December 1 2014
Oh my goodness… Black Friday is over! Thank the Lord. All the pushing, shoving, foul language. The impatience and bad attitudes. Tazers, and even knives were rumored. I’m telling you… eating Thanksgiving dinner with Ellen’s family is brutal! J
Okay so let me stick my neck out here just a little bit into the realm of “full contact Christianity.” So if you really want to get some folks’ ire up in the faith how do you do it? What do you say? What issues do you question? Things like:
Causing people to stumble? Matthew 18:7 – Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!
Nope we’re not too concerned with that.
Not caring for those in need? Matthew 25:35-37 – – For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
Nope don’t care so much for that.
Being hypocrites? Matthew 23:27 – “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean”.
There are many more issues that ought to incense us. Things that ought to cause believers to rise up and confront with all that we are. But these are not them. Well at least they don’t seem to be first on the list.
BUT… question whether Jesus is coming back soon???? – Oh my! You will receive the full attention (wrath?) of those who put many of their Christians eggs into that basket. I had a professor in college who said this, “Christians have a New Testament that either has 26 books in it because they ignore Revelation. Or they have a New Testament with 1 book in it…” You get it, right? I have known too many Christians over the years who know all about prophecy (or they think they do). They focus their lives on knowing the end times. They are up on all of the latest “gossip posing as theology” related to eschatology (look it up). And yet they have little idea of the need to live their lives fully sold out to Jesus. Or they think that focusing on the “end times” is sold out to Jesus?
Why do we do this? Why the focus on “the end times”? Particularly in light of several very important verses from Jesus and Paul.
Matthew 24:36-37 – – “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 – – “Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
Seriously… how hard are they to figure out? We don’t know, we won’t know and I don’t think we’re supposed to know. So why the vigor… to know?
A few less then complimentary thoughts.
- In our arrogance as Americans we look at the plight of Christianity in our country (not exclusively, I understand) and since The Church is in dramatic decline and to some degree persecuted (irrelevant?), we must be near the end times. That is the height of hubris! Who do we think we are?! Do we think that the Kingdom somehow focuseson or revolves around the USA? This naiveté posing as “Christian Patriotism” makes me ill.
- We are a people who have gossipy minds… we just have to know things first. And we need to make sure that others know we know things first. I sense it has something to do with self-importance, but I’m not positive. It’s not unlike when we get a phone call that someone is critically ill, or that a friend died. Something in us just has to tell others. Not just because they might want to know… but also because we want to make sure that folks know that we knew first. What’s better to know first than the fact that Jesus is coming soon?! That is a juicy piece of information!
- Do you remember what the sin of Adam and Eve was? They wanted to be like God. Go back and review Matthew 24 above. Who does it say has the exclusive intel on the second coming? So if we want to know what only God knows… uh… does anyone else see a problem with that?
One little suggestion… and I say this with some reservation. Take some time to read through the Gospels. Not the other parts of the Bible, just the Gospels. Then compare your issues to Jesus’ issues. Does he address the things that are dear to you? If so how are they addressed? Does he mention them directly, indirectly or not at all? Then ask yourself how important they ought to be to you. Don’t misunderstand me… I’m not saying the other parts of the Scriptures are not important. I am implying however that if we’re going to begin somewhere we might want to begin with the Words of our Lord.
Frankly it all makes me embarrassed to be around believers sometimes (not so thrilled with myself on occasion either). This misguided, self-centered focus is difficult to deal with. If you never mention the second coming, end times, prophecy related to last things or eschatology again, but you fill your life with caring for the poor and leading people toward the Lord… Well I’m going to guess you will honor God much more than trying to know what only He knows.