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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday message

As you might have noticed, I get the most out of sermons when I isolate the one thing that resonates with me.  Sometimes it has to do with the sermon being preached, others not so much.  This morning, Ed Bousman was speaking on the "service" that brought the Phillipian jailer to faith.  Along the way, he told this story:

"... a man came to me and said, 'Do you mean to tell me that my parents are in hell, just because they were never immersed?' "
At this point I must interject that Bousman is a strict immersionist; IOW, he believes in baptism, and that said baptism is full body dunking in the water.  For years, I've had problems with that.  After all, the thief on the cross wasn't baptized; and the Egyptian eunuch that Phillip the Evangelist led to Christ, when he said, "Here there is water", could have just as well been pointing at a puddle as a pond.  But now, let me get to Bousman's answer:

" I told him, 'It's none of my business; we are told to preach the gospel of Christ- and Christ will do His own judging.' "

And this got me to thinking of the various way that this statement applies.  I have heard people say, "I can't believe a loving God will send anyone to hell."  I equate them with people who don't believe in punishing their children, and then wonder why there is so little discipline in the schools anymore.  But you can focus on the phrase, "loving God."    He is a loving God, but is also a God of Judgement.  There are people out there who say that the Catholic church, by skirting the Bible, adding tradition, and ignoring the concept of being saved (along with the thing about infant baptism), leads people to hell.  And yet, my mother had faith in God.  Every morning she was with her prayer book before she started her day.  And at least four of her five children have come to knowledge of Christ.  My dad never missed a week's mass, even after mom died.  Were they saved by the "classical definition"?  Probably not.  Are they in heaven? Maybe.

Because here is my point this morning- many people who say "I believe in God" but not organized religion don't believe in strict judgement, that good people might still go to hell, and use that as a reason to keep a deeper faith at arms length.  That concept of judgement they TAKE INTO THEIR OWN HANDS, and use it to define their concept of God.  By focusing on the "I'm good enough, I lead a good life," they don't bother to dig any deeper.  And I say to you this morning, whether you are good enough or not is none of my business, and IT'S NOT THE POINT!

What is the point, then?

Bousman had mentioned somebody who died outside the faith because "He told me he would believe and be baptized if I could tell him who Cain's wife was.  I told him what I knew, but it wasn't good enough for him."  IOW, the guy challenged him to answer an unanswerable question.  Off the track here, but it made me think about Cain.  God never spoke to Cain about judgemnt.  God told Cain, in Gen. 4:7:

"...If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.  And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."

And with this, God gives us the two things that we REALLY need to focus on.  First, we should be about finding out God's definition of "doing well".  And second, we need to learn how to "rule over" our sinful desires.

So, my friends out their who are depending on "living a good life" to secure your afterlife, I ask you- stop doing God's job of judgement, and do your job of learning of what "doing well" consists.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Not only am I grateful that you can take a morsel and make a meal but that you give me something to chew on as well.

  3. I think those who tryng to live a good life will often fail, because they are trying to hard and being to judgemental and God doesn't expect us to be like that he just wants us to be the best person we are able to be..........he loves us all no matter what our faults are........and some of us have more faults then others but that said what does he really consider to be a fault......

  4. "but that said what does he really consider to be a fault......" The Epistles are full of lists of the sins we should avoid, but Matt 12:31 tells us:
    "And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come." And the blasphemy against the Spirit is to disbelieve in God and Christ.
    But again, it's better for us to concentrate on what God considers doing well, which we find in Matt 17:5: " While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”

  5. CWM:
    I was immersed back in the 1980s...great experience, too (although it was cold getting out).
    We had the Baptistry right UNDER the pulpit area...for all to see.
    I helped prep it for the service, too (there were several of us baptised that Sunday).

    Amd I agree with Jo-Anne...
    I KNOW I'm not going to EVER be a perfect Christian, and there wil be times I'm gonna be a pretty LOUSY one, but unless the EFFORT to PRACTICE your faith is PUT FORTH, you can never make the kind of progress in the Lord that I feel you should (and is possible through His grace).

    You make a good point about what HE considers a "fault", and we have to ask ourselves what do WE think is a fault, and does that jive with God's version?

    I can see where a slander against the Holy Spirit would be a great way to "cut yourself off" from God's mercies.
    I always felt that the Spirit was the "conduit" by which we can commune with God..and it makes sense in that regard.

    Very good sermonette, Chris.
    Keep the faith and stay safe up there.