Luke 2:11-14 NIV
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Jesus is our Messiah, the Christ, the anointed one of God, God the Son, who was given to us for our salvation from sin. He was born as a baby, conceived of the Holy Spirit, so he was fully God yet fully human. He grew to become a man, and he ministered to the people on the earth for a period of about three years. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, comforted the sorrowful, forgave sins, fed the hungry, and delivered people from demons.
He also preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God. He taught that if we are to come after him, we must deny self and take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him. For, he said, if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives for his sake, i.e. if we die with him to sin, and live with him to righteousness, then we have eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17).
A lot of people followed him for a time, many of them because he fed them or because he performed miracles and healed their diseases. But, when he told them the cost of following him, most deserted him, because they said his teaching was “too hard.” For, Jesus Christ demanded death to sin and he demanded obedience to his commands, not sinless perfection, but walking with him, turning away from our sins, and following him where he leads us.
The religious leaders in the temple, for the most part, hated him, and they tried at every turn to trap him with his words or to discredit him because of his actions. And, eventually they plotted and carried out his death. But, it was God’s will that Jesus should die, for he who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross so that we might die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Yet, that is not the gospel that many who preach the gospel today are preaching or teaching, especially inside the market-driven church. What they are selling is another gospel, a cheap grace gospel, which is a new gospel, not the Old-Time Gospel of the Old Rugged Cross. But, the cheap grace gospel is no grace at all, for it delivers no one from their sins, but it entertains their sins and permits them to continue in sinful lifestyles without guilt and without remorse, yet with the promise of heaven when they die.
Basically, what they have done is to improve on the old gospel, to make it better than the old one, or so they think. So, they make what we owe lesser than what it is. And, thus they also cheapen what Jesus Christ did on the cross when he gave his life’s blood for our sins. For, they make it not about Jesus putting sin to death in our lives, but they reduce what he did to mere forgiveness, and as though he now just masks our sins, as though they no longer matter to God. But, the debt that we owe is death, and Jesus paid that price so that we could die to sin and live to righteousness, because we couldn’t do it on our own (Rom. 8:1-17 with a focus on vv. 12-13).
Not only that, but they are not concerned with whether or not we put God’s true grace into practice in our everyday lives. They don’t care if we participate with Jesus in his death to sin and in living with him in walking in his holiness. What many of them who teach this cheap grace gospel want is just for us to pray the prayer or to make the confession of Christ as Savior of our lives. Thus, as long as we say we believe in Jesus, they are good with that. It doesn’t matter to them if we actually do believe in Jesus, as Jesus defined belief, and as his NT apostles defined belief.
And, not only are they teaching this cheap grace gospel, but they have removed from the market-driven church the Old Time Gospel, and they have reduced it to a pile of filth and lies, for they claim that it is works-based salvation and that it is legalism and that no one should listen to it. So, for those who buy into those lies, they remain in the darkness, and they are then still bound for hell, dead in their sins, without the hope of eternal life. So, they need people who will give them the living water, instead.
God’s Boundary Lines
The adulterous church, which has bought into the cheap grace gospel, is trying, thus, to take what is morally correct, honest, pure and holy, and they are taking it below (less than) God’s boundary lines which he has set in place for us.
In other words, this is all about remodeling the old gospel to make it more appealing and acceptable to the world and to the flesh of humans. So, they are altering God’s grace to make it fit better with people’s sinful lifestyles. And, thus, they are also altering and are lowering God’s standards of holiness, too, so that his standards are in danger of dying out altogether.
But, this teaching is what is really hard, not what Jesus taught, because it is cruel to take what is righteous and holy and sacred, i.e. God’s standards, and then to lower God’s holy standards for how we are to live our lives. For, those who do this are sending people straight to hell while promising them heaven, and they are committing them to a life of bondage to sin, when they could be free if they only believed the truth, instead of the lie.
God gave to Christian men the spiritual responsibility to lead their families and the church to holiness, righteousness, purity, and devotion to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives. But, they are to lead them, not with words only, but by their examples. For, words can be cheap if they are not followed up with action, and especially if the actions are actually opposed to God’s righteousness and holiness.
But, the sad reality here is that probably most Christian men in America, who claim to be followers of Jesus, instead of being on fire for the Lord, serving him, leading others by example, and by teaching the truth of God’s Word, are lazy gluttons who are feeding their own fleshly appetites instead.
The authority in their lives is not God but their own flesh, spiritual idleness, and whatever other gods are in their lives to whom they do give their passion and their devotion. For the vast majority of them, it would appear that the main idol in their lives is sexual idolatry and immorality, including adultery and unfaithfulness to their spouses, and spiritual abandonment to their households and to the church.
And, this has become epidemic in America’s churches, and especially among pastors, too. And, this explains, then, why the church in America is on such a spiritual decline, because their leaders are spiritually AWOL (missing). And, it explains, too, why the gospel has been cheapened, so that these men do not have to feel guilty about their sin, nor do they have to change behavior.
Although many of these men have known the Lord or have portended to know the Lord for many years, and perhaps most of their lives, they still behave like selfish children who then throw temper tantrums when they can’t get their own way; when their self-centered expectations are not met. And, when their flesh wants something, they just go after it, just like a young child would do, only they know better. Many who are pastors or elders or Bible study teachers are some of the worst offenders.
What is base – dishonorable, improper, corrupt, vile and immoral – is being lifted up and supported by their lifestyles, too. For, they have uncircumcised hearts which are filled with all kinds of filth and wickedness, much of which they will hide and then pretend that they are righteous, and spiritual, and that they are walking with Jesus. And, this way of thinking is being strengthened, fortified and encouraged by this cheap grace gospel which puts no sin to death, but which leaves it alive and active in people’s lives.
Thus, their passion for the Lord comes only when it is convenient for them, or when it fits their purposes. For, their devotion to God is changeable depending on who they are with or depending on their circumstances. In other words, many of them live double lives, trying to be righteous on the outside while their hearts are filled to the brim with what is wicked.
But, the problem lies with what is in their hearts, and many of them are not willing to allow God’s Holy Spirit to change their hearts. So, they will try all these human methods to try to control their urges, but the heart remains the same. And, so they go through a cycle of sin, lie, cover-up, maybe confess, then sin, lie, cover-up, and maybe confess, but they never get out of the rut, because they never truly give their hearts over to Jesus’ Lordship.
Even though they know that what they are doing is evil, and even though they know that they are hurting other people in the process, and that they are murdering their wives and their marriages and their churches, they continue in their sexual idolatry, and it has become what is fixed in their hearts, character and conduct, instead of it being the Lord and his purity, his holiness and his righteousness.
So, we need to pray for them that they will be ashamed of their conduct and the condition of their hearts, and that they will, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, be circumcised in heart and mind so that they can walk righteously before God and lead us to follow suit.
An Original Work / November 21, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
My people have forsaken Me,
Their Savior, who died on a tree;
Made idols, and they worshipped them;
So empty, they will ne’er fulfill.
Lord, You are the hope of Your chosen ones.
Those who turn away from You will be shamed;
The Spring of Living Water left behind.
Living Water satisfies.
The thirsty, let them come and drink;
Believe in Jesus as their King;
The gift of Jesus given them,
So they will never thirst again.
Indeed, the Living Water flows within.
It springs up like a fountain cleansing sin.
Eternal life in heaven promised them.
Living Water glorifies.
Oh people, won’t you come to Him?
Obey Him and repent of sin.
Let Jesus come and live within.
Surrender all your life to Him.
My people, won’t you turn your hearts to Me?
Forsake your idols and then you’ll be free.
Won’t you come now to Me on bended knee?
Living Water sanctifies.
Sunday, December 23, 2018