“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NKJV).
The airwaves are filled with news of the death of the artist Prince; so much so that the 2016 Presidential campaign seems a distant past at the moment and nothing else going on in the world matters. While my condolences go out to his family and friends, I am shocked at the news…….that he was a man of strong faith who knew the scriptures and often discussed them at length with others and that he memorized much of the bible.
Yes, the artist formerly known for provocative music and extremely sexual innuendos – sometimes unclear as to which of the sexes – was supposedly a closet Jehovah’s Witness.
Forgive me for rolling my eyes. I want to make one thing clear before we go on; I am not judging Prince, it is not my place to judge anyone but I am speaking on what was evident to the public and what was not.
What was evident we his satirical lyrics and image; what was not evident is any spiritual inkling whatsoever and God being glorified in his life. All the glory went to the artist himself and even in his death he is being idolized and glorified in the media and the world.
Christian, does the way you live and the things you do and say give glory to God? Is the justification of Christ Jesus evident in your life? Or are you just well-known and respected in the world? What talents have we been given that we have buried in the ground or have decided to use it for our own glory? Do you have influence in the world around and beside you? Use it for the glory of God. Speak life into the brokenness of others and shine light into the dark world around us.
If Prince was a believer in Jesus and held strong biblical beliefs, he misused his opportunity to sow seeds of faith into the world. He will no doubt receive a king’s burial and leave behind treasures for others but what is he taking with him? “As he came from his mother’s womb, naked shall he return, to go as he came” (Ecclesiastes 5:15) but “godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1Timothy 6:6-7).
One thing is sure, “each of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). Let us be good stewards of the riches we have in Christ Jesus. Riches not measured in goods and money but the gifts of the Father and gifts of the Spirit which we have for the effective work of the gospel of Christ in this life.
Will you hear the words “Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be a steward?” or “Well done good and faithful servant”?
“To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1: 15-16).
Last year sometime I called in to a radio program of a Jewish believer in Christ to ask the question of whether the western church is failing Israel by not addressing the sins of today’s Jews in the same way they do Christians. His response – extremely summed up – was that given their history, we must tread lightly with our message to the Jews, or they may reject it outright.
I agree that we must handle the gospel with care but not for fear of hurting people’s feelings. After all, the bible said the gospel will be a stumbling block (1 Cor 1:23) and that many will be offended by it (Matt 24:10). We must handle the gospel with care because we have been commissioned to take it to the world and our love for Christ compels us to obey (John 14:15).
Some have begun to tread so lightly that they have both declared and accepted the notion that we don’t need to evangelize Jews because we worship the same God. Yes, we both say we worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But there is one major difference; that is, Jesus. This is a huge deal, and a complete understatement on my part. Speaking of Himself in John 3:18, Jesus said, “He who believes in Him is not condemned but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God“. 1 John 2:22 says “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is Antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also”.
Again, Jesus told the accusing Jews in John 8:42 & 44 “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceed forth and came from God; nor have I come Myself, but He sent Me”. “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do”.
So do we really believe in the same God? Do the Jews really have salvation without Jesus? Can any true Christian say with good conscience that those who deny Jesus are saved?
It is a universal principle of Christianity that without Jesus there is no salvation. This doesn’t just apply to Jews; it applies to all people group. So why am I addressing the Jews in this post? Because the gospel came to and through the Jews and today’s politics pander to the Jewish nation. The pandering has spread into the church, so much so that many are willing to disregard Jesus’ words two thousand years ago and apply a different standard.
Paul, on many occasions warned us to avoid those who preach a different doctrine. “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18).
There is no shortage of strange doctrine but there is a growing trend of those who don’t know God suggesting that we all serve the same god and that there are multiple paths to heaven. Jesus wasn’t mincing words when he said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). So what is this that people are teaching if not strange doctrine from the devil? Too many people are getting fat teaching this oneness message and the truth has fled their lips.
As a supporter of and one who loves Israel, I say we need to stop the pampering. We are only aiding and abetting a rapid descent to hell by either standing by or preaching these lies to them. Do you truly love and support Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Iran, and all other countries around the world? If you do, which we should, then stop compromising the gospel of Jesus Christ. Anyone who denies Christ is an Antichrist and many who deny Him commits blasphemes again Him, and if against Him then against God.
“…teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (1 Tim 1:3-5).
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babbling, for they will increase to more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:15-16).
I don’t have to tell you that the meaning of words seems to have changed quite a bit over the years. Words that were once considered course jesting and idle talk are often just “humor” today. Take for example the phrase “don’t be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good”. Makes for a good giggle at times but let us really consider the effect of those words.
First of all, I think this is one of those phrases that should be file in the idle talk category; along with “don’t wear your religion on your sleeve” and “don’t spiritualize everything”! I am convinced that these words are responsible for the compromise of many and the diluting of people’s faith.
Where is the balance between heavenly minded and earthly good? Why should I tuck my faith away instead of making it evident? Isn’t everything spiritual?
Yes, I know some of us are already in a frenzy to justify these phrases. After all, aren’t they just words? Well guess what, like sticks and stones, words really to break us; they break our spirits and diminish the faith of many. They put out the fire in new believers and in those who internalize these things and struggle with doubt. Words like these are – in part – responsible for people not wanting to talk about their faith in the workplace, schools, and other public places. They endorse spiritual laziness and give people an excuse for not sharing the gospel with others. In other words, they increase to more ungodliness.
Unless we are heavenly minded how can we be any earthly good? Isn’t God, who is in heaven, the giver of good things? If our hearts and minds are not heavenward where will they be?
I personally think many of these phrases were introduced by those of little faith. They may say these things to new believers, who may well say something wrong, in an effort to keep them from charging the evangelistic field too soon. But isn’t that sending the wrong message? Isn’t that just leaning on human understanding and confidence? The Holy Spirit speaks through whomever He chooses; the non-believer, new believer, and mature believer alike. Speaking these things send the message that we have no faith in those people, which in itself points to a problem in our faith because it is both misplaced and weak.
Instead, “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10: 24-25).
We are to glorify God in our thoughts, words, and deeds. Don’t cause the mind that dwells on God to retreat for earth! Don’t cause bold believers to make an effort to hide their faith! Don’t encourage people to ignore the spiritual!
In a time when many are denying God, it’s time for us true believers to be bold in our faith and glorify our Father in heaven.