Monday, August 21, 2006

Pt 6: Obedience Part 1

Men are carnal and prone to what is easy. Typically, as sinful men, we will also be prone to what comes quickly. If we look to the Apostles for an example we find something altogether different. They were so truly changed by Jesus that they sought Him in everything they did. Often you will find the intellectual rebellion telling us about the grand results of their work. This is whole heartily backwards. One's central focus should always be on Christ and His kingdom. These men will tell you lack of growth or numbers is a problem in need of radical change. The major problem with a result driven argument or approach is that many men in the Bible saw no "success" according to our standards. However, the only success we can know as imperfect sinful creatures is obedience to God's word.

How can we ever claim someone is successful based only on visible results? I'm sure anyone ignorant of their actions might think Joseph's brothers appeared to be quite successful after selling their brother into slavery. "Look," they would say, "They serve their father and comfort him in distress!" But their hearts were sinful, and their motives corrupt.

Firstly, anyone we could be talking about is a sinner who's righteousness is as filthy rags before God. Secondly, their ministry must be solely rooted in God's word before any such word like "successful" can be brought near it. Finally, our thoughts should never be so concerned with the success of someone or a ministry, but rather the obedience and Christ-likeness of the person or ministry.

If your ministry sees big results, praise the Lord for that, not the methods or approaches you used. You should never say, "I used these new methods from this book and many people are here. The results are wonderful and now it is time to obey the Scriptures." This again, is a reversed focus. You've spent all your time learning and trying this method to be successful in man's eyes that you've placed obedience to God's word at the bottom of your list of importance. You should strive so hard to obey God's word that any "success" you may have goes unnoticed. The less we pay attention to results and the more attention we give to obedience, the more true success we will experience.

So, good Christian, do not let these men sway you. Hold closely to God's word despite results and numbers that may be discouraging. Let them try their new tricks and methods with every new season, because the only timeless approach is obedience. Some might now say, "So what method or approach is right?" We will deal with that next.


PART SEVEN: Obedience Part 2

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Pt 5: Human Understanding

How can one confidently say, “I understand the ways of God perfectly” in view of human sinfulness? We can only very meekly say, “I imperfectly understand very little about God.” This sober approach is the only approach that a finite being must take toward an infinitely perfect being. Any deeper reasoning given for why God creates, damns, and sends men to hell must only be given in light of the Holy Scriptures. Too often men will shrug their shoulders and say, “We can’t say why God does what He does.” I contest that this is a dangerous and unnecessary extreme.

If we search the Scriptures we commonly and consistently find reasons given for the actions of God. We must admit, however, that not all of God’s actions, characteristics, and behavior can be confidently and exhaustively explained. Our finite and imperfect existence keeps us bound to a limited and small understanding. Still, such a wonderful and infinite being God is! Just our glimmer of sight into His existence is enough to ponder and discuss for all eternity.

So we should never shrug off questions of “why” and “how” about God. We should earnestly seek an answer from God and His Word. A slippery slope awaits those who do not wish to study or find answers. These men only wish to “feel” God, rather than “know” God. The intellectual rebellion has a new leader, book, or idea every minute. This rebellion also fizzles out quickly; almost as quickly as it starts. How can warriors be grown on milk and no meat? On feeling and no knowledge? On emotion and no understanding?


PART SIX: Obedience