I know some may call me legalistic, backward, short-sighted, narrow-minded, last century … whatever.
I recently read an article about a very popular, charismatic, well known media pastor that saddened me tremendously. I waited some time before writing this to see if this pastor, whom I respected and loved to hear preach, would recant what was written. Perhaps it was a false rumor, misquoted or taken out of context. But then it was proven true.
I almost cried. Then it came to me … many churches today are on hospice! I have had four family members on hospice. Hospice is called in when the patient is terminal. Hospice does not do preventative medicine, they do not try to restore health or administer healing. They are there to simply keep the patient comfortable until death. Hospice is simply … comfort care. When the pain of the patient gets too bad they give morphine to mask the pain.
Are our pastors today giving out “christianese” morphine? “Just listen to this to feel good.” “All is well.” “We will all get to heaven eventually.” “Doesn’t matter what you believe or live like.” “There really is no ‘sin’ or walking in disobedience.” “The Bible doesn’t really mean that.”
I cannot remember the last time I heard a message on sin. What is sin? What does it do to a person? How can we get rid of sin? Does the blood of Jesus or the cross play any part in our lives? Is His sacrificial death of no significance?
When we “accept” Him into our lives can we just continue to live any way we want without thought to what He wants us to grow into? What is a holy life? Is there any conviction of sin? The Word of God tells us to “be holy even as I am holy” (God).
I have heard this often and I’m sure I’ve said it before when loving on my babies and grand-babies, “Oh, I just wish you could stay like this forever” as I’ve pinched cheeks and planted numerous kisses. However, if my baby had stayed like that … not growing into adulthood and remained infantile … I would be crushed big time! I wonder what God thinks when He sees those that have accepted Him but never took on the challenge to grow and mature. Just stayed babies and acted like babies.
I see many people wearing crosses today … earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets and even tattoos. People hang crosses in their homes and have decorative crosses as art. If I were to ask folks, “the cross you are wearing, what does it mean to you?” I wonder what the responses would be… “I liked the symmetry of it”; “everybody wears crosses, it doesn’t mean anything particular”; “it’s art”; “my friend gave it to me”; “it has diamonds” or hopefully, “I want people to ask me so I can tell them about Jesus”!
When we think of the cross many just think of it as “nice”. The one Jesus carried was not so nice. It was big. It was heavy. It probably had splinters. It was a thing of torture and death. I wonder what it means to us today to “take up your cross and follow Me”? Hmm … maybe another time? I don’t want to die … today! Or even tomorrow!
Taking up our cross means to leave something behind. Wonder what that means to me … what am I to leave behind to be worthy to carry my cross?
We do hear some wonderful sermons today … sermons on self image, how to cope with stress, “prosperity” and how to get money, setting goals, hope, encouragement, helping others, how to cope with disappointment, you are good … But will those messages stir hearts to conviction and bring men/women to Christ? Our homes, our communities, our nation (and the world) need to hear messages that will stir our hearts to renounce sin, live holy lives for Jesus and occupy the time until He comes!
I think I’ve just written myself under conviction!