Friday, November 8, 2013

What Are You Doing?!?

Angry jesus
The picture is supposed to be an angry Jesus.  We know that He shed the quiet, gentle, loving demeanor when appropriate.  He wasn’t too thrilled with the Pharisees or the Scribes.  And we saw Him go after the moneychangers in the temple.  By Jesus’ example, there is such a thing as righteous anger.  I can picture Him angrily asking, “What are you doing?!?”.  What got me thinking about this?  One of the nicest spiritual experiences I’ve had in some time. 

I’m in a church that is continually spiritually awesome.  A day doesn’t go by that I’m not blessed by pastors, staff, or congregation members.  Yes, I’m spoiled.  I love my church, I love my Pastor, and I love his humility and his heart for his flock and for the lost.  I’m sure you’ve heard about the message that Billy Graham wanted to share with the nation for his 95th birthday.  It had been prerecorded, with some testimonies mixed in.  We got to see it as part of our Wednesday night midweek service.  What a wonderful experience!  So, what about that made me think of an  angry Jesus?

I was reminded that this is a 95 year old man.  Over the years, God has placed him close to world leaders.  He has filled stadiums with larger audiences than the sports teams they usually house.  He has advised Presidents.  And here’s what is said to be his last message.  And the message is NOT “look at me”, “listen to me”, “I’m important”.  It was the same message Billy Graham has preached for his entire adult life.  Look unto Jesus.  As always, Billy Graham loved souls.

That’s what made me upset, angry, irate, and any other similar adjective you can think of.  In contrast to what we can all see in Billy Graham, our online world has spawned a whole new breed – the spiritual critic.  In the last several weeks I’ve seen various doctrinal beliefs criticized in tones that underscored the “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitude behind them.  There have been personal arguments within a Christian group that had the battlers all leave the group, then others because they couldn’t see what the group’s leadership was doing behind the scenes.  Too many times, I’ve seen people point out faults of the leader God has placed over them, whether it be in business or in spirituality, because they didn’t want to do what the leader said to do.  Don’t go getting all subjective on me.  That’s not about YOU, it’s about US!!!

I’m as guilty as the next guy.  I don’t recall the verse in Ephesians where it says to criticize our brethren.  Or doesn’t this apply?:

John 17:11 (KJV)  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
 
Jesus prays to the Father that we might have unity, and we do our best to separate ourselves around our limited pet doctrines.  So much for “What would Jesus do?”.  When Jesus told the Pharisees that they were of their father, the devil (John 8:44), He said that for several reasons.
  1. They used doctrine to separate believers.
  2. They used doctrine to gain power.
  3. Their manipulations kept people from God.
Think about that.  The unity that Jesus so much desires for us is killed by doctrinal arguments.  I’m not talking about blasphemy, it’s our own understanding of the very same Word that gets in the way.  Because, of course, “I’m right.”.  Our bickering sets up a barrier to others joining us in our belief.  The behavior we find unacceptable in the secular world, because it creates separation, distrust, and misunderstanding, isn’t going to be any more acceptable in the spiritual realm.

We talk a lot about how God has been removed from the schools and government.  And we try to fight that with legal battles.  Mostly unsuccessfully.  But look at Billy Graham.  He doesn’t say anything about taking people to court.  He talks about bringing them to Christ.  Pure and simple.  Share the Gospel.  Sure there are more unbelievers than believers.  Is going to court going to change that?  Or is it evangelism that will?

Something else to consider.  We can discuss all we want the veracity of the Bible.  We can debate whether there’s a literal hell or not.  But we all say that we have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Jesus says:

Luke 19:10 (KJV)  For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

We know that Jesus coming into our lives changed us.  Isn’t that relationship important enough and big enough to share with others?  We’d shout from the rooftops about another person we fell in love with.  We’ll give strangers a glowing report about some new piece of technology.  But we’ll suggest we’re invading someone’s privacy if we think about sharing about a relationship with God, that has eternal consequences?  That says one of two things.  The God we conceive is a whole lot smaller than we publicly admit, or our relationship with God is a lot weaker than we say it is.

Billy Graham, at 95, still keeps his thoughts in line with God’s thoughts – seek and save the lost.  I know I’ve violated all these things at various times.  Sometimes without realizing it.  And I publicly repent.  I don’t want Jesus having to angrily ask me, “What are you doing?!?”.

So.  What are you doing?!?  More importantly, what are you doing about it?  And that Billy Graham message?  That's here: http://myhopewithbillygraham.org/?

2 comments:

  1. This is so on target for our culture; the generations coming up (30 and under) don't LIKE Christianity largely due to what they see from the outside looking in, such as hypocrisy and insincerity, such as what you point out. Thank you for your boldness! Jesus saves...AMEN!

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