Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Becoming Like Jesus

Imagine there is a line that separates being Christian from being worldly. Much of modern North American Christianity spends it's time trying to get as close to that line as possible and still stay on the Christian side. Of course, that is a recipe for failure. Those of us who believe the doctrine of total depravity know that humans default to sin. If we are not careful we always lean towards sin. So, that line we talked about gets crossed quite often. Or it gets straddled. Either way you end up with professing Christians living worldly lives. Ask yourself how long it has been since you have heard a sermon in church on worldliness. Yet, the Holy Scriptures tell us that to be a friend of the world is to be an enemy of God.

I was listening to a well known seminary professor recently and he was mentioning the current trend to talk about doing deeds for Jesus. He spoke of how we (North American Christians) have come to believe that we believe the right things and that we simply aren't living them out. He quoted a well known Evangelical preacher who said that the first Reformation was about creeds and now we need a second reformation that is focused on deeds. But then this seminary professor goes on to point out that we are living out our beliefs. An old Baptist adage says "Right belief leads to right living." If that is true, then it also follows that the more we deviate from right beliefs the more we will deviate from right living.

Foundational among our beliefs is the belief that the Bible is the Holy Word of God. Jesus Christ is the Living Word, but the Bible is the written word of God. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. We receive the Bible as Moses received the stone tablets on Mt. Sinai. Those tablets were written with the fiery finger of God and the Holy Scriptures were written by the Spirit of the Living God through the hands of His chosen writers. We call the Scriptures inerrant and infallible. And so they are. We call ourselves "People of the Book." And so we are. We make nothing binding on a Christian that can not be clearly shown from the Word of God. It is our "final rule for faith and practice." Yet for all that, we tent to take the commands of God as divine suggestions and we bend it's teachings so as to make ourselves comfortable in our modern, worldly lifestyles.

Beloved, how do we become like Jesus? I will tell you how. We must remember what we say we believe about the Bible, the Holy Word of God. Then we need to make that belief a part of our innermost being. Then we need to read the Bible and receive it as words spoken to us from on high. Then, and this is the hard part, when we find something we are not doing, we must do it. IF we find something we are doing that we ought not to do, we must stop it. Above all we need to quit arguing with the Word, reinterpreting the Word, changing the Word, ignoring the Word and (in short) quit disbelieving the Word. We must stop treating God's commands as suggestions to be obeyed or not as we wish. Believing every one of us ought to be Bible Christians we need to know that ignorance is not bliss. We need to twist, bend, or break our lives to make them conform to the Word of God. Is it not true, that all too often we twist the Word of God to make it conform to our lifestyles?

Beloved friend, be a Bible believing and Bible living and Biblically conformed Christian and then you will be like Jesus. That is the goal for every one of us ... Christlikeness.


Blogger Paul W. Foltz DD said...

Brother John,
Deviation in Principles has led to deviation in Practice.

When we forsake God's preserved Word, the AV 1611, we open the floodgate to all errors in faith and practice.
The forsaking of God's Word has led to the forsaking of the Doctrines of Grace. Paul W. Foltz DD

8:27 PM  

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