Monday, November 14, 2016

What meaning can there be in a love that is not costly to the lover?

This question was given to me, a week or two ago, and it took about 5 days to answer.  Not that it was so difficult as it was difficult to come to understand the question. So I waited and waited for God to make clear what he would have me respond.  After five days I got up one Saturday Morning ready to address the question. Below is an excerpt from my response, which caused me and I would suggest us all to introspectively consider or reconsider not our love, but our hate for our brother man.


Luke 10:30
A traveler was beaten and robbed and left near dead
 I don’t want to be mistaken, when I first read the question I was completely stumped. Not so much by the question as I was syntax of the question which if inferred incorrectly will naturally reach an undesirable conclusion. Fearful that my solution would be err due to my ignorance, I re-framed from any antiphon choosing not to try to befuddle you with Bull****, in an attempt to display my prideful brilliance. In short I had no clue how to answer the question.

However, I woke up this morning and my mind had finally consummated the relationship with the syntax of the question and God by his Holy Spirit had spoken to me concerning it.  I would answer no one else the way I’m about to answer you, so no matter how convoluted it appears, please see this answer a testimony of faith in your intellectual, and spiritual ability to decipher the intricacies that would cause general laity to stumble. That being said I will answer this question from three different views, either of which can be read and accepted without any collateral connection to the other two views. So then if you find an acceptable answer for one there may be no need to read further the remaining two views. 
 
 

Luke 10:31
Now by chance a priest was going down that road,
and when he saw him he passed by on the other side
1.       Biblical View, the Bible puts some very high standards as to what love is, even though every Christian will profess love is an action most treat love as though it is an emotion. It is one thing to act as if love is an action; and another thing to get emotionally confused with what God has left very clear. It is this confusion, which is clearly availed to us that becomes the root of all misunderstanding about Biblical Love.
a.       Love as an action;  So than the first thing we must do is answer from a works issue, not and emotional issue. The biblical passages for this are numerous in John 14:15, Jesus says “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Which is a perfect expression of love as a work … that we keep His commandments. This is seen in a number of other scriptural passages as well (John 3:16, John 14:24, Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:18). There are other passages which instructs us to love, as an action, (Luke 6:35, Matthews 5:44, Ephesians 5:25, Mark 12:31) this is understood as such because we cannot be instructed to feel a certain way or have a specific emotions.  Therefore we must conclude that love is as the Bible teaches an action. 

Consider the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 30:37, I us it to teach the difference between knowing and understanding Love as an action. I sometimes ask two question after reading or telling this parable.
  i.      The first question is who loved the man, the answer is easy for everyone in the room.  It is the Good Samaritan which loved the man.
 ii.      However, when I ask who hated the man, in a room full of supposed mature Christians, none could/would figure it out. To say that a priest or Levitt hated the man just because they did not help him is inconceivable to most people and so in spite of what we logically know we deny the obvious. But if love is an action, and is the opposite of hate, then hate has to be a lack of action, which is the opposite of action.
b.      Confusing cost with forgiveness.
I was given passage of John 3:16  (as a starting point in reaching a solution to the initial question) which reads “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” But this passage is not a passage about love, even though it has love in the passage. John 3:16 is a passage on forgiveness. It would be perfectly applicable if the question read What meaning can there be in a forgiveness that is not costly to the forgiver?” In that I cannot find a single issue in the Bible or in life for that matter, where the cost of forgiveness is not carried by the forgiver. More importantly the forgiver must pay the cost of forgiveness at the point of offense and again at the point of forgiveness.

c.       Does Love Cost the Lover
However, the question is the cost of love to the lover. If we assume the biblical understanding for love (as an action), then we must understand that love by its nature will always cost, because every action cost something, weather it is time, money or even kindness. Any intercourse with a person, (positive or negitively)  for their benefit will accrue a cost to the lover.

It is important to realize where in forgiveness there is necessarily an offense and offender, with love there is only necessarily the lover (giver of the love) and the recipient (of the love) no offense is required. As a matter of fact if an offense is transgressed against the lover than the love become an act of forgiveness, and the lover becomes the forgiver.  This is exceedingly important because we know the love of the God existed before Adam’s transgression, and was not motivated by his transgression. Whereby the forgiveness (Christ on the cross) came after the transgression, since forgiveness cannot come before the transgression.

That being said the accruing of cost for love is at the willing discretion of the lover. Remember the Good Samaritan? That which he accrued was not at the compulsion of the beaten traveler, nor the priest, nor the Levitt, nor did the robbers that subdue the traveler, none of these compelled the Samaritan to love his neighbor. (Romans 3:12, 1John 3:17) Moreover none of them transgressed against the Lover (Good Samaritan) but his altruistic behavior was by the light of Christ within him. (Isaiah 58:10).

John 4:8 tells us God is love, this is greater than giving love or loving. It defines God as the personification of what Love is.  Since God’s very nature is love, He demonstrates His love by lavishing it on undeserving, rebellious, deceitful people (us). Yet His love was given to us before the foundation of the earth! Therefore we who are in Christ and filled with His Holy Spirit, will naturally bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit of which is love. (Galatians 5:22)  Since this love of God which shines through us is altruistic in nature we will bear that cost.

d.      In Conclusion,
If love has no cost to the lover, than we must conclude Biblically that whatever it is that is expressed by the lover is not love.

Luke 10:32 
 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place
and saw him, passed by on the other side

2.       Logically Philosophical View; the question is much more a philosophical question than spiritual or biblical question. It may have Biblical and spiritual overtones, but it for the most part this is a philosophical question.  So then, we address this question as such; logically the question assumes two things
a.       (1) that right love is costly to the lover, (a view I 100% believe is true, and clearly defend in later explanations to this very question and support my arguments with scripture), and...
b.      (2) That by lover we are only addressing the giver of love not the receiver of the love. The answer become diametrically different, by the acceptance or denial of the second premise such that it must be
That being said, I think it is important to define the necessary assumption(s) and the argument to reach a conclusion.  Assumption 1, (right love is costly).  Assumption 2, (love has meaning), respectively, I define argument an a demonstration of a proof of a statement.

c.       Premise 1. Love is costly, believing the Bible is the final word (Sola Scriptura) this is not a debatable premise for me and is seen always as absolutely true.
                                                               i.      However, we must define lover as the giver of the love, not the receiver because love does not cost the receiver anything (Romans 5:8)[i] and addressing the subject to anyone but the love will make this premise false.

d.      Premise 2 Love has meaning, the problem with this premise is that meaning cannot be determined in hard structure. By nature meaning is relative to every individual differently. What has meaning (value) to one person may have nothing of value to another. Even if taken from a theological perspective we may confuse meaning with God’s sovereign will. God the lover of our soul, loved us, but does this have meaning to Him or is it the result of His sovereign will, or is it simple an expression of who He is His very nature ?( John 4:8)  I don’t have to rehash basic theology in that none of us deserve His love, yet in spite of our deceitfulness, and rebellion He still loves us.

But can a man love someone altruistically and not receive love in return? Or to make this easier can love be given to even someone that does not deserve it and still be rejected?  Did Jesus die so that some may be saved or all? Yet to those that reject the gospel and the love of God we must conclude for them His love is meaningless. John 3:17-21[ii]

e.       Conclusion
Yes love is costly to the giver of the love, but cost nothing to the receiver, and love may  or may not have meaning, though we might assume that it has value (meaning) to the giver, we cannot assume that any meaning is expressively true of the receiver.

Luke 10:33-35
But it was the Samaritan took the time to bound the traveler's
wounds, and paid the innkeeper to provide for the stranger.
costing him both his time and money.
It was the Samaritan that loved him
3.       Post-Modernity View
post modernity (how the world operates today) takes on the view that there is no absolutes truths. On top of this being just wrong, (2 +2 =4 is an absolute truth) this type of thinking replaces truth with opinion. This is especially true of issues as they relate to religion and spirituality. The postmodern man/women when confronted with truth regarding the reality of God, morality, and religion will respond with “That may be true for you, but not for me” to those postmodern that say they acknowledge a God they confess spirituality but not religion, a loving God that will forgive, without repentance, and most importantly they will deny the deity of Jesus Christ, saying He is just a good man or He never existed.

While a personal preference mindset has its value when dealing with art or favorite foods or movies, this mindset is dangerous when it is applied to reality because it confuses matters of opinion with matters of truth, it releases the individual from an external moral center  which holds his action accountable to anyone outside of himself and decays society in general.  Jesus spoke of this in Mathew 24:37 and Luke 17:26, as of his second coming, but this eschatology does not remain the premises of Christology alone, Scientific Eschatology has affirmed what scripture has said for thousands of years (see second law of thermodynamics)  that the moral decay of humanity is not just a possibility but a reality. It has already happened and according to Jesus Christ will happen again.  Genesis 6:5-6.
So than, from a postmodern view the answer is whatever the individual want the answer to be. As long as the subject’s feeling are not hurt, or they don't  have to answer to anyone but themselves then anything and everything is possible.



[i] “ But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
[ii] 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the [a]only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Where have all the Children Gone? (Pt3)

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. (Hosea 4:6) 
Part 3 of a 3 part series
 My People are Destroyed for Lack of Knowledge.

For years the assumed program for children's Sunday school  was to tell an  story about someone in the Bible and give candy to whomever  among the children that was able to answer the question posed about the Sunday school teacher.  As the kids got older Sunday school would include some memorizing of verses and even a quarterly play put on by the kids.   However this only motivated the kids ( and even young adults)  to participate in the activities of the church, not the worship of Christ making them social church goers, not Christians (followers of Christ)

What makes this even worst is for the most part the responsibility of the teaching the children about God was left to a core of Christian babysitters and activities specialist that were for the most part inept at teaching basic christian doctrine. Just like today's modern education systems many parents either didn't care if there children were learning in school (or Sunday School), or had abdicated the  responsibility  of teaching to their local school system (or Church).  In the worst case senerios many parents are simply not versed enough in basic knowledge to teach their child anything, or in the case of the church, there were not versed enough in the knowledge of  God to teach their child anything about God.  There is no wonder that today's schools are failing our children.  Likewise today's churches or Sunday schools are also failing our children. Yet this problem is twofold,

Lake of Knowledge of God
who would of thought that the lack of knowledge of God is the biggest problem in the church?  Church has to stop being a place of pure inspiration.  Sometimes the Holy Spirit moves us to tears, sometimes, its our own conscience, but God did not call us to tears He called us to a battle, and battle is what we must do.

When I was in elementary school there were two brother that used to kick my but up and down the street everyday just because there was nothing else for them to do. One day my daddy came home and saw them in front or our own home, that place were we should find safety, kicking my butt. And the anger and righteous indignation well up in him to a point I thought he was going to burst.  He wanted to jump off those steps and beat those boys but knew as a man he could not beat them up for me. then in a voice of anger that rang so clearly in my ears that 45 years later I can still hear it as if it happens just moment ago, he yelled "Troy you can fight with tears in your eyes"

I am not saying that we have to stop listening to the Holy Spirit, I am saying without the word of God, fighting the battles of this present day, as we have been for so many years, through feeling alone, is foolish.  We can't defeat the devil with tears in our eyes, feeling will not give us victory over sin.  This is not a physical battle were we can ball up our fist, close  our eyes and just start swinging.  The Bible says  "our struggle is not against flesh and blood.... but against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12) and the only way we can win this battle is to know how to weld a spiritual sword which is the word of God.

We need the word of God to win any spiritual battle, because the word of God will keep us from being fooled, or led astray by the wrong spirit.  The Bible teaches that even the Apostle Peter was unknowingly of  the wrong spirit and had to be corrected by the word of our Savior,  (Matthews 16:21-23) and the only place we have the word of the savior today is holy Scripture. 

So than unless today's churches become a place where scripture, and doctrine is taught than the congregation will remain in ignorance of the very God they claim to worship. Unless today's churches become a place where  prayer and reading the Bible is admonished they, the parents will never be able to train up their children in the way they should go. Unless someone intervenes on the behalf of the uneducated child, he/she will eventually end up in prison, likewise, a child uneducated about Christ will end up a slave to Satan (Hosea 4:6)



Why I don't like children Church or Sunday School.
Children church or Sunday school as described above is vertically useless. It neither educates our children in who God is, nor does it prepare them for the wiles of the Satan which will fall upon them. Even though adult church is not much better I think children should be in Church beside their parents learning with pencil and pen what is being taught by the Pastor of the church. I know some of you are saying "My child will not understand what the preacher is teaching" But many of the same people are Ok with their 10 year old child watching PG13, or R, or MA rated movies on TV. Amazingly the world has said your child is not mature enough for that and you allow it anyway, but word of God which is written for his salvation, you hold from him. 

So than because our children are unprepared to deal with the enemy, even though they have never missed a Sunday school.   When they are attacked by doubt, or when questioned about their faith by peers in school, or challenged by professors in college, or even accosted by strangers on the street. filled with nothing more than Bible stories and feel good verses that are unable to defend the logical argument for believing in God. they are as I said earlier, "Taking a knife to a gun fight" 
 
 Why do we teach our children apologetic?
We must develop a curriculum of apologetic from the time our children are able to read and write, so that they become confident in defending their faith against their peers, and strangers and eventually even college professors. The Bible says they (we) must always be ready to give and answer (2 Peter 3:15) 
Will apologetics win people to God? maybe, maybe not,  but this I am sure of,  first, it would ground the believer in logical answers so that they are not dissuaded by false doctrine or stumped by foolish illogical arguments. and secondly, it will allow the logical thinker, the scientist, atheist, or agnostic that is hearing these intelligent defense for God to more readily accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ intellectually.
 Lastly one who is grounded in intellectual knowledge will never be dissuaded by difficult questions, by school mates, atheists, college professors, or Hollywood. They will always be ready to give an answer to anyone that ask about the hope that is within them

My thoughts for the growth and survival of the Christian Faith lies not in gimmicks but in intelligent understanding of the Christian doctrine, sound preaching and teaching prayer and sanctification. I know this sound like and old recipe for success but that's just how God designed it to be.


Your brother in Christ. 



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Where have all the Children Gone? (Pt 2)

They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. (Ephesians 4:18)

Part 2 of a 3 part series
 A knife to a Gun fight!

In the last blog we addressed the fact that the church was dwindling in size, most visibly the size of members from age 18-35. We looked at four reasons that those that once attended church gave for no longer attending, or converting to another religion.  They were;    (1)What the Bible says about slavery;   (2)Their imagined intellectual integrity;   (3)As Christians we have a low intellectual view of ourselves, and the God which gives us knowledge and wisdom. (4) We have perpetuated ignorance of the Bible doctrine.

In this blog we will address what we did to get ourselves in this predicament. And in the last installment I’ll address what we need to do to fix what is broken. I know many churches that thrive because of the children ministry. For many people if a church does not have a “good” children ministry they will not even think about attending.  They are content with having someone else train up their child (Proverbs 22:6) rather than do it themselves. I have seen that the children ministry has been the one ministry that has every church that is increasing in membership has in common. 

1.      Children Ministry; Parents will only half-heatedly listen to the sermons if they have to continually monitor their children. The more resourceful churches realized this problem and began what they called “Children Nursery” with time this nursery grow into what is commonly called Children Ministry.  As parents began to worry less and less about their children during church, they naturally tell their friends about their church and it’s children ministry. Consequently, churches with strong Children Ministries grow much more quickly than churches without.  And therein lies the problem.  Children Ministries remove the kids from hearing the preached word. And the Bible teaches “Faith comes by hearing” (Romans 10:17) Graphic nurseries with Bible story themes, candy rewards, Vacation Bible Study (which is not a VBS at all), camping trips, and pizza parties, skating events, and even youth dances has caused the children to desire the event of Children Ministry more than the person of Ministry, Jesus Christ.

2.     Do Good and Be Saved; There is an expression “You can’t legislate morality”. But this is exactly what we try to do when the way we teach our children about Jesus includes . “Be nice in school, don’t cheat, don’t lie, or steal.”  This form of legalism was the flaw of the Pharisees, and we have not done well to avoid it especially concerning our children. As children get older the issue become one of separation.  They either think that they’re “good people” since they don’t “do” any of the stuff they are taught not to like (drink, smoke, dance, or watch R-rated movies), or they realize that no matter how hard they try they cannot meet God’s requirement and they lose hope ever being accepted by God.

3.     Teaching that they don’t need Jesus; rather than teach sound doctrine and apologetics we teach life application principles and how to cope with difficult times.  If all we get from church is how to live a better life then there is no need for a crucified Jesus. If all we offer our children/young people is quality of life than we are failing desperately.  Slang words and hip clothing are not the tools of a pastor, it is embarrassing to see a pastor trying to be relevant to a bunch of young people. Rather than being faithful to the foolish simplicity of the cross, we’ve set our goal on being “successful” in growing crowds with this gospel of quality of life and our kids leave Christ because we have failed to give them the truth of the gospel.

4.   
  Butter knife at a gun fight; For the most part we treat our children as though they are stupid or unintelligent. We dumb down the message of the gospel or don’t give it at all leaving them with a partial understanding of the faith or doubts all together. Most of our children can’t even explain the gospel, 90 percent know nothing about doctrine at all. This forces them to enter the world embarrassingly ignorant of our faith. Left unable to give an answer for the faith (1 Peter 3:15) and unable to contend for the faith (Jude 1:3-4) against atheists and agnostics, non-believing friends, college professors, and even the entertainment world.  Instead of sending them out in the Full Armor of God we are sending them to a gun fight with a butter knife!



Friday, April 29, 2016

Where have all the Children Gone? (Pt1)

This is part 1 of a 3 part series
 Who Snatched Them From My Father's Hand?


“Why are so many young people leaving Christianity?” Is one of those questions that the American church has been trying to deal with for about 35 years? Honest God fearing mean and women are faced with a situation that is predicting the end of Christianity. This question has so occupied the hearts, and  thoughts  of pastors and men of God,  that they have departed from the truth of the gospel seeking modern ways to drum up business, so to speak
( Galatians 1:6-7 )

 On the atheist side of the fence this knowledge of a shrinking church has been their defense for proof that God does not exist. Their argument goes something like this
That is why so many young people are leaving the church because intelligent reason proves that there is no God;  and those smarter more intelligent young adult have only remained in church to propitiate their parents desires."

One afro-centric website list the 6reasons black people (black millennials) are leaving the church of which only three need to be addressed.  I want to bring to your understanding that most of these reasons which I do not address are either a form of other the three reasons, or are grounded in one’s desire to sin, which is will not address here.

The first reason that American Blacks are leaving the church is;
  1.  What the Bible says about slavery
    I list this one not because of any thruth. but because it is a unique deception of the devil aimed directly at Afro-Americans; a tool used by Muslims in converting American blacks to Islam.  In its natural form it sounds something like “Christianity is a White Man’s Religion” to the believing Christian man or women of color “. Or “Why would a self-respecting Black Man consider Christianity? It is effective only when the hearer is ignorance of what the Bible really says about slavery The next reason that millennials, not just black millennials are leaving the church is;
  2. Their imagined intellectual integrity”. For many Christians who leave the faith the belief in God and science are diametrically opposed to one another.  Because, they have never learned sound Christian doctrine, they believe that the Christian message places little value on the exercise of the mind and logical thinking. They, both those that have become apostate and atheists, believe that the Bible breeds dummies, idiots, morons, and simpleton blockhead, dopes and fools. They are completly ignoring the plethora of scientists, and physicians, mathematicians and psychologist all of whom are bible-believing Christians.
    However, the departing from the faith, both of false believers and on those that have never loved God is as much the fault of the leaders of the Church as it is those that have fallen away.

    .
     
  3. As Christians we have a low intellectual view of ourselves, and the God which gives us knowledge and wisdom. We have allowed the world to call us ignorant, blind believers, and superstitious to the point we can’t even reason the truth, even though God is constantly revealing His truth to us in His word. (Daniel 1:17, Job 12:24,  1 Cor 1:19 )

    Most people go to church for years and they cannot reconcile what the Bible says, against what they have learned from science. But even worst I have found that most people go to church for years, and they cannot even tell you the central theme of the Bible.  I’ll give you a hint it’s not Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth!   Nor is it that God wants you to be healthy wealthy and wise.

    W
    e as a people (the church) in Christ Jesus are perceived as ignorant and unlearned because we refuse to read the only truth that means anything.  Even though the Bible itself implores to do so we fail (2 Timothy 2:15
    ) and it is this fact that allows Wolves in Sheep clothing Like Joel Olsteen,  and Benny Hinn  bamboozle, hoodwink, swindle and hornswoggle the church so that they can line their pockets with social security checks and welfare allowances. Or write books that massage the scripture into say whatever they wish.
    You think I’m lying? How many of you recognized the word that I used in a previous paragraph of this very posting that was used anthropomorphically, but is normally used exclusively of God?  How may are going back to read it now? How many will not recognize it until you get a dictionary? How many will miss it altogether?  

  4. We have perpetuated ignorance of the Bible doctrine
    There is a horrible teaching going through the modern church which says because you adhered to doctrine you are a legalist. Or you are not saved! (Acts 2:42) some even teach that a pastor should never  go to seminary, that God will give us all the knowledge of His word He wants us to have.  even though the bible clearly says that we are to study to show ourselves approved (2 Tim 2:15) We as christian would rather learn about God from the History Channel than break the seams of your beautiful leather bound Gold finished King James Authorized Bible. And because we don't know doctrine we are always fooled by heretical, feel good, quality of life doctrine that is no doctrine at all.

The Bible says none can snatch them from the Father’s hand,  (John 10:29)  That being so we must ask God and ourselves “Why have they left the faith? Or were they ever in the Father's hands?"

 


Your Brother in Christ
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