Sunday, April 15, 2018
Sunday message- where is the love?
The other day, a friend of mine on FB suggested to his circle that we try MeWe, which is supposed to be a sort of FB without the bad things inherent to FB. This is not a post about relative values on social media. But when I got there, they basically are a group-motivated site, and have groups on several different subjects. There is a Christian subject there, and I found two likely groups to nose into. But what I found was a lot like the worst part of Facebook.
I made comments on two posts. One was on a post from a "Reverend" who founded the particular group, sharing an article on the Pope once again asserting the Catholic Church's (and thus his own) prerogative to "interpret" the Bible in ways someone who actually believes the Bible is the Living and Sufficient Word of God would not. Not my deal- I've seen it, fought the battle, wore out the t-shirt and threw it away. What bothered me was how the "Reverend" prefaced the post he shared:
The VILLAGE IDIOT!
Pope Francis Says His Words ‘Overrule The Bible’ – Truth Unsealed
To which I basically replied, that whether the Pope was wrong or right, WE are not supposed to fight the battle for Christ with insults. I mentioned Matthew 5:22:
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
To which some lady then replied:
Pope is not God and told many lies. He will answer to God for that!
And I bailed on that conversation after politely asking whether she actually read my comment.
Another group had a guy who had a Jones on about "once saved, always saved." I made a short comment that left a lot of room for interpretation- because, while it is a DEBATABLE concept, it is not an ESSENTIAL concept to our salvation. I then received a rather large list of one-off scripture verses supposedly backing his point, prefaced with the implication that not believing his way MIGHT lead me to hellfire, and I shouldn't "argue with scripture".
Needless to say, I think MeWe may well be a short lived experiment. I can get such aggravation from FB or Twitter just as easy.
But it saddens me that everybody out there thinks like a conquistador- convert the pagans at swordpoint, and who cares how many you have to slaughter to get them there. So many people out there that name themselves Christians do this same thing- pelt you with single verses without one REAL look around the context to see what the actual point of the verse is. A very wise man once taught me, "ALWAYS read the 10 verses before and ten verses after." Look at it this way. Pile up a stack of different pieces and sizes of wood, and what do you have? A pile of wood. Put that wood together the way the DESIGNER shows you and what do you get?
And here's the thing- You have to use discernment on what is necessary to believe for salvation, for example the death and Resurrection of Christ, the Godhood of Jesus- and what isn't, like once saved-always saved, or pre-trib/post-trib. And one thing that is essential is to bear fruit- it is the proof of your salvation. And what is the best way to bear fruit?
1 John 3 11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters,[b] if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death. 15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
19 This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
13 verses, reinforcing the same point: Love one another. Which ties into what Jesus Himself told the Apostles at the Last Supper:
John 13 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
So now you see the house being built here. But how big is the house?
Mark 12 28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[e] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[f] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no commandment greater than these.”
32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
But later on, someone hoping to shorten the leash asked, "Define 'neighbor' " And Jesus gave the Parable of the Good Samaritan- a man who tended to the needs- at his own cost and risk- of someone who their society would have said, "Just let him die."
Now, let me ask you: Even if the Pope is dead wrong, even if he is a deceiver, even if his is a church which ignores Matthew 15:9- " But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" -are you any more wrong calling him an idiot and throwing him to judgment without so much as a prayer for his repentance?
Where is your LOVE? Where is your FRUIT?
I just ended electronic relationships with two people in the past year who showed me that their concept of "love" is limited to those who agree with their politics and world view. I ended the relationship because, while I still love and pray for them, I couldn't any longer be poisoned by the hate that their "love" brought forth.
Christians, stop nit-picking the battle! It isn't about once saved, pre-trib, immerse or sprinkle, or any of the crap debates EVERY social media is heir to. If you open your hearts and listen to Paul, there's only one important thing...
1 Cor 2 2 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony[a] of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human[b] wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.