Posts Tagged ‘Lukewarmness’
I had a talk this week with a hypocrite. Hypocrisy is one of the greatest dangers to the Church. So many claim to love Jesus and claim His salvation while living in blatant sin. They compromise in many areas of their lives including indulging their flesh in all types of sin. They would claim God’s grace while ignoring His serious call to holiness and purity (Matthew 5:8, 48; 1 Peter 1:15-16). They claim to know Jesus while never obeying Him as Lord (Luke 6:46-49).
This hypocrite I dealt with this week started by denying the usefulness of the Law of God in bringing sinners to salvation. He rejected the moral law of God that is still praised in the New Testament (except the Sabbath command) and he in turn tried to claim that the way to “win the world” is not by preaching the divine Law of God (1 Timothy 1:8-11) but through preaching a good God who loves us unconditionally and winks at our sins. His antinomian lies flowed from his keyboard as we interacted and I regret this wasted time that I could have been doing something more useful such as brushing my teeth.
In the end, this hypocrite exposed themselves. They begin to use ungodly language. I do not curse. I believe cursing is wrong. I believe that all filthy language is to be forsaken by the new creature we are in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). I wrote simply, “Ephesians 4:29″ to which they rejected this passage (as he did all passages essentially). Ephesians 5:4 is a passage that every disciple of Jesus should memorize and obey. When Jesus changes us, He destroys the power of sin in our lives (Romans 7:25). The Holy Spirit helps us to obey Christ (Romans 8:3-4, 7). The Holy Spirit helps us to bear fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). The Holy Spirit helps us to obey Jesus in all things (John 15:26). How can anyone claim to be “in Christ” while living in sin (Romans 6:1-4)? How can anyone claim to be “in Christ” yet not obey Jesus as Lord but instead love the world, the flesh, and the devil (1 John 2:15-17; cf. James 4:4)?
Hypocrisy is rampant. So many people fit this description. They claim Jesus on Sunday but then all week long they live in the world, filling their lives with all filth and wickedness from television to ungodly talk. Rather than seeking to glorify God in all that they say or do (Colossians 3:17), rather than living a life worthy of their calling (Ephesians 4:1), they instead claim to be a child of God while living for the devil. This hypocrisy breeds only death (Galatians 6:7-8). Sin always leads to death (James 1:12-15). Sin always produces more sin.
One aspect of hypocrisy is that people will claim Christ while never seeking Him. Spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, worship, evangelism, reading and studying the Bible, confessing sin, etc. are all ignored. This hypocrite I dealt with, I have no doubt that he never has times of intercession on his face before God. He never prays for the lost (1 Timothy 2:1-6). He never seeks to know God more in His Word through faithful studying (John 17:3). He never shares his faith (Matthew 28:19). He never preaches the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15). Hypocrites have no passion to worship Jesus just for who He is and what He has done for us. They honor Jesus with their lips but their hearts are far from Him (Mark 7:1-13).
My prayer for this man is for his salvation. I believe that he is lost. He would claim Jesus but he is not even seeking to follow Him. He clings only to God’s grace without allowing the true grace of God to transform him (Titus 2:12). He wants to be worldly, use worldly language, abide in worldly living but claim Christ. This is not the case (Luke 9:23-25). We must come to Jesus to die. We must come to Jesus and hate all things in comparison to our passion for Him (Luke 14:25-35). We may not be perfect but our passion is to be like Jesus in all ways (1 John 2:3-6). He is our everything! Not so with hypocrites. He is their key to avoid hell but He is not their Lord.
Let us pray that the Lord would save hypocrites and draw sinners to Himself using His Word (Romans 1:16-17). No doubt Jesus is a powerful Savior who can be glorified even through hypocrites repenting of their sins (Revelation 3:2).
I worry sometimes that many people (and myself included) can substitute knowledge about God with a relationship with God. We study the Bible, we study theology, we talk about God, we think about God but we confuse knowledge with obedience and we deceive ourselves into believing that knowledge equals salvation. This is most certainly not the case. One can have a knowledge about God but not know Him (see Titus 1:16). One can substitute knowledge for obedience and not be found fearing God or obeying Him as Lord (Luke 6:46-49).
The key is to always be found seeking Jesus. Jesus said that eternal life is found not just in the knowledge of God but in intimacy with Him (John 17:3). When you read Paul the Apostle’s words in Philippians 3:8-11 you get the feeling that Paul is not saying that he wants to know more about God in his head as much as in his heart. He wants to be intimate with God. Intimacy is not found through simple knowledge. Intimacy must be sought after and it takes time. I can think about my wife all day (and I do a lot) but to know my wife is not to just know facts about her but to communicate with her and to seek her and to spend time with her. The same is true of our relationship with Jesus. It’s not enough to prove His deity or to show how His virgin birth is important to our salvation. Jesus is the gospel. Jesus is our salvation. Not a lot of facts about Him but knowing Him (Matthew 7:24-27) and obeying Him (James 2:14-26).
I know of a brother (and he is a good brother) and so often I see myself in him. He is saved. He studies the Scriptures (though he is a Calvinist and I am an Arminian). He loves to discuss the latest theological buzz or the latest errors filling the evangelical church world. Yet I see myself in him in that he sometimes can come across as having a lot of facts about God but little passion to pray or evangelize. This is not to say he doesn’t. Perhaps he does and I pray he does. But when we meet to have a Bible study, he knows many things about the Bible and he spends hours in the week studying from his ESV Study Bible but in the end, when it comes to intercession and really doing serious business in prayer on our faces before God, he would rather not.
How can this be? How is it that we can substitute knowledge about God with really knowing God? The Pharisees certainly do this. Jesus spoke to them in John 5:39-40 when He said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” He goes on in John 8:47 to tell us that if we belong to God, we can hear His voice in the Scriptures and this in turn will lead to faithful and loving obedience to Jesus as Lord (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3-6). We can read the Bible all day, every single day, every single minute but if we don’t seek after Jesus, if we don’t pursue Him with all our hearts, we will be left just as dry and dead as the Pharisees where.
I don’t want that type of Christianity. I want to know Jesus. It’s one reason you won’t find me much debating with my Calvinist brothers on the Internet or in person. I would rather seek God with a brother in Jesus than to argue with him. We can talk over coffee after we first spend some time worshiping our King. Jesus is our salvation Not a theory. Jesus is our hope. Not Arminius. Jesus is our righteousness. Not our knowledge. Jesus is our advocate before the Father. Not Calvin. Jesus’ words bring eternal life. Not Piper’s.
I pray today that you would join with me in seeking Jesus. We need His grace. We need His mercy. We need His forgiveness. I too have been guilty, at times, of substituting my knowledge of the Scriptures with my passion for Jesus or His kingdom (Matthew 6:33). I pray that He helps me to run hard after Him all the days of my life (Psalm 34:8-10).