Friday, February 15, 2013

Does Jesus Love Hypocrites Too?

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin.

Oh the tension of the Gospel.  Let me give you the context of why I'm writing it.

One of my favorite (sarcasm) things to do is to listen to Christian's rant.  Hahaha.  Funny because I'm preparing to rant to you right now--which further shows how easy it is to be hypocritical, but more on that later!

But again, one of my favorite things to do is hear Christian's rant.  Sometimes we have good points.  And sometimes we don't.  But some of my favorite ones in particular are the Facebook posts that are ripping into the "hypocrites" of the churches they attend.  Now, don't get me wrong.  There's a time to rebuke the believers, but on Facebook?  On Twitter?

Come on.

Is that even biblical?  Is that how biblical rebuke look like?  And maybe I haven't heard enough testimonies of Facebook convictions leading to transformed maybe that's why I don't have the faith in that method.  But here are my thoughts.

The title of this blog is "Does Jesus Love Hypocrites Too?"

He does. Doesn't he?  Well, judging by the text above, it probably doesn't sound like it He still loves them.  Sounds like Jesus is calling out evil and taking names.  But....who was he talking to in the text? And what were they doing?

Was he talking to the people who were struggling with addictions and sins that aren't common?  No...he was speaking to the ones condemning the people for breaking the religious laws.
And as I've been reading and digging and working to understand the Gospel, I'm finding that any other "gospel" that is preached is really starting to work my heart in a bad way.  Like I get legitimately frustrated when I see this happening.  That Christians are hanging over believers and/or unbelievers heads this craziness of "you shouldn't be drinking, dressing like this, acting like this" but they never connect it to the Gospel.  And I know their intentions are right and honest, but what they don't realize is that they are communicating this:

"Hey, God is not accepting your lifestyle.  So clean it up and get right with God."

Which is not the Gospel at all.  God doesn't tolerate sin. But He's slow to anger and able to receive us and invite us into fellowship with Him,  and then in return of experiencing His love we pursue holiness.  You're not going to clean yourself up without being received into God's fellowship.  Not some, "give up these things and you'll be a Christian, who are good and pleasing in the Lord's sight". And that's how we communicate it.  Because here's what you can bank on.  If you rebuke and pray how the Bible suggests we do so, and they respond with bitterness or resentment or whatever---chances are they were not saved anyway.

Scary thought huh?  Perhaps some of the people we call out as being hypocrites aren't even born again repented believers?

Will this change your approach?  Will this not emphasize how important it is to share the greatest love story with this person because again, here's what I'm discovering.  The Gospel exposes all things.  It exposes the hypocrites, the sinners, and the believers.  It aligns the believers back to their Lord.  It moves the sinners to coming to repentance.  And it exposes the people that many of us call hypocrites that have only committed to the Christian lifestyle, and not the Christ.

So Jesus loves those that we call hypocrites----and actually he's calling you the hypocrite.  Do you not remember how you received your righteousness?   It was not because you let go of whatever you're holding someone else too.  It was not because you gave up and went without and have never tasted, sipped, smoked, been, wherever and whatever the people you're calling out have been doing.  Do you not remember how you received your righteousness?   It was all because of Jesus.

The Gospel invites them in. And we must as well.  Invite them in, and have you forgotten how God wooed you into obeying Him?  He received you.  He accepted you.  He didn't  condemn you.  And then....He convicted you...He began to change you.  Do the same for people.

Honestly and sincerely.  I applaud you for your stance of holiness and truth and the right way.  But be careful that you don't become like the hypocrites Jesus was talking to.  The ones who forgot their righteousness comes from Him.  We can't forget that, because we must deal with the lost on that first.  Let's begin to biblically define sin and not just see sin as frowned upon actions.  But the biblical definition of sin, how it defines it as a fruit of a sinful heart and nature that causes us to be rebellious, enemies of God, warring against His authority and rule, wanting our own ways, but Jesus redeemed and saved us from this wrath piling up against us.

Jesus invited us in.  He didn't condemn.  So you can't either.  And you shouldn't.  I'll close with this verse.    

Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?  Galatians 3:2

Let's be careful not to shut the kingdom of heaven down because we're holding people to a standard that they honestly don't have to live up to unless they have truly received Jesus from responding to the Gospel.  So let that be your starting point.  Considering it is the basis of our faith, it's a solid starting point.

Good day my friends.

Monday, February 4, 2013

What Is The Point?

Hello readers.  Welcome to my heart.  Let's begin. 

I know you've seen the title, but I want to ask you again. What is the point of all of this?  What is the point of being a Christian? In my pursuit of further growing in truth and understanding, I'm finding a gap between me and a lot of people is forming.  Wanna know what it is? 

A lot of people ain't pursuing that. 

And after reading a few books from Andy Stanley and listening to Matt Chandler regularly, two guys in my "circle" that constantly go against the norm, it brought me to this question that unbelievers could be asking.

Why is your lifestyle better than mine?  Why is your Jesus better for me? 

If you're an unbeliever reading this, or you're not feeling this whole church thing, this is the perfect blog for you.  Because, I love how we Christians have just assumed that we can just walk up to you, toss out some information about sin and Hell, and we just expect for you to respond and repent.  Ideally, that's the easy part.  But I'll save that for another blog.   

Because, I mean your entire identity has been tied up in what you're doing.  Who am I to tell you you're wrong or sinning or whatever.  Lol.  I get it.  I get it.  Who am I? 

So I'm asking the question that you're asking us.  What is the point?  What is the point of being a Christian?  What is the point of giving my life and heart to Jesus?  Ya'll are boring.  Your lifestyles suck.  You never have any fun.  You all seem to be stuck up and tight wads and you can't do anything.  What is the point of going through all of that? 

And here's what our Bible Belt culture and over saturated "Christian" country has done.  We've boiled down the message of Jesus Christ to what's right and what's wrong.  To do's and don't's. To behavioral modification, to lifestyle adjustments.  It's boiled down to: Christian's shouldn't party.  Christian's shouldn't drink.  Blah blah blah. 

The problem is way deeper than those do's and don't's.  There's a deeply rooted heart of sin that plague's all of us.  So shootings in Sandy Hook and movie theaters make sense when you look at sin in the proper way.  It's not just drinking a beer or being in a bar, but it is a self centered rebellion against a holy God that screams for my way, my will is better.  All of our actions are stemmed from thinking of what "I want."  Many of us are so subconscious to it that we don't even realize that the reason we hate people or make the decisions we make is because of what we want.  We are so critical of all things, why?  Because we feel our opinions and decisions are better.  And this has gotten so funny to me, because there is a constant wave of this throughout regular conversations.  If a person doesn't respond how we think they should, or do what we expect for them to do, or say what we think they should say, WE ARE OFFENDED OR AGGRAVATED. 

That is the heart of sin. 

And that heart of sin is leading to our death.  Our bodies are infected with this disease and it's slowly killing us.  It's driving our motivations.  It's the driving force in many of our relationships.  That's why the bible calls us evil, once enemies of God.  (Romans 5:10) 

And I know what you're thinking, I'm not an enemy of God.  I love Him. Check this verse out.  "In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome," 1 John 5:3. 

Let's highlight the last part of that verse.  "His commands are not burdensome."  Have you noticed that everything is hard to do when you don't want to do it?  That homework. That essay.  Those chores.  But when you're willing to do them, it becomes easy. 

The heart of sin makes it hard for us to submit to an authority.  It's the same reason why we get mad at a policeman for writing us a ticket when we were the ones that broke the law by speeding. 

So what is the point of being a Christian?  I want to sum it up in this next paragraph. 

The point is that without Jesus, without the righteousness of Christ covering our sins, we are enemies of God and due the wrath of His judgement.  So all of us are enemies of God.  But Romans 5:10 tells us "For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son." So here's the gospel!  Don't miss it!  While you are a sinful mess.  While you are an enemy of God, rebelling against His will and His way, His perfect and flawless design, corrupting all that He has created---God restored the friendship.  God loved you, while you were ignoring Him.  While you were disobeying, hiding, rebelling, hating, whatever, He has loved you and has restore the friendship through Jesus.  This is the Good News.  And it's sooo good for all of us, because after Jesus saves us from this heart of sin, we are granted the inheritance of eternal life. Freely given to us. 

That is the point.  We get eternal life.  I know all of us will admit there's evil.  You can't watch a day on the news without realizing that.  So the opposite must be true.  There has to be a good.  And the Good News is that good. 

Ignore what your religious teachings has shrunken the message of Jesus down too.  This is your first response.  Don't worry about stop going to bars and having sex.  Just focus on responding to the love of God, of the love of His mercy and His grace sufficiently covering us in this moment.  The power of God will take care of all that other stuff.  But just respond. 

Just respond. 

That is the point.