviser which God desires. See Romans 3:23-28, Matthew 7:22-23. This is tragic. Mixing your works with God's, to gain acceptance is hideous presumption (Ephesians 2:8-10).
G) THE "GAY" CHRISTIAN. This means the one who takes the implements of love and child-production for spontaneous self-expression at will. God forbids this abuse and allocates exclusion from heaven as the destiny of those unrepentant in such affairs - I Timothy 1:9-10, I Corinthians 6:9. Free among the dead, libido may there burn in shame (Psalm 88:5, Matthew 5:30, Daniel 12:2, Leviticus 18:22-30).
H) THE PART-TIME CHRISTIAN. Christianity is all right, but one has to attend to oh! SO many things that one has to be REASONABLE. See Matthew 13:22 and consider thorns. Are you governed by thorns,
or do you consider the thorns in His crown - and yours as you follow Him; for "the servant is not greater than his master, neither is he who is sent greater than he who sent him," (John 13:16).
I) THE "COCKTAIL" CHRISTIAN. This is a figure and means selective synthesis with the world, the flesh, and diplomacy with the devil. A 'Church' special, it speaks spiritually and acts carnally at will, measuring and meting out Munich appeasement with evil, while it harms the godly ... II Chronicles 16:7-10 provides a startlingly impactive example of this disease.
Christian tends to mix it too, rather making
some mere man the way - "I of X!" - of Calvin, of Wesley, of Luther, of some preacher, theologian
or personage recent or modern, as a criterion.
In fact, rejoice in the good points as edifying, but rejoice greatly in ALL SCRIPTURE as determinative (II Timothy 3:16, Matthew 5:17-20, John 12:48-50).
I Cor. 3:3-11,21-23 categorically condemns this foible, which can be more than that, when division and lack of discernment follow, as they may, from the near idolatry of holding fast to coat-tails, satin-lined though they be. The better the person the more dangerous the practice in this, since much may confirm when little dissuades, so that the errors of the great become the starting points of the followers. As to "name" as a criterion, it can be only of Christ, of the Father, of the Spirit.
J) THE SOME-TIME CHRISTIAN - John 13:2, 18:2-6. You hear of the Sometime Professor of Music - he once held such a post! Even Judas could pretend to that, but any time with God as His child is ALWAYS (I John 5:13, I John 3:9, John 5:24, 4:14). IF you CEASED to be a Christian, then you NEVER WERE. See Matthew 13:20-21.
The EXPERIENCE of being touched was real enough ("at once ... with joy"); but there was STONE UNDERNEATH, no real repentance. It was "temporary", not in the heart. The real thing is "REPENTANCE NOT TO BE REPENTED OF" (II Corinthians 7:10).
"Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be repented of."
K) THE SUMMER-TIME CHRISTIAN - Matthew 19:16-22. It doesn't hurt to enjoy yourself, so why not make it a condition of ANY religion YOU will have! Here we have the rich young ruler episode. Lovable as the guy was, his heart so intense and his mind so willing - he came RUNNING to Christ: yet OTHER THINGS were 1st..
this, many run to religion as an experience primarily, "my life" supplanting
Christ as pre-eminent (Col.1:18, Phil. 2:8-11). His mouth is closed at will,
His book disregarded as needed, because "life in Christ" is so stunning,
you can't be expected to remember He is Lord (Luke 6:16) and has spoken (Matthew
5:17-20). See John 14:21-23
for the contrary declaration of Jesus Christ.
Winter comes here, with His return whose name was so mangled. (See alternate fantasy in in M below, for will.)
L) THE COTTON-WOOL CHRISTIAN. In fact, while an attack of cowardice may seem to be in mind, it is in the ear that the cotton-wool may be placed, since some are sensitive to great heights, and cannot bear sitting in heavenly places, or setting their minds on things above (Colossians 3:1-3, Ephesians 2:6, Micah 7:18-19, Isaiah 40:27-28). The two aspects may be related!
M) THE "MY LIFE" CHRISTIAN. See Jeremiah 43-44, esp. 43:10,17. These people were WILLING to do WHATEVER Jeremiah told them from God - UNTIL he told them! This is simply misplaced will-worship. It has various varieties, with plus or minus adventurism.
i) You worship not your wallet or your beauty, but your WILL! Also known as
ii) THE CAPTIVE CHRISTIAN, sin-slave (John 8:34-36), serving sin while calling Christ 'Lord'.
Luke 14:27-33 gives the rebuke: it is IMPOSSIBLE! It is CHRIST OR WILL! Potential, preference, satisfaction - MINE! - becomes the criterion; whilst the satisfaction that CHRIST secured, was that of HIS FATHER (John 8:29, Philippians 2:1-12). Self-centred Christianity is like using bias bowls for a tennis match. It is not just wrong: it is ludicrous!
Similarly in essence, you have the
iii) THE COP-OUT CHRISTIAN. Here there is a substitution of some element of the way for the way itself, a near-to idolatrous concentration on a misconception. The knowledge of Christ and the power of God, as in a short-circuit, can thus be bypassed, faith entangled in a mass of false leads. Thus
iv) sacramentalistic pseudo-saints can be so strong on the sacrament, that either they turn it into Christ, reserved (as Acts 3:19-21 tells us - cf. John 6:62-63, SMR Ch.10, pp. 1042-1088H) in heaven till the "regeneration of all things", and go right ahead and worship it; or else imagine it gives them a sort of ration of strength, as if God were limited to such intrusions of symbols to strengthen His saints with might in the inner man. It is those who "WAIT UPON THE LORD" who renew their strength, and that with exuberance (Isaiah 40:31). Again
v) End-time quasi-saints can be so concerned about the undoubted near approach of the return of Jesus the Christ, that they stop their conscientious endeavours, and abstract from their duties, as if knowledge of His return meant a cancellation of responsibilities (cf. II Thessalonians 2 - and see Ch. 17, pp. 234, 238 ). Some prefer
vi) the fellowship cushion camaraderie, allowing the desire for fellowship to displace the duty of obedience and faithfulness to Christ, selling whatever it takes to preserve "unity" over the body of the throat-slit scriptures. (Cf. The Kingdom of Heaven... Ch.10, Part 3, Blood-Sport.)
RETURN TO THE RESERVED SEAT
If YOU in your heart desire the light of Christian preference to darkness, slithery, unworkable, irrational and brutal, to the atmosphere of pretence: if you despise consequences without cause and magic without mastery, and seek the reasonable, reliable Rock that never changes, never moves, always stays the course and stands before, during and past our times, Maker of man's mind, then avoid triflings, and live with the truth; for Christ IS the way, the truth and the life.
Having found the truth in Christ Jesus, cease all scattery quest for another god, another glory; for, as in Galatians 1, there is no other Gospel, nor validated word from God. Having your thirst quenched in Him, and in His goodness, His sacrifice and demonstration lesson through His very presence on this earth, then fly with the light, into the light and for the light, knowing this is your inheritance with the children of light (Psalm 36:9, Ephesians 5:8-15). ERRORS ARE NUMEROUS, but truth is single, singular and centred in the Creator, restored in the Redeemer, bringing sheer joy (John 16:22).
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