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Last Rites for the American "Church"?
Regrets Always Rush To Be Heard!
Last Words From The Cross!
Regrets - The Malady of the Living!
It seems the older we get, the more the regrets seem to amass themselves. Even Paul in Romans 7 struggled with the carnal flesh; knowing what was right or wrong but too often doing the opposite. But a strange thing happens when a Christian truly acknowledges their mortality and their corruptible flesh: you begin to understand that you were not chosen because YOU would be asset to kingdom but quite the opposite. You will start to understand the 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 passage: we were the foolish, the weak and the nothings so "That NO flesh should glory in His presence." Do you realize that puts us on the same level of acceptance into the body of Christ as Peter, Paul and all of the past "giants" of the faith. To whom much is given, much is required and I will NOT have to answer for my faithfulness according to the criteria Peter or Paul will be held accountable. Think of it; the thief upon the cross never attended a "church" fellowship, never tithed a mite, was not baptized by immersion in water but yet his act of faith in our Lord is recorded forever in the Word and has been the topic of preaching and teaching for nearly 2,000 years. From mocking to surrender to the King of Kings has witnessed to the saving grace of our Savior from one whom "little" was required with an eternal reward beyond our wildest imaginations. Truly memorable last words from a dying man.
People have a strange fascination with famous people's last words, but for the Christian it is the words of Jesus from cross that should not only set our guidelines for how we should be living in the here and now, but IF we are afforded an opportunity for last words ourselves we should be very judicious with our last words in four areas.
- Family affairs - seems a natural but how often do we put things off until it is too late. From the cross Jesus saw to the continued care of His earthly mother, Mary. His instructions to John left no doubt as to his responsibility to Mary. So should our words be to our family, for at our passing a void will be created and whether it be by a will or personal instructions, it will demonstrate your love of family for years to come.
- Forgiveness - people need to know that we have released all offenses into the hand of God as both a witness to those needing a Savior and to free another from guilt if it is within our power.
- Comfort - our loved ones are the ones needing comfort. A confident countenance will speak volumes to the next generations as we are remembered for being more concerned for them than for yourself.
- Trust in the Savior - we cannot assume all who hear our words are saved but our testimony will be a valuable instrument to convict another of their need for a life changing encounter with Jesus.
As you can see, we should be living these principles now but how much more important when we will have the undivided attention of family, friends and "others".
Do We Aim to Please Man or God?
What Can I Say To My Fellow American Christians?
The following are some rambling thoughts concerning my observations of the American "church" that might just awaken someone to the fact that we are NOT the "Church" but a small part of the Body of Christ; being that we are the "weaker" brethren. Being that these are the "last days" these could easily be my last worlds and that which follows, I have previously written concerning these points.
- Why is it considered acceptable to become wealthy because of the size of one's congregation or the importance of one's ministry? Once upon a time, men stirred by the Holy Spirit wrote hymns, not for lucre's gain but because their heart could not constrain the music of their souls. Men preached and taught because they could do nothing other than what God had called them to do even if it meant penury and privation. Yet we have placed men upon pedestals and we espouse their teachings as if they were faultless before our Lord. We love to quote men before the Word of which I was guilty until one of my "idols" fell from grace.
- Why is it so hard to distinguish a congregation sold out to the teaching of our Lord from one that is sold out to the worldly? We, the congregation have become dull of hearing for the Word is no longer preached in season or out. We have embraced psychology, multi-step programs, topical subjects based upon man's wisdom, coffee services, special youths programs and the such for a single purpose - to attract the world. The world demands worldliness and we readily accommodate. We are the compromiser's and our message has become watered down and non-offensive, though the Word must be an offense to the sinner's ears: this includes Christians living in sin! Per John 6:60-69, the teachings of Jesus were hard to take by many of His listeners and "...many of His disciples went back and walked no more with Him."
- When are we as a Church going to separate ourselves from the politics of the age? Are we conservative or liberal? - left wing or right wing? - vote only for those who have Christian values or not? - when none of this means anything to the Gospel of Christ! The Gospel has always prospered under the most repressive regimes the world could throw at it and as we see wickedness growing by leaps and bounds today, we are sitting atop a volcano of revival that America has not seen in over 100 years. Ignore the politics and constantly be at the ready to share the Hope that lives within you in such a troubled age. Jesus never addressed the politics of the Romans and told US to give unto Caesar what is Caesar's. What He did address was the false religion of the Pharisees and the Sadducees - the left and right wings of Judaism. Politics and religion do not mix when comes to the Gospel except when there is money to be made - oops, not according to the Word.
- Why is that "most" Christians in this country are so incredibly wishy-washy when it comes to knowing what they believe? Do you believe in election or the will of man? Did Jesus die for every man's sin? - or how could a loving God send anyone to hell? Do you even believe there is a heaven and a hell? Is your God sovereign, omniscient, omnipresent and all-powerful - but your salvation and keeping it in force depends upon your actions? Are you saved eternally or like a yoyo - saved one day - unsaved the next and back again? Do you believe in the rapture of the Church, a seven year period of judgment upon the earth and the imminent return of our Lord? Does the Word teach us that we must "accept" Christ or that we must seek His forgiveness for our sins and then repent? Salvation by works of our righteousness or His work alone? God created everything in 6 days or was it millions of years? Think of other questions you might have and if the answer evades you - it is your fault! Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that DILIGENTLY SEEK HIM." We have become a "church" of "sit-on-our-behinds" and wait like a baby to be spoon fed the pabulum being served from too many of today's pulpits.