Monday, December 15, 2008

A Dog By Any Other Name Is Still A Dog.

If I told you that I was a doctor and had a very successful practice would you believe me? Let’s say I even went to the hospital Monday through Friday each week, went into patients rooms and talked to them about what their ailments were. Would you believe me? If you know me, probably not. If you don’t know me you would probably want to see some proof, maybe my diploma or some other fruit of my many years of laboring in school. Let’s say then that you followed me around for a couple of days, just hanging out while I was in the hospital for a day or two. What you did see was me going into the rooms and talking with patients. But what if something was peculiarly missing? What if no one ever acknowledged me as a doctor, or I never read any charts, talked to the nurses about the patients or did any of the other things that the other doctors were doing? What if I actually just talked to the people superficially? Nothing about their ailments, nothing about their medications. Would you start to question my doctorate? Would you then ask for proof that I was actually what I was saying I was?

Switch scenarios. What if I talked about being a chef, how I spent years laboring in culinary school, training under the greatest chef’s of our current day. I ask you over one night and we have frozen pizza. I ask you over another time and we have cheeseburgers and fries. Our conversations would be about food and it’s preparation, not all the time but I would make it a point to work it in somehow. This goes on for a few years and I never fix anything remotely resembling a culinary masterpiece. Would you start to question my cheffness (I just made that word up)? Would you believe that I was still what I claimed to be?

A third scenario is of a police officer. Say that someone comes to your homes front door, knocks and introduces himself as a police officer. Would you ask for proof of this before trusting him into your home? Would you ask for his credentials? Badge, name, etc before allowing him into your home? What if this person did have a badge that resembled a real one and had on a uniform that didn't quite look like all of the other officers that you had seen before. Would you still take him at his word and superficial appearance? Would you prod further to see if he actually was what he said he was?

In all of these scenarios I would be claiming to be something that I obviously wasn’t. You would probably start to question me even, maybe even ask to see my diplomas or strongly suggest that I produce some kind of proof that I was a doctor or a culinary master chef. What if I even did things that were detrimental to both of those professions? Did things that would blatantly go against what a doctor would do or mess up boiling water?

Why would someone then take a person at their word as being a born again Christian if their lifestyle did not line up with what you knew a Christian is, biblically? This is a major problem in churches these days as thousands if not millions of professing Christians become members, even going on to be deacons and pastors. People take them at their word, even though their fruit doesn’t match up with what the bible say’s are the fruits of a follower of God. Can a true Christian live in sin? No. Does a true Christian plan their sins out in advance, in the name of grace? Does a true Christian think they have a ticket to heaven and are free to commit whatever they can because all they have to do is ask to be forgiven? Where do people get that crazy idea? Oh, yeah that’s right, it’s the false gospel that has permeated the church buildings for the past several decades.

Do you take someone at his or her word as being a Christian? I must say that I do initially, but when things start to not line up with what the Word says, then I start to question. If someone professes Christ, but blasphemes His name…. then I can say with almost 99.99% confidence that they are not truly converted. If someone says they are a Christian, but listen to music that is provocative, glorifies sin, defiles women or is out and out satanic and offer nothing but “It doesn’t affect me” then they have just admitted that the Spirit is not in harmony with their own spirit. Their conscious has been seared and they are living in self-deceit. What if a person is living with someone of the opposite sex and sees nothing wrong with it, even bragging that God put them together to live in sin? That they are a Christian because God is love and will forgive them on judgment day because He forgives every sin.

“So, Jeff. You sound awfully like a Pharisee right now. Passing judgment on peoples sins like that. You have no place to judge anyone. Judge not lest you be judged.”

All I have to say about that is you need to keep reading the bible, the same book and chapter, Matthew 7 and see that we are to judge by fruits, not cast pearls before swine or give to dogs what is Holy. Now, I’m sure it’s not just me reading it that way. In order to not cast pearls before pigs I have to what? Know that they are pigs. How do I do that? I judge to see that they are pigs, swine, hogs. I see that they are not sheep; I see that they are not Christians. How do I know that a dog is a dog? It’s obvious, they look like a dog, act like a dog and bark like a dog. A dog can be nothing but a dog.

Q: So what does a Christian look like?
A: A Christian, of course.

They follow the Word of God. They love the things of God. They abhor the things of this world. They love their brothers. They seek to become more like Christ and less like them. They search the scriptures. They love to interact with other Christians. They listen to edifying music. They get offended when someone uses the name of God in vain. Their spirit bares witness with The Spirit. In other words, they do what the bible says and still feel wretched in doing it, not worthy of any of the Grace that the Lord shows them.

What they do not do is use that Grace as a get out of hell free card. They do not blaspheme Gods Holy name. They do not listen to worldly music. They do not watch filthy TV shows or movies. They do not steal. They do not lie. They do not cheat on their wife.

So is a Christian sinless? No. We all sin, but the difference is the reaction to sin. A Christian will be sorry for their sins, will turn from them and strive not to sin. A Christian will not plan their sins out, but fall into sin. A Christian will not and can not use the Grace and Price of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as a freebie to partake of this worlds lusts. If someone does, then they are in serious need of examination. If it is you, check yourself, Are you living for God or living for you? Are you doing things that are glorifying the Lord or satisfying your flesh?

To close, I am not saying that you are going to hell because you tell a lie, steal from your employer, listen to AC/DC, get drunk or cheat on your wife. What I am saying is that those things will be the evidence that you are going to hell, not the cause. Did I judge you? Yes. Did I judge you because I want you to go to hell? No. I wouldn’t wish hell upon the most evil person in the world. I want everyone to know Christ as a true follower of His. I pray that the Lord does a work so miraculous in your life that your drastic change in life will be evidence to those around you that you have been truly converted. And with time as you grow; your fruits will be evidence of your conversion. Not your words, not your profession of faith, but your lifestyle, your fruit production and your following in the path of Righteousness. May God do a work in your heart.

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