Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Don't judge me!"

That’s often the response that many Christian’s get from the mouths of others when taking a stand against sin. I remember when Jake and I were living together in college in a 1 bedroom apartment. Soon after he and I professed our faith in Christ our pastor at church pointed out that our living situation (the outward evidence of our immoral relationship) was not appropriate for a couple yet to be married according to the Bible (see Hebrews 13:4, 1 Thess 4:3-8, 1 Cor 6:18, Gal 5:19). Our response? “Why is he judging us?” We see now what we didn’t then: The gospel in itself is naturally offensive because if shared with all pieces and truths, it WILL and SHOULD point out, or convict us of our sin.

In John 15:22 Jesus says, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.”

When the light of Jesus shines on the darkest parts of our hearts, it exposes us. Our secrets, our lies, our masks, our sins are brought out into the light. It feels YUCK. It makes us extremely uncomfortable. We get offended. Our natural response is to hide, argue, minimize it, or turn the blame. We harden our hearts against the messenger and get defensive of our ways. But Jesus knows that we must first understand our sin condition and the eternal consequences that must be paid, before we will ever appreciate or feel the need for a Savior and forgiveness. This needed recognition of our sin is the “bad news” of the gospel.

If you are part of a church that never tells you the bad news of the gospel, lets sin continually go unchecked in the church body, and only tells you what you want to hear then RUN! RUN THE OTHER WAY! Going to a church that makes you ‘feel good’ and only tells you pleasant things that you want to hear should not be at the top of your list.

I was thinking through these things in light of Angie’s testimony that I posted yesterday. I was remembering just a few weeks ago when a pastor from Des Moines was all over the news because he had taken a very visible stand against the sin of homosexuality because he was preaching over that particular scripture the coming Sunday. This pastor chose to stand up for righteousness and the truth of the scriptures – but he was labeled as a judgemental person of hate by our local news.

That compared to this church that I just drove by in Ames on Monday when I was on my way to the post office:

All churches should welcome us sinners, but not to condone a sinful lifestyle as it appears this church is. [I don’t go to this church. I don’t know what the sermons are. But by the words on the bottom of the banner mixed in with the homosexuality symbol it appears the church is proclaiming they will close their eyes to this issue in order to promote peace.] Rather, the church should follow Jesus’ example ~ He was always found with sinners but His mission was to convict them of their unrighteousness, and lead them to repentance. God DOES NOT overlook sin in order to win favor, avoid conflict/promote peace, to come across politically correct, or to stay in step with mainstream culture - and neither should the churches that represent Him and His word. I wanted to include an excerpt on this topic from one of Angie’s articles that she has written….

This lack of absolute Truth seeps into the churches creating such attitudes as “nice” and “tolerant”. Let’s all get along without any conflict. The word “nice” has crept into our churches and is taking precedence over truth. We would rather treat someone nicely than present the truth in love and help people out of their sin. In many cases the church has become a ‘feel-good club’ rather than the house of God. It sounds inviting but it places Truth, holiness and God on the back burner. We forget we are serving a HOLY God and we begin to serve ourselves, and other people. Where there is a desire for “warm and fuzzy” without a commitment to truth makes the general religious arguments of the pro-gay theology all the more palatable. Unlike pro-gay social justice arguments, these general “religious” arguments appeal to the themes of harmony and goodwill and bypass issues of mankind’s fallen nature, sin and obedience. To the biblically ignorant they can pass for truth; in the light of Scripture, though, they have no leg on which to stand.

Church, Jesus always confronted sin: whether it be in the temple (in our religious institutions – Matthew 21:12-17), with the money changers, his own disciples, the religious people of that time (priests, pastors or ministries), or while He was ministering one on one with another person (like the woman at the well). Jesus never “winked” at sin and let sin go unchecked. He addressed the heart issue and helped people overcome their sin by speaking the TRUTH! Some chose not to be helped (such as the rich, young ruler – Luke 18:18-23) but others wanted His help. He told them their sin was forgiven, and to go and sin no more (ex: the woman caught in an adulterous relationship (John 8:10-12). Jesus loved others so much that He desired for them to be set free from sin and live an abundant, narrow way of the Christian life. Church we need to do the same…

Jesus loved the sinner, and yet, at the same time hated (and confronted) their sin. As humans we do this so imperfectly, often swaying to one extreme or the other. In fact, I know that someone, somewhere was told truth, but that it wasn’t done in love. And that stinks. But on the opposite end, in my opinion, it would stink even more to be told ‘God is love’ your whole life but to never understand that He is also a God of wrath who will punish sin - eternally. It would not feel good to die and stand in front of a Holy God that you thought you knew, realizing that you cannot enter heaven because no one ever loved you enough to show you that your sin was leading you down the path of destruction. Rather, they didn’t want to hurt your feelings or you call you out or make you feel uncomfortable. Which has you in a real bind now on your judgement day with God, because you are going to be extremely uncomfortable for eternity.

To diminish, overlook, or disregard our sin is to take away an integral part of understanding why we need a Savior. Jesus didn’t die for nothing.

“We cannot appreciate the wonder of God’s grace and love until we truly understand God’s righteous anger against sin. We cannot appreciate God’s forgiveness until we appreciate the eternal consequences of sin. We are without excuse. We are incapable of saving ourselves. This “bad” news is a necessary part of the good news, called the gospel.” ~John MacArthur~


Lori said...

the devil is the master of deceit. if we don't know the truth, we can't sift out his lies. sin is sin. salvation is for everyone. Great post and Amen!

STAND FIRM said...

This is right on and needed in this hour. Many in the church will not fight for righteousness, justice or TRUTH! Thank you for taking a stand and may we all be judged by the WORD of GOD- and when we do may we fall on our knees before the ONE TRUE LIVING GOD- and there in that moment friends we find FREEDOM- salvation!
Jesus thank you for judging me, and please continue to do so!

Bonnie said...

Well spoken. I think people want to pick and choose what they believe from the Bible to make it more 'palatable'. I think non-Christians think we are crazy to take a stand against the act of homosexuality (not the person themselves) but it is clearly in the Bible as it being an abomination in God's eyes. You have to believe all of it, or you shouldn't believe any of it. Thanks for letting me sound off!