Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Shouldn't We All Just Get Along?

One Way Jesus!!
The time for Christian evangelism is short. The Lords soon return is near. To many those words are tough and will prompt many to mock, and even scorn, but no one can deny that with every season come changes. Within Christianity things are no different. We are witnessing the falling away of traditional Biblical Christianity into the swampy areas of political correctness that syncretize, and even wed in many cases, the ways of the world and its multitudinous false religions with their religious assemblies—an  event foretold in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that would preceed the return of Christ. God’s word has been twisted or ignored in the name of “getting along” and "keeping the peace." We see this in the unequally yoking of modern ecumenical movements, and even the alliance of Muslims with evangelicals (used loosely), for the sake of better understanding each other. It is true that the Bible teaches we should live in peace with one another:  If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:18 (NKJV) That said, as a human being it is definitely my desire to live at peace with all men. I applaud that and strive to live as such. As a Christian, I also agree. If my neighbor thirsts it is my duty to give him a drink. But where do we draw the line? Are we to sacrifice to the altar of political correctness and syncretism in order to “keep the peace” …a peace sought that denies the Lord Jesus Christ and His singular atonement for sin? Did Jesus "keep the peace?" Was He able to avoid disharmony? No, and neither will we if we stand for the truth. However, the Bible tells me, that when I am attacked or mistreated because of Him, rather than striking back or seeking revenge, I am to turn the other cheek, Luke 6:29. Meaning, as a Christian, I should continue to display the fruit of the Spirit in the love of Christ. Our best example is Jesus Himself, of whom Isaiah describes as enduring humiliation and shame yet never once speaking a word in His own defense:

6 I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. Isaiah 50:6 (ESV)

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. Isaiah 53:7 (ESV)

Given Jesus as our example, we too are to strive to live as He did. But the much larger and looming question is “Why did Jesus turn the other cheek? Why did He allow His persecutors to pull out His beard?” It is simple. The things He taught, the way He lived, the actions He practiced, and the definitive declaration of who He was did not square up with their worldview. So they crucified Him. The very fact that He was crucified screams that there was disharmony between who He was and what humanity desired. The same goes with false religions and worldly concepts. Until Muslims decide to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, forsaking all others, Islam and Christianity will never be married. There will always be stark differences that can never be overcome. There will always be sword between them:

34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to 'set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law';
36 and 'a man's enemies will be those of his own household.'
37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:34-39 (NKJV)

In terms of the Scripture, the pervasive influence of political correctness, united with the “non-offensive” approach to preaching and teaching , and theological criticism (Documentary Hypothesis for example), give church leaders enough leeway to for them to feel good about dismissing  a literal interpretation. Therefore, there are many who dismiss huge sections of Scripture even re-inventing their meanings as to not offend. It is because of these things our churches are filled with those who have a form of godliness but deny its power. (2 Tim. 3:5)

We know time is short, simply because the false teaching and misleading is becoming more and more widespread. I would love to say that the churches are starting to turn around, but unfortunately, they are not. A recent Gallup poll shows that less than 1/3 of the nation believes the Bible to be the inspired and inerrant word of God. 1

The bottom line is this, had Jesus intentionally set out to “get along,” you and I would be dead in our sin and living with no hope. In other words, He knew the Words of God and His mission could never be compromised. For that He was crucified. If He would have displayed an attitude of acceptance and political correctness, He would have allowed circumstance, culture, and polytheistic beliefs to shape His message of truth. But, for loves sake, He was strong enough to stand taking whatever the results may be. After prophesying of the beard being torn from Jesus’ face, Isaiah goes on to reveal what kept Christ going:

7 But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.
8 He who vindicates me is near. Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together. Who is my adversary? Let him come near to me.
9 Behold, the Lord GOD helps me; who will declare me guilty? Behold, all of them will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up. Isaiah 50:6-9 (ESV)

Solid as a Rock!
Taking a stand for the truth is hard. It’s tough. It will mean ridicule, labeling, scoffing, and even separation. The world will never understand why you choose to stand. But the One who matters will. True believers, like Jesus, must set their face like a flint, and hold fast to the sure promises of God. It is He that we are to serve eternally. The Bible teaches there is one way to heaven and it is the book of books from which we will be judged.

If you desire to compromise its message in order to live at peace, then so be it. Go ahead and worship the “Peace” you seek to sacrifice for. But God has a remnant of true believers who would rather live to love Him only, myself and family included, who will never surrender our freedom to seek a false peace. True and lasting peace does not exist outside of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord. Time is getting short! The seasons are changing …soon the Lord will be sounding His trumpet and calling the true family of God home! It’s not too late to start anew, to turn around, to confess your sin, and to just believe and live Gods word as it has been given.

Remember the most blessed words of Christ:

35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.
36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?
37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels." Mark 8:35-38 (NKJV)

*1  http://www.parsonage.org/articles/ministry/A000001986.cfm