How to live a miserable Christian life (part ii)

10 08 2006

Yesterday I began a look at how to live a miserable Christian life. Specifically to look at 10 sure fire areas or activities that are counter Christian and so therefore devoid of joy.

In the first post we highlighted the dangers of 1) trying to repay Jesus for the Cross, 2) neglecting the Bible, 3) neglecting Prayer.

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Let’s pick it up here in view of highlighting pitfalls for Christians that we might not find ourselves miserably caught in the mire.

4. Be Selfish

This is really the seed for everything. I have heard a good friend describe sin as the deification of man and the ‘mannification’ of God. It is to flip the roles. For the Christian to be selfish or self consumed is really counter intuitive. It just doesn’t make sense.

It reminds me of the time I saw Vlade Divac (former Lakers’ center) smoking cigerattes before a game. I’m thinking, this is totally contradictory and inhibitive to what the guy is about to go do…he is about to go and run up and down the court for two hours and he is choking down these cancer sticks like they are made out of protein or something.

In a similar vein, selfishness for the Christian is absurd. The whole point of Christianity is humility. We come to God in humility, confessing our prideful rebellion against him, begging humbly for grace (not earned!!) that we might be given mercy to trust him for forgiveness. Then the whole outflow of the Christian life is to stream from this humble spicket of a biblical self awareness.

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The 60 Second Gospel

5 04 2006

Recently Mark Dever, Senior Pastor of Capital Hills Baptist Church, remarked that in his church’s baptismal interview he requires that perspective canidates are requested to articulate the gospel within sixty seconds. stopwatch_sfw.jpg

Dever’s contention is that if you cannot explain the gospel in this period of time then you probably don’t understand it, and so then the likelihood that a saving transformation has actually taken place is drastically diminished.

As I sat in the congregation and considered Dever’s comments I was so struck by the need for such a barometer of spiritual life.

I cannot even begin to count how many times I have engaged folks with the gospel only to hear them tell me that they were Christians, born-again, professors of Christ…however, the more I prod and preach, the more uncomfortable the dialogue becomes.

For many it seems that the gospel is just about getting the right guy while not saying such evangelical cuss words as “works”, while being sure to drop what has become the salvation clincher in pop-evangelicalism, namely, the “personal-relationship with Jesus card”.

Many become uncomfortable, even angry and insulted when the evangelist continues to talk of such things as faith and repentance, the substitution of Christ and justification by faith…giving you the “why are you wasting your time?!” look.

The gospel is offensive to unbelievers, it is the power of God to the believer!  So, why the poor reception?

I long for the day when an evangelical approaches me on the street or in a mall to discuss the gospel; after all I don’t walk around with an “E” for elect stamped on my forehead =^P….

So let’s keep sharing, keep evangelizing, even if it just educating contemporary “churchianity”….somebody might actually get saved!!

So here’s my attempt at a 60 second gospel:

God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.

The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.

God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.

But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.

And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.

This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.

God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.

God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.

Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.

I think I got it in 60…Bostonians talk a little faster than mid-westerners ;->