Tuesday, July 07, 2015

WWJD IN THE ELECTIONS OF 2016?

Remember the bracelet? WWJD? It caught on years back at least in the religious world. It sure sounds spiritual enough. [What Would Jesus Do?] It also seems true that concerning some [if not a lot] of the modern situations we face today the scriptures appear to be somewhat vague, if not silent, on giving specific directions as to what to do in those modern situations.

What has caught my attention, however is the use of the "WWJD" concept on  blogs in regards to our American geopolitical culture. It was reported on a blog I read sometime back that a certain girl had decided she is now a Democrat because [according to her] that political party [as opposed to the Republican party] gives more attention to helping her fellow man. She is a bible believing Christian who is quite intelligent as well as committed as she evidenced with an extended time working overseas with people in dire need of everything including the gospel. Her argument was WWJD?  He'd be more like the Democrats.

Her political change was challenged on that blog with the same argument that under-pined her decision. WWJD? They were, in effect, saying God is more like the Republicans. So both she and her opponents were sure each side was being true to WWJD!

So it got me to thinking, would Jesus vote Democratic or Republican? What Would Jesus Do?

That might be an enlightening thing to discover. In fact, a better approach might be to look at what Jesus DID do since He did not live in a vacuum those thirty-three years here on planet earth two thousand years ago, but in the context of a very political and vicious culture of His own time and place. What DID He do?

If He does become our guide for choices we make in facing a culture that is the antithesis of our gospel, as is every culture anywhere today since there is no favored nation status anywhere, we might be shocked at what His example really is. Remember, Rome was ruling, slavery was rampant, [Both race and gender] and the poor were repulsive to all. If ever there was a corrupt and degenerate society that needed altering His did. I ask again...what did He do?

When political parties were formed and attempted to change things did He join? When laws were passed that denied His own values what court did He file His grievance in? When a Mayor or Governor or leader was selected by whatever process might have been then, what were the guiding principles He used for His own choice or of a candidate? In fact, did He ever vote in any election at all? It surely would be helpful as a guide for us if we can find out as we are now facing a whole new cycle of political activity that is enough to make the very worst political junkie among us overdose. If we could see what it was that Jesus did when confronted with political processes in His day, then "What would Jesus do?" might take on new meaning.

The answer is so obvious. We don't know because He didn't make ANY known choices in a geopolitical sense EVER that is on record. If we were to do what we know Jesus would do by observing His example, we would do NOTHING! Zero! Zilch!

Now...does this mean we SHOULDN'T vote or participate? Does this mean we should do nothing during our election for President in 2016? Well..I would absolutely have to say it means I can't announce my choice as His choice and yours as not being His choice. I sure can't say you're sinning [missing the mark] if I don't know what the mark is because it isn't stated in scripture even in example. I can't say without some pause that I know categorically "WJWD."

What I can say is this. I believe I'm to use every principle that I've found in the New Covenant that pertains to life in general and relationships in particular and make use of those principles in coming to my choices. It does mean I'm not to forget to have confidence that the ultimate results of all issues are genuinely in His hands with purposes I may not know as of yet. It does mean I'm to submit to every ordinance of man, with rare exceptions, and even then ready to pay the price willingly for not doing so in those rare occasions. That's regardless of whomever is elected to lead this nation.

Does this mean it's better to not participate? That's not the point I'm making at all. The right or the wrong would not be in voting or not voting. The wrong would be to announce one vote as Christian and another as not. Someone has said it better than can I when he said, "Nowhere in the NT is there even a hint of a command for us to participate in the human political election processes, nor do we find it a forbidden activity either."

It is obvious to me that this quote isn't saying it's evil to vote or not to vote. What it's saying is each believer is free as a citizen of both countries [heaven and earth] to use his or her judgment in such matters as they live their lives under their particular form of national government, the Constitution of the USA for us, following their National and State elected leaders in some matters and under the guidance of the New Covenant principles for life and relationships in all matters.

It is also true that any vote a believer ever casts is to be done as an act of faith or it is sin. This is no matter what candidate one votes for. Romans 14 clearly points this out. So to vote for a person out of fear or anger or judgment [condemnation] or any other reason, except faith, puts us in jeopardy of missing God in it.

So, for whom am I voting in 2016? I don't know yet. But whatever my choice as a citizen of America, my confidence is not in that person or that party or those promises made.

What would Jesus do? He's already done the work of the Cross and has left us [believers] with that message which far transcends any geopolitical message or situation and is needed by every person of every nation and is to be our greatest concern and must never be mixed with or confused with any political party. Let me say it clearly for myself at least.

God isn't white or black! God isn't a Democrat, Republican or Independent!

God isn't even an American!

Paul B.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A SMORGASBORD CHURCH LIFE



A stark statement from James A. fowler.

Forgive me a moment of nostalgic reminiscence... Remember the days when the proprietor at the mercantile, the clerk at the grocery market and the attendant at the gas-station would take the time to really "serve" the customer? They regarded pleasant, helpful service to be their primary responsibility, whereby they might maintain loyal, satisfied customers. Their mottoes were displayed on the wall: "Service with a smile." "The customer is always right."

Today, ours is a society of convenience stores, fast-foods and self-service. Aptly referred to as the "Me-generation," we want just what we want, and we want it "now" for the least price.

Ours is the age of supermarket shopping. We choose the product of our choice from a selection of multitudinous varieties. Willing to purchase not only what we need but almost everything we want, we expect to find everything at one location and a complete stock of every variety. We prefer that it be on "sale," or at least have a rebate, for we refuse to pay the full price. Our busy schedules mean we are always in a rush. We resent having to wait; we expect immediate service. Increasingly we are demanding that the commodities be delivered to our door.


Remember when our mothers and grandmothers would shop at the local grocery for fresh food items, or go down into the food cellar to get "canned" food items from the previous season? They would spend hours, sometimes days, preparing meals for the family and friends. Mealtimes were a time of meaningful family fellowship and personal interaction.

Fewer and fewer family meals are prepared today. When mealtime approaches we pile in the car to drive to restaurant row. "Let's take a vote. What sounds good to us today?" Sampling the delicacies of the innumerable food preparation establishments, we cater to whatever suits our "taste" at the moment. There are ethnic emphases, culinary specialties, a smorgasbord to appease every appetite.

Needing fuel for the automobile, we stop at the gas station. Remember how the friendly attendant used to come out and check the oil and water, wash the windows and pump the gas? We even used to call it a "service station." Few are willing to pay the additional price for full-service anymore. Instead we pull up to the "self-serve" island to "pump and pay." Having taken on fuel for the week, we drive off in a hurry to the next convenient, self-serve satisfaction of our every desire.

It is not difficult to liken the foregoing shift in consumerism to the contemporary ecclesiastical situation. This is the age of "supermarket Christianity" where we shop around for the commodities we desire. Though unwilling to "pay the price," we demand satisfaction of every perceived need and immediate delivery.

The institutional church has catered to such consumer Christianity by attempting to offer a smorgasbord of every delicacy on restaurant row. "Where shall we go to get 'fed' today?" Some even conceive of a gas-station Christianity where people can "pump and pay" for a weekly spiritual "fill-up."

Whether it be the pleasant personal service of the past or the self-service style of the present, the entire concept of a consumer-oriented Christianity must be challenged. Are we consumers demanding to be served, or are we Christians, indwelt by Jesus Christ, living and loving to serve the needs of others?

 
Self-service Christianity is an abomination! Let us return to real Christian service with a smile.

Friday, June 12, 2015

WOMEN AND THE CHURCH

Sometimes you can't say it as well and certainly not better than someone else has said it. So why say anything? Read here what I believe to be the definitive statement about women and the Church with a fresh look at THE ONE passage that seems to give everyone so much trouble. You can thank me later.


Sunday, May 31, 2015

THE NEW COVENANT:NEW LIFE

I'm posting a blog post that my Internet and Kingdom friend, Aussie John [his blog handle from down under] posted on his own blog which I will link to at the end of this article. I know you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Aussie J writes...

I have quoted Isaiah 42:6 previously to draw attention to the fact of our Lord Jesus being revealed by Isaiah as the covenant person.

E. J. Young, commenting on that same passage says this:

The lan­guage is strik­ing, for the ser­vant is actu­ally iden­ti­fied as a covenant.  A covenant, how­ever, in this instance is not a pact or agree­ment between two equal par­ties. From the par­al­lel word light (i.e. sal­va­tion), we learn that it is actu­ally a divine bestowal of Grace. God sov­er­eignly bestows to man His bless­ings of sal­va­tion and it is this sov­er­eign dis­pen­sa­tion that is called a covenant.
That the ser­vant is iden­ti­fied with the covenant of course involves the idea of his being the one through whom the covenant is medi­ated, but the expres­sion implies more. In form it is sim­i­lar to our Lord’s “I am the res­ur­rec­tion and the life,” or the phrase in 49:6, “to be my sal­va­tion.””

These next words are vitally important for us to understand:

To say that the ser­vant is a covenant is to say that all the bless­ings of the covenant have their root and ori­gin in, and are dis­pensed by him. … “

We know that Moses was the medi­a­tor of a covenant between God and Israel, but the prophet Isaiah is telling us that the ser­vant (Jesus Christ) is the covenant, the New Covenant promised in Isaiah 49:6,8; 31:31ff.

As Young says,

In New Tes­ta­ment terms, this means that they to whom God sov­er­eignly bestows the grace of sal­va­tion receive the ser­vant Himself.”

Whilst, I dare say, a majority of those claiming to be Christians, are filling their lives and their time with the busy-ness of the demands of traditional ideas of church, trying, but failing miserably at keeping the commandments ( don't you dare tell fibs and claim you don't break at least one every day), attending meetings, putting money in the plate, doing all the rote things expected of them and expressed by pulpits all over the world, which according to a couple we spoke with, “pleases God”, some, at least, are resting in what God has done in His precious Son completed on Calvary, and in whom His pleasure is absolute!

That's the context of what Paul is saying to the Colossian Christians:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

This is what the New Covenant is all about! Paul knew from his own experience of law based attempts at living a righteous, works oriented life, that failure to please God was the only way for normal human beings. The nation Israel had the same experience, because“the mystery hidden for ages and generations” was a still a mystery until God fulfilled the promise made in Isaiah 42:6:

I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you;I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,from the prison those who sit in darkness.”

It was not until the New Covenant was inaugurated by the finished work of Christ on Calvary that the latter part of that promise was fulfilled. That's why Jesus could exclaim, “It is finished”!

If you and I had to depend on how well we carried out the duties which have been traditionally demanded from the pulpits of traditionalism since Constantine's day, not one human being would see Christ on His throne, because traditionalism relegates Christ to the level of an entrance ticket to heaven, after a lifetime of the hard yards of rule keeping.

In reality His finished work as the New Covenant Person means that He is the absolute, and only means of new life; He IS the New Covenant complete in all of the majesty of a God who put aside His own glory to become the man, Jesus Christ, our Covenant Person.

No wonder Paul told those who had believed the truth of the Gospel in repentance and faith, have had revealed to them “the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”


Thanks Aussie J! A GREAT word indeed. You can read more Aussie J here...

http://john-caesura.blogspot.com/

Paul B.