Friday, July 16, 2010

FROM ALL SIDES

A. Brother
©2010 Narrowgate Publishing


          “Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there…”
                                                                          --Romans 15:31

            “I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teachings you have learned.”  --Romans 16:17

            “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, 
for He who promised is faithful.”  --Hebrews 10:23


            The religious often attack and demean those who hold to the true gospel of Christ.  Unbelievers can be vicious in their condemnation of Christ and His Way.  But so-called believers, those who take the name “Christian”, can be the most dangerous opponents.  Because they use portions of the Word of God to justify whatever they do, they can deceive and intimidate those who would follow Christ, shoving them off the narrow road of their Savior’s walk, and bidding them take the wide road of religion with them.
          Paul experienced these attacks.  He had to flee for his life several times from unbelievers, but many more times He endured opposition and hatred from those who claimed to be with Christ, or who claimed to be of Israel.  These religious people were zealots, not for the true, simple hope that Christ brought to all men, but for their religious and spiritual traditions, handed down to them.
          So today we have a similar situation.
          The so-called “Christian” churches and organizations, by the thousands, spend their time defending their way of life, their traditions, their rights in society.  These nominal believers name the Name, but naming Christ and claiming Christ mean nothing.  It is all in the walk.  Either they cling to the simple teachings of the gospel and practice them, full of the love and good deeds which Scripture call us to, or they are disobedient practitioners of empty religion, like the Pharisees in Jesus’ time.  There is no in-between.
          One of the greatest lies of Satan that has pervaded the world, and poured into the churches through shallow and misled teachers and preachers, is this:
          “Yes, the churches are not perfect, and yes, the people who call themselves Christians are not perfect, but that’s just life, and we must accept that.  Our structures and organizations and methods of working may be flawed and not exactly according to Scripture, but we must understand that they never will be—after all, we’re just humans trying to live out the principles of God’s Word.  So relax, enjoy the church programs and services, and give your tithe, and get on with your Christian life the way we do it now.  Sit down, shutup, and hold on, because this large bus is too big to change direction, and if you’re a Christian you’ve just got to play the game the way we’ve laid it out.”

          We’ve got a situation here, brothers.  We’ve got a fleet of out of control buses careening down the superhighway of life and society.  It’s called the Modern Christian Express.  It’s a huge fleet, and it’s ungainly, and it takes massive amounts of fuel to keep going.  It’s powered by the money and the maintenance work of millions of people who’ve convinced themselves or been convinced by others that it’s the only bus line available.  It’s run by a professional clergy class, and supported by a professional management class, and these leaders have a vested interest (salaries and retirement programs), in keeping this bus line moving.
          Many of the people on the bus are content to ride it forever, because it gives them a sense of comfort, and a familiar seat, and it costs only a small portion of their income to ride, and they see the faces of people in the other seats around them that are a lot like them.  It’s safe, it’s easy, and it’s got a pretty smooth ride.  Not much is ever required of them, except to sing loudly, and then listen to someone talk about the Bible or Jesus for an hour.  There are a minority of the riders in the bus who actively become involved—maybe they hold the map for the driver, or turn the lights on and off, or clean the restroom at the back.  Some usher people to their seats.  Some count the money that the riders drop in the box at the front.  Some buy the fuel; some ask people for money for the fuel if they aren’t giving enough to keep the bus going.
          Tragically, many who do want to know Christ are in these buses, and are caught up in the ride.  They pray and read Scripture and work to fellowship with the other passengers, but it’s hard with all the distractions.
          The Modern Christian Express is a corporation with many buses, some of which are massive.  They take up the whole road, and when some of the riders on smaller buses see these behemoths, with their flashy colors and their streamlined design, their state-of-the-art electronic entertainment at each seat, and the large luggage capacity, they get the driver to slow down enough to jump out of their out-dated coach and jump onto the newer, bigger, faster, more luxurious bus.
 
          This Bus Fleet Christianity is just that: Christianity—a religion.  It has nothing to do with Christ, and His Way.  Absolutely nothing.  There is no resemblance between this modern man-made conception of church and the gospel of Christ that Paul preached, and all the apostles and prophets lived and died for.
          If you think that all you have to do is purchase a ticket on these modern, sleek buses with Christian painted in bold letters on the side, and you’ll be entering the Kingdom of God without any problem, you are sadly and tragically mistaken.
          The broad highway that leads to destruction is paved with foolish ignorance of Scripture and bad advice from others. 
          Are you seeking the God of Scripture with all your heart?  Are you holding to His Word, and learning it by the revelation of His Spirit, which anointing all believers have?  When you learned Christ did you learn to die to empty religion and dead worldly ways of living, or did you just learn to do church they way the Modern Christian Express does it?
          Following Christ, and being in Christ, has always attracted the few, like Jesus experienced, and many oppose the simple gospel, due to their personal interest in keeping things status quo, whether the status quo is Scriptural or not.  Many look out for their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus, especially in this current self-focused age.
          Will you follow Jesus?
          The trail is narrow, the grades steep, and the cost is everything you are and own.  It’s a difficult hike, and it won’t end until we leave this earth.  Many who profess Christ will try to block you from getting off the bus.  They will desperately defend Modern Christianity, and put obstacles in your way.  They will ridicule you, and malign your name, and argue with you.  But you must want to find out what Jesus actually says, and experience being one of His true disciples, more than you desire the approval and accolades of men.
          Go to your knees, open the Word, and begin the true adventure.
          Get off the bus, and take the narrow road with Christ.
          

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