sursa pozei aici – afisata Iulie 2010
'That I may know Christ and the power of His resurrection. Philippians3:10
30 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
sursa pozei aici – afisata Iulie 2010
30 Apr 2012 31 Comments
Dansul la Brasov, 2011
Nu stiu cum am dat peste acest video in care Romanii celebreaza Invierea Domnului Isus prin dans la Bucuresti, iar apoi am dat de acest video, incarcat pe Youtube de Second Baptist Church din Houston, Texas unde este pastor Ed Young. Biserica spune ca au fost inspirati de dansul din Budapesta aici -
. E interesant ca in prezent, in mesajul la situl bisericii, Ed Young spune ca trebuie sa luptam impotriva culturii pentru ca asa ne-a invatat Hristos. Actiunea contrazice invatatura. Si Biserica Saddleback, Pastor Rick Warren a participat in Dansul 2011.
Cum scrie in Eclesiast: Nu e nimic nou sub soare 1:9 “Ce a fost, va mai fi, şi ce s’a făcut, se va mai face; nu este nimic nou supt soare“. Se incearca sa se “predice” cu orice metoda, inclusiv dans, in afara de singura metoda care este insotita de puterea Duhului Sfant de a strapunge inimile si a transforma o viata pacatoasa: CUVANTUL, adica Biblia.
Dupa cum e Biserica, asa e si societatea!
Chiar in acest weekend citeam din nou din cartea lui Leonard Ravenhill “De ce intarzie trezirea?” Ravenhill a intitulat Capitolul 19 – Dupa cum e Biserica, asa e si societatea! Scrie Ravenhill:
E o nevoie disperata azi de oameni inspirati! Generatia degenerata de azi are absoluta nevoie de credinciosi cu suflete activate de Duhul. Vantul napraznic al nelegiuirii veacului din urma poate stinge usor o simpla faclie de religiozitate formala; asa cum o trestie uscata se frange in furtuna, asa se rupe si luminarea slaba a sectarismului firesc. Se aude in lume apropiindu-se vuietul infricosator al religiilor false si al crestinismului caldicel. Iar avertismentul impotriva acestora ne vine din partea unor oameni care nu au foc sfant, asa ca preferam adesea si noi sa fim mai bine de loc fara foc.
Nefiind in stare sa deosebim ce e firesc si ce e Duh, multi oameni religiosi ai zilei trambiteaza o noua spiritualitate in lume. Dar ceea ce e bun e doar un semn al mediocritatii, si ajunge din nou dusmanul de moarte al desavarsirii (Cei intelepti vor pricepe). Nu stati nepasatori! Conflictul se ascute! Aceasta e noaptea ruginii si a molimei. Dumnezeu sa ajute popoarele, ruinate de religii, faurite de oameni, aduse la blestem de culte intocmite de oameni, bantuite de doctrine nascocite de oameni! A mai fost vreodata asa o ora grozava? Stradanii irosite sunt pretul pe care-l platim pentru progesul de azi.
Dupa cum e Biserica, asa e si societatea. Cred ca e timpul sa ne trezim. Ar trebui sa ne apropiem de limbajul lui Patrick Henry astfel: “E oare lungimea vietii asa de draga si e oare comfortul caselor noastre atat de pretuit incat sa fim gata sa le cumparam cu pretul unei vieti de necredinta, cu pretul rugaciunilor uscate si fara viata? Nu cumva la marea judecata, in ultima instanta, in fata lui Dumnezeu, vor veni milioane de oameni trimisi la pierzare, in focul cel vesnic, sa ma acuze ca am fost nepasator de soarta lor, ca am trait un materialism doar invelit in cateva versete din Scriptura? Fereasca Dumnezeu Peasfantul! Nu stiu ce vor alege altii. Cat despre mine, dati-mi focul trezirii sufletului meu si a Bisericilor din intreaga tara. Daca nu, mai bine moartea!”
Doresc sa precizez ca nu am postat acest video ca sa dau cu pietre in oamenii care practica acest dans. Si nu afirm ca nu sunt printre ei oameni sinceri si credinciosi. L-am postat ca sa ne aducem aminte de acuzatia lui Ravenhill: Dupa cum e Biserica, asa e si societatea si de ceea ce a spus apostolul Pavel: Romani 10:14 “Dar cum vor chema pe Acela în care n’au crezut? Şi cum vor crede în Acela, despre care n’au auzit? Şi cum vor auzi despre El fără propovăduitor? Dumnezeu sa ne ajute sa facem mai mult decat sa ne dam cu parerea; sa Il propovaduim pe Hristos celor din jurul nostru (caci cu cei din video, sigurat ca nu avem tangenta) pentru ca multi nu Il cunosc si chiar dintre cei care cred ca Il cunosc, realitatea este ca nu il cunosc de fel!
30 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
Joel Osteen didn’t disappoint the tens of thousands of people that filled the Nationals Park baseball stadium Sunday evening expecting him to “plant the seed of hope” in them. He not only delivered a potent dose of hope, but also rolled out an American Idol star and his own mother to share their uplifting stories of survival in the face of death at the “Night of Hope” event in Washington, D.C.
A pastor and at least 20 worshippers were killed when gunmen suspected to be Islamist militants opened fire in two separate incidents targeting worship services in northern Nigeria Sunday.
Do we really believe that God has one plan for the United States – Prosperity? And another for Africa and other countries where Christians are slaughtered more and more? Are we not all the body of Christ? Did Christ not say, that whoever would follow Him must take up their cross and follow Him? Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
Please remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Nigeria and all over the globe who are suffering in persecution.
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.—Hebrews 13:3
30 Apr 2012 4 Comments
What is unusual about this song? The story behind it: Abraham obeys God without understanding why God is asking him to sacrifice his own son, in Genesis 22:2 “Then God said, “Take your son , your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you. ” . Romans 4:3″What does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” May God empower us to obey Him, even when we don’t fully understand our circumstances.
Lyrics from www.Lyricstime.com
Wake up little Isaac
And rub your tired eyes
Go and kiss your mama
We’ll be gone a little while
Come and walk beside me
Come and hold your papa’s hand
I go to make an altar
And to offer up my lamb
I waited on the Lord
And in a waking dream He came
Riding on a wind across the sand
He spoke my name
“Here I am”, I whispered
And I waited in the dark
The answer was a sword
That came down hard upon my heart
Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Lord, help me I don’t know the way
So take me to the mountain
I will follow where You lead
There I’ll lay the body
Of the boy You gave to me
And even though You take him
Still I ever will obey
But Maker of this mountain, please
Make another way
Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Holy is the Lord
Holy is the Lord
And the Lord I will obey
Lord, help me I don’t know the way
Uploaded by gregmuzak 2006
30 Apr 2012 12 Comments
If you’re going to have doubt, make sure to have doubts about your doubts as well as your beliefs. We’re taught in our culture that a person who doubts is essentially smarter than a person who believes. But you can be as dumb as a cabbage and still say why ? Our culture is set up on that.
You wanna say, “Believe your beliefs, doubt your doubts as well as doubt your beliefs and believe your doubts. You go the whole round, and that’s what we’re not taught. This is about how knowledge grows and knowledge grows by not only doubting your beliefs and believing your doubts but by (also) doubting your doubts and believing your beliefs. That involves conversation with others, inquiring, listening to a good preacher preach, going to read a good book on atheism by Dawkins… Now, not everybody has the time to do that, so in the fellowship that is one reason why we need one another so badly, so there can be other people who can do what we don’t have time to do and that division of labor really works in the church.
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30 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
The power of the world view. Dallas Willard talks about what it is and how it works in context. Notes:
Nature and Necessity of World View
Our ability to represent things as they are, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience
This is what our universities are devoted to.
But knowledge requires TRUTH.
A thought or statement is true if what it is about is as that thought or statement represents it.
“An institution of higher education is, by definition, dedicated to the search for truth and its dissemination”. Harvard had a little problem with this and they changed their shield several times. Primarily they were troubled about the issue of the unity of truth and that is: Does truth include the religious, the moral and the other dimensions of truth? Gradually through the years there has been a drift in university affairs that relegates truth to just the natural world. And so our ability to represent God, personal character of the human beings, spiritual side, all of that is eliminated from knowledge. But, truth itself does not do that.
Truth does not accommodate belief; belief has to accommodate truth. No one has ever made a proposition true simply by believing it. Now, maybe their belief in it caused them to act and to bring something about, that made the proposition true. But, merely believing doesn’t make propositions true. A group of people believing it doesn’t help get up a movement. It won’t make it true.
The bitterness of truth is its total indifference to human will and desire together with the fact that human desire and will is set on reshaping reality and therefore truth to suit itself. This is the fundamental conflict in human life. It is the conflict between desire and will and truth. And that conflict affects everything we do, including what we do on the university campus.
The Main World view questions
When it comes to these world view questions the same questions are there. The question: How do we know the truth? still applies to those. Here’s a question of fact or truth and it has incredible bearings on how we approach our life: Am I, fundamentally, a material object that exists or gets organized by DNA and exists for a little while and then I stop existing? Or, am I an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God’s Universe? Wow, what a difference. See?
The Main World View Questions:
*The nature of reality
-What counts as knowledge of reality?
*Who is really well-off?
-The Good Life
*Who is a “really good” person? (one of the deepest questions)
Jesus and his tradition responds to each of these questions… as do Plato, Buddha, Freud, etc. In the university setting the dominating world view is expressed through what is accepted as research and what counts as possible knowledge. You (university students) are in a system that teaches a world view without responsibly defending it.
How is a world view taught?
What we have to do with is a kind of orthodoxy, a secular orthodoxy. That is a sociological reality, not a rationally supported outlook. I am, more or less, calling attention to this and saying: Look, this is something we have to deal with. UCLA answers these questions in a pretty straightforward way but, they don’t stand on the street corner and argue for it.
How does the University answer the Four Great Questions?
These “Answers” are the Assumptions of what we do and do not do
We wouldn’t try to defend them except in some philosophical context, possibly. But they are the assumptions that we live by and we set up our curriculum in those ways and we judge the qualification of people to teach and not to teach, to publish or not to publish, to get grants and not get grants. That’s where the world-view takes hold.
How does Jesus answer these four questions?
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I want to stress this fact: A world view, a basically unified world view that is taught by inflection, action, model. You get crosswise of that you will soon find out that you’re not acceptable. It is very powerful, it is a sociological reality.
There is another world view, it is the one that founded the universities, and, intact dominated the universities until about 75 years ago. That change has come very recently. It is a part of a socialization process that is going on in history, a necessary one, in many respects, in which the university had to divorce itself from the implicit institutions of religion and society. (Recommends the book: The making of the modern university). It wasn’t that suddenly, someone found out that Jesus was wrong. Nobody found that out. It was not discovered, it was negotiated over a period of time in which people decided that it would be that way, and was able to set the tone against it. That’s what happened.
Where we now stand
Where to now?
Question and answer session begins at the 35th minute.
30 Apr 2012 4 Comments
După ce-au păscut în pace, fiind bine săturate,
La amiază, oi şi capre, stând la umbră adunate,
Se porniră să discute ce mai este nou prin lume,
Despre vreme, despre soartă, despre mode şi costume.
Mai întâi o capră zveltă, galeşă, dar cam râioasă,
Ia cuvântul şi vorbeşte despre vremea călduroasă:
„Vai ce cald e azi afară! Mă întreb nedumerită,
Cum puteţi voi, oi neroade, în asemenea ţinută,
Să petreceţi zi şi noapte, tot în lână-nvăluite,
Tot smerite şi plecate, liniştite şi tăcute?
Când vă văd îmbrobodite ca pe nişte maici sau ţaţe,
Mă gândesc: cum pot berbecii să vă sufere ca soaţe?
Voi nu ştiţi că astăzi lumea s-a emancipat în toate
Şi de nu ţii pasul lumii eşti în ex-societate?
Nu vedeţi ce rău arată lâna voastră – ca un ciuf -
Că sunteţi, cum zice lumea, „ca o oaie pe zăduf”?
De ce nu priviţi în lături la familia căprească,
Care e nu doar modernă, dar şi demnă să uimească?
Nu vedeţi ce siluete şi ce bine arătăm,
Când, cu coada ridicată, tot mai sus ne căţărăm?
Nu vedeţi ce mândre coarne şi ce ugere avem,
Cât suntem de elegante şi ce sprintene suntem?
Nu vedeţi ce admirate suntem noi de ţăpişori
Care, dându-ne târcoale, ne seduc adeseori
Cu purtarea lor atentă, cu parfumul lor specific?
Cât de eleganţi sunt dânşii şi ce mers vioi, mirific,
Ce superbă ţăcălie şi ce coarne ondulate!
Aşadar, a noastre gesturi sunt cu totul inspirate.
Chiar şi unii dintre oameni ne adoptă moda noastră.
De aici puteţi pricepe că-i distinsă şi măiastră.
Căţărându-se pe tocuri, imitând a noastră artă,
Şi femeile din lume ca şi caprele se poartă.
Şi bărbaţii îi imită pe ai noştri ţăpişori
Nu atât prin ţăcălie, cât prin gesturi şi purtări.
Însă voi tot ameţite, cu concepţii retrograde,
Cu smerenie şi teamă, staţi închise-n calapoade!
Nu consideraţi că-i vremea să trăiţi a voastră viaţă,
Să gustaţi din vraja vieţii, să gustaţi a ei dulceaţă”?
Şi, aşa, râioasa capră, pe oi le-a povăţuit
Cu parşivele ei sfaturi, până când a obosit.
Încântată de îndemnuri şi de cele auzite,
Behăind, o oaie neagră se ridică să cuvinte:
„Cred că voi aveţi dreptate, trebuie pogorăminte!
Suntem prea arhaizate, prea avem purtări de sfinte!
Astăzi când dobitocimea vrea să fie toat-o turmă,
Nu putem noi, oi profane, să rămânem tot în urmă!
De aceea, se impune ca şi noi să aderăm
La perceptele globale şi să le asimilăm.
Se impune o schimbare în trăire, cu mult fler,
Chiar de forurile-nalte deocamdată nu ne cer.
De aceea mult distinsă şi prea nobilă căprime,
Vei avea de azi în toate, primul aliat, pe mine”.
Mult a fost aplaudată oaia neagră democrată
Şi a fost felicitată de căprimea adunată.
De atunci, oiţa neagră, ca s-arate ca o capră,
A-nceput o viaţă nouă, neputând în ea să-ncapă.
Şi-a vopsit în grabă lâna, după ce s-a tuns căpreşte,
Şi pe cap, din ziua-ceea, două coarne-ncep a-i creşte.
Coada proaspăt ajustată şi-o ţinea pe spinăruşe
Şi mergea păşind agale, doar în două picioruşe.
Zilele trecură-n grabă peste lume, peste turmă.
Toate anunţau, convinse, vremea zilelor din urmă.
Ale iernii semne sumbre se-arătau cu-nverşunare,
De aceea, păstoraşul le-a adus spre numărare,
Jos, în valea cunoscută, aducându-le aproape.
Şi le-a despărţit pe ele, într-o zi, în oi şi capre.
A pus caprele la stânga, iar oiţele de-a dreapta,
Fiecare dintre ele singure găsindu-şi ceata.
Numai oaia, travestită în familia căprească,
Nu ştia, şezând în poartă, în ce parte să păşească.
Întrebându-şi conştiinţa şi privindu-l pe păstor,
Şi-a dat seama că e capră, şi-a trecut în ţarcul lor.
Tot aşa va fi odată, la temuta Judecată:
Fiecare, cum se poartă, fiecare-n a sa ceată. GBY.
30 Apr 2012 Leave a Comment
“Blestemat sa fie acela care face lucrarea lui Dumnezeu cu nebagare de seama“, spune Scriptura. Si, cand spun lucrarea lui Dumnezeu, nu ma gandesc numai la lucrarea aceasta de vestire a Evangheliei. Poate noi, penticostalii, ne limitam uneori la asta, dar lucrare este si sa canti in cor, orchestra, sa ajuti pe cineva, sa vizitezi bolnavii la spital sau sa maturi in biserica. Aceasta lucrare trebuie facuta bine si cu cea mai mare seriozitate. Slujind in Biserica Penticostala, slujim lui Dumnezeu!
Punandu-mi intrebarea: “Cu ce este datoare Romaniei aceasta generatie de Pastori?” – vreau, cu ajutorul Duhului Sfant, sa scot in evidenta obligatiile pe care le au pastorii fata de tara aceasta, fata de aceasta generatie de oameni care ne inconjoara.
Suntem datori acestei generatii care ne-a crescut aici, care s-a rugat pentru noi, care ne-a dus la biserica si care a investit in noi. Cei mai multi dintre noi au venit din lume si putini au crescut in biserica. Au avut rabdare cu noi ani de zile pana cand ne-am format si au postit pentru noi.
Am plecat din biserica cand aveam 17-18 ani. Aveti copii de varsta asta. O sa le vina unora clipa, daca nu le-a venit pana acum, cand, omeneste, nu se mai poate face nimic pentru ei. Caci nici bataia, nici calculatorul luat nu o sa-i mai poata ajuta, dar singurul care poate face ceva este Isus Hristos.
Au trecut 5 ani pana m-am intors in biserica. Stiam ca locul nostru este pe ultima banca verde de langa cuier. Deci, cand m-am dus pentru prima data dupa o absenta asa de mare, dupa 1990, i-am spus sotiei atunci: “Tu sa te duci in fata, caci esti prietena bisericii. Eu ma duc in spate caci sunt fiul risipitor.” In clipa cand am ingenuncheat, a venit la mine diaconul bisericii, un om batran care nu avea decat doua clase. M-a luat de mana si mi-a spus: “Vino, caci de 5 ani ne rugam pentru tine; locul tau este pe banca a doua de langa geam, caci de acolo ai plecat”.
1) Trebuie sa aratam acestei generatii un crestinism autentic.
Cu ce suntem datori noi, pastorii acestei generatii? In primul rand, trebuie sa aratam acestei generatii un crestinism autentic. Apostolul Pavel spune bisericii din Filipi: “…ca sa fiti fara prihana si curati, copii ai lui Dumnezeu, fara vina, in mijlocul unui neam ticalos si stricat, in care straluciti ca niste lumini in lume” (Filipeni 2:15). Cand vor umbla unii dupa afaceri, noi sa umblam dupa Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu. Cand altii vor umbla dupa foloasele lor, noi sa umblam dupa foloasele altora, caci Dumnezeu ne va da toate binecuvantarile Lui. Intr-un timp in care biserica a devenit lumeasca si lumea a devenit bisericoasa, va trebui sa intelegem ca este nevoie sa traim un crestinism autentic.
Crestinismul autentic inseamna intoarcerea cu spatele la lume si cu fata la Isus Hristos. Sa vedem in fata noastra tot timpul crucea lui Isus Hristos si sa spunem: “Doamne, ajuta-ma sa traiesc in asa fel ca Numele Tau sa fie proslavit tot timpul in viata mea, sa traiesc frumos ca in timpul zilei, sa-mi fie scarba de pacat, de minciuna, de lacomie, de toate lucrurile acestei lumi si sa Te iubesc pe Tine, sa tanjesc dupa Tine.” Trebuie sa traim un crestinism adevarat, care sa ne faca sa semanam cu Isus Hristos. Nu trebuie sa fim pe plac unei biserici sau unor oameni, ci trebuie sa fim placuti Domnului Isus Hristos, caci El ne va judeca intr-o zi si trebuie sa semanam cu El.
2) Suntem datori sa predicam oamenilor predici adevarate
In Fapte 2, Petru s-a rugat 10 zile, a predicat 4 minute si s-au pocait 3,000 de oameni. Astazi, ne pregatim 10 zile, predicam 3 ceasuri, ne rugam 3 minute, ne botezam copiii si suntem foarte fericiti ca biserica creste. S-au botezat 3,000 de oameni la predica unui simplu pescar, om fara multa scoala, dar el a predicat o predica adevarata. O predica care te face sa simti ca ceva nu este in regula cu tine, o predica din aceea care ii face pe oameni sa plece altfel decat au venit. O predica adevarata spune ca “pe acest Isus pe care L-ati rastignit voi, Dumnezeu L-a inaltat si L-a pus sa fie Hristos si Domn“.
*Adevarata predica trebuie sa deranjeze. La sfarsitul predicii lui Petru, oamenii au ramas strapunsi in inima. Noi, generatia asta, trebuie sa predicam predici adevarate si sa-i deranjam pe oameni. Cand pleaca din biserica, oamenii trebuie sa fie strapunsi in inima, sa nu poata iesi pe usa din cauza eisi sa spuna: “fratilor, spuneti-ne ce sa facem, ca viata noastra nu merge bine, predica asta ne-a strapuns, ne-a facut praf, avem inima franta.” Deci, predica noastra trebuie sa deranjeze.
*Adevarata predica trebuie sa directioneze. Au tabarat toti pe Petru si l-au intrebat: “Ce trebuie sa facem, pentru ca acum suntem strapunsi in inima“. Si Petru i-a directionat si le-a spus: “Pocaiti-va si credeti in Isus Hristos”. Asta e directia. Nu “veniti in biserica noastra“, ci “veniti la Isus si veti avea biserica adevarata“.
*Adevarata predica trebuie sa divizeze oamenii. Cei ce au primit propovaduirea au fost botezati. Nu toata lumea se va pocai la predicile noastre. Oamenii se vor diviza pentru ca Domnul Isus a spus: “N-am venit sa sa aduc pacea, am venit sa aduc sabia“, iar sabia te despica. O predica trebuie sa-i schimbe pe oameni.
Am stat si m-am gandit la acel pasaj din Biblie, unde spune ca Naomi a plecat din tara bunastarii si a binecuvantarii lui Dumnezeu spre o tara indepartata. Stiti de ce? Pentru ca nu a fost paine. Marea noastra problema e cand ne intrebam de ce ne pleaca oamenii din biserica. Stiti de ce? Nu au ce manca. In momentul cand a auzit ca este paine in Israel, Naomi s-a intors si nu a venit singura. A mai adus pe cineva din amaraciune. Si, vreau sa va spun ca atat timp cat va fi paine in bisericile noastre, oamenii nu vor pleca, ci, dimpotriva, vor veni cei care au plecat si vor aduce si pe altii. Asa se vor inmulti bisericile noastre, daca vom predica o Evanghelie adevarata.
3) Noi, pastorii, suntem datori datori acestei generatii sa ne rugam pentru trezire
Avem aceasta obligatie. Fapte 4:31 “Dupa ce s-au rugat ei, s-a cutremurat locul unde erau adunati; toti s-au umplut de Duhul Sfant, si vesteau Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu cu indrazneala“. Pentru biserica, trezirea este darul lui Dumnezeu, dar trezirea pentru o familie, pentru o persoana, este munca noastra si trebuie sa ne luptam pentru asta. Nu va fi trezire in Romania, nu va fi trezire in casele noastre pana nu ne vom ruga. Nu sa facem studii biblice despre rugaciune, ci sa facem rugaciuni si sa Ii cerem Domnului lucruri de care avem nevoie. Si lucrurile de care avem nevoie sunt acelea care intra in sufletul nostru. Avem nevoie, ca biserica, de trezire: avem nevoie noi, pastorii te trezire, avem nevoie sa strigam: “Doamne, indura-Te de tara aceasta, incepe treziea cu casa mea!” Satana poate construi foarte multe ziduri in jurul nostru, dar niciodata nu le poate pune acoperis. El nu poate opri legatura noastra cu cerul, si atunci, indiferent de zidul din jurul meu, legatura cu cerul este libera si pot vorbi cu Dumnezeul meu, care imi raspunde la rugaciune. Si El vrea ca aceasta generatie sa fie o generatie a trezirii. Suntem datori pentru acesti oameni sa conducem aceste rugaciuni.
Frederic, asistentul lui Luter, s-a imbolnavit grav si i-a trimis acestuia vorba, spunandu-i: “Eu nu mai pot continua lucrarea de reformare a bisericii, caci sunt pe moarte“. Luther i-a trimis o foaie pe care a scris: “Iti poruncesc in Numele Domnului Isus Hristos sa nu mori. Aceasta este voia mea si faca-mi-se dupa voia mea, pentru ca nu am alta voie decat inaltarea Numelui lui Dumnezeu. Nu voi ingadui ca tu sa mori inaintea mea, caci eu voi pleca inaintea ta la cer, iar tu te vei ridica in picioare in Numele lui Isus Hristos. A trait sa-l vada pe Luter murind, ba chiar inca 6 ani dupa moartea lui, pentru ca un om s-a rugat cu credinta.
4) Suntem datori, noi Pastorii Romaniei, sa slujim in dragoste
Trezirea nu este aceea cand bancile sunt pline, ci trezirea este cand inimile noastre sunt pline. Caci bancile pot fi pline cu oameni goi pe dinauntru. Pe vremuri aveam atatea cuvinte sa-i spune lui Dumnezeu pentru ca eram in dragostea dintai. Cand esti in dragostea dintai ai atatea de spus, dar acum parca asa de putine cuvinte mai avem. Vreau sa va spun ca dragostea sta si in vorbe. Spuneti-le oamenilor: Apreciem ceea ce faceti, ne este draga lucrarea pe care o faceti. “Dragostea acopera totul” spune Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu. Mai acoperim lucrurile rele, sa nu se mai auda, sa nu se mai vorbeasca, si le descoperim pe cele bune.
Dragostea sta in vorbe, in fapte, dar si in sacrificiu. Domnul Isus spune despre o biserica: “Stiu dragostea ta, stiu jertfa… dar ce am impotriva ta, biserica, este ca ti-ai parasit dragostea dintai. Pocaieste-te dar si intoarce-te la faptele dintai.” Stiti care erau faptele dintai? Te sculai la 6 dimineata sa te rogi, mergeai la spitale prin frig, ploaie si nu conta. Va veni o vreme cand tot ce am facut pentru Domnul ne va fi rasplatit. Trebuie sa ne incredem nu in ceea ce am facut, ci in puterea sangelui Lui, insa nimic din ce am facut nu va ramane nerasplatit din partea lui Dumnezeu.
Am crescut intr-o familie in care tatal meu nu l-a cunoscut pe Dumnezeu. Poti predica la mii de oameni, dar cel mai greu este sa duci Evanghelia in casa ta. Nu primea Cuvantul de la nimeni.
Intr-o iarna, pe la 10 dimineata, mi-a batut cineva la usa si mi-a spus: “Domnule pastor, va cheama bunicul meu sa mergeti la el“. Despre acesta stiam ca sta in pat de 7 ani, paralizat, si bea doar lapte, cu paiul. Era ca o leguma. Fusese clopotar in biserica ortodoxa. Cand am ajuns, el mi-a spus,” Domnule pastor, noaptea trecuta a venit la mine Isus si mi-a spus: “Miroane, tu trebuie sa te botezi. Trimite dupa pastor”. I-am spus ca nu-l pot boteza prin cufundare, dar il pot stropi cu apa in Numele Tatalui, al Fiului si al Duhului Sfant. Imediat dupa ce a fost botezat, s-a ridicat in sezut, pentru prima data in 7 ani, si primul lucru care l-a facut a fost sa ceara de mancare. S-a ridicat si a mancat. A mai trait pana acum 3 ani. Dupa ce a fost botezat si vindecat, a venit la biserica, pe picioarele lui, la fiecare serviciu divin. Intre timp, ma mutasem la oras. Intr-o zi, mama mi-a dat un telefon, sa imi spuna sa vin degraba acasa, caci s-a intamplat o minune cu tatal meu. M-am dus imediat acasa si mama mi-a spus cum fratele Miron, cel ce fusese paralizat, a stat 3 ore de vorba cu tata, dupa care tata a inceput sa planga si sa se roage. Miron a fost singurul om pe care tata il respecta in satul acela si de la el a primit Cuvantul lui Dumnezeu. Dupa doua luni, tata s-a botezat si de atunci merge la biserica mereu. Ma gandesc cu groaza ce s-ar fi intamplat in dimineata aceea de iarna, daca nu ma ridicam din pat, pentru ca Dumnezeu avea de facut o minune si in casa mea.
Tot ce ai facut pentru Dumnezeu, intr-o zi se va intoarce pentru tine. Fiecare vorba spusa, fiecare lucru facut il primim inapoi in Numele lui Isus Hristos. Amin!
29 Apr 2012 11 Comments
by John Piper from desiringGod.org
1. Jesus Is God
It means that he is God.
Paul said in Colossians 2:9, “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (cf. 1:13, 19). He said in Philippians 2:6, “Though he was in the form of God he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied himself.” Hebrews 1:2–3 says, “In these last days God has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of [God's] glory and the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power.” Hebrews 1:8–9 says, “Of the Son [God] he says, “Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” And John writes, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14).
When Paul said that Jesus is the Son of God, we understand him to mean that Jesus is God. He is not a mere man or a high-ranking angel in human form. He is truly man and truly God.
When we call him Son of God, we mean that he is of the same nature as God. Fathers create things unlike themselves, but they beget sons like themselves. C. S. Lewis puts it like this:
When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers, and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make (or create), you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, and man makes a wireless set (or a computer) . . .
So when we say that Jesus is the Son of God, we mean that God has begotten his Son in his very same divine nature, nothing less, from all eternity. Begetting is a metaphor, a picture, that tries to hold two truths together: (1) God the Father is not God the Son and God the Son is not God the Father; they are distinct persons, distinct centers of consciousness, and can relate to each other. But (2) the Father and the Son are one God not two Gods, one essence, one divine nature. From all eternity, without any beginning, the Father has always had a perfect image of himself and a divine reflection or radiance equal to himself, namely, the Son.
So the first thing we mean when we say, “Jesus is the Son of God,” is that he is God.
2. God Has a Unique Love for Jesus
The second thing it means is that God has a unique love for Jesus as his Son.
In Colossians Paul describes Jesus as the Son of God’s love, implying that the love for his divine Son is utterly unique from the love God has for all his human children by adoption. “God has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.”
And two times in the earthly life of Jesus—once at Jesus’ baptism and once on the mount of transfiguration—God the Father broke in and said, “This is my beloved Son.” And inEphesians 1:6 Jesus is simply called God’s “loved one.”
So when we call Jesus the Son of God, we should have in our minds the truth that he is God and that there is a relationship of infinite love between God the Father and God the Son that is different from all other loves.
But let’s ask why this was so crucial for Saul and for Luke that they put it right at the front of the ministry. The first thing Saul proclaims is, “Jesus is the Son of God.” Why?
Consider these four truths about the Son of God and see if you don’t think the truth of Jesus’ Sonship deserves first place.
So it was the coming and the dying of the Son that gave us the gift of adoption. So if you confess the Son, you have the Father also—have him as Father. And if you have the Son and the Father, then you have everlasting life. And not only for the ages to come, but right now the Son of God works for us so that our lives should be described as living by faith in the Son of God.
So it is not surprising that Saul and Luke would put this truth at the very beginning of Paul’s missionary preaching: “Jesus is the Son of God.”
It needs to be right at the front end of our Christian lives too. It needs to be one of the central pillars in our understanding of reality. Jesus is the Son of God.
I want you all to know the Son of God and to have personal, intimate, hour-by-hour, trustful, saving fellowship with him; and to have the Father with him; and to have life in them; and to enjoy the exalted place of adoption through the Spirit of the Son; and the gift of redemption and reconciliation and conformity to the Son; and the power of victory over the devil. “The Son of God appeared to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).
I want all this for you. So how do you come to know and have the Son like that? Jesus said in Matthew 11:27, “No one knows the Son except the Father.” So how will I ever come to know him? Then in Matthew 16:15 Jesus asks the disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Do you remember how Jesus responded? “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” Knowing Jesus as the Son of God is not something that happens by the mere mental and emotional powers resident in human nature. There must be a divine work of grace beyond flesh and blood, so that in and through and behind the Bible and the preaching and the miracles we see the glory of the Son. We taste the divine reality and know him supernaturally.
Is it an accident that Paul describes his conversion like this in Galatians 1:16, “When God was pleased to reveal his Son to me ["reveal"! the same word Jesus used to describe Peter's experience], in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood . . . but I went away into Arabia”? Just like Jesus said to Peter: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.”
So how do you come to know Jesus as the Son of God and to have fellowship with the Son and walk by faith in the Son and have life in the Son?
There does have to be intelligible preaching or teaching or witnessing about the biblical story of Jesus. Our text says (Acts 9:22) that Saul “confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.” An intelligible, valid presentation of Jesus is essential. But persuasive words alone do not open the eyes of the heart. They tried to kill Paul in Damascus. “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, Simon, but my Father who is in heaven.”
“The God who said, Let light shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
How then do you come to know and to have and to fellowship with the Son of God? You listen to his Word, his story (Luke 9:35). And you pray for the revelation of the Father—the eyes to see the glory (Mark 9:24). And by grace you believe and triumph. “Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5).
29 Apr 2012 9 Comments
The Gospel Demands Radical Sacrifice - Read the notes from entire sermon below the video. Here is an outline of the sermon:
The Sacrifice of a Christian Luke 14:25-35
Term #1 – Jesus requires superior love
Term # 2 – Jesus requires exclusive loyalty
Term # 3 – Jesus requires total loss
Jesus is supremely loving
We’ve created a system of Christianity that consists in a bunch of boxes to check off. The danger is, we hear the Word and … “Tell me what I’m supposed to do?” And we crave boxes. If we could just check these things off , it would be ok. That’s not the point. It misses the point altogether. That’s a Christianity that consists of external regulations that bypasses the heart. I believe the point is for God to take this word, show us what this word does and then to drive us to the Spirit of God. To drive you and me to hours of wrestling with God in prayer about how this would apply to our lives. If all we do is talk with each other about these things, come up with check off boxes, “Hey, this is how it looks”, then we will miss God’s design for us in His work. He desires to bring us along with Him, with His Word, with His Spirit and to transform our hearts, to change our hearts, to radically change us, in a way that will have external ramifications. Yes, but that is rooted in internal change.
We will do everything we can in our Christian culture today to bypass spending the time necessary before God. We need to experience internal change. One primary question I want to ask you today. Are you willing to come to Jesus on His terms? I ask this question that way because the brand of Christianity we have adopted operates on coming to Jesus on our own terms. You look at how we describe Christianity, how we encourage people to come to Christ and you will find terms that are foreign to the New Testament.
Jesus told his followers to do none of these things. None of them. I want you to hear what Jesus said to the crowds who were travelling with Him. His terms.
Luke 14:26 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower, would he not first sit down to count the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it everyone sees and will ridicule him saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish”. Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not sit down and consider whether he will be able wit h10,000 men to oppose the one that comes against him with 20,000? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while they are still a long ways off and he will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple. Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. It is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Can you imagine standing in that crowd? Who does this guy think he is? So, I’m supposed to hate my mom and dad, and brother and sister and my wife and my children. I’m supposed to pick up an instrument of torture and give up everything I have to follow you. For most of us Jesus lost us at the beginning of this passage. Some might think that these words are too hard for us to look into. Some might say we don’t need to look at passages like this. Are we really ready and mature enough to hear words like these?
This is just it. This is how Jesus introduced people to Himself. This wasn’t Jesus speaking to a mature crowd needing to go deeper. This is Jesus speaking to a crowd who was initially interested in following Him and this was an initial invitation to them. Hate your mother and father, pick up the cross and give up everything you’ve got. This is what he said. It is a stinging indictment on our Christianity today, to think that these words sound so radical to us because they seem so foreign to us.
This is elementary, basic truths Jesus said; what it means to follow Him. And they are so foreign today. What does that say to us? About how far we’ve strayed about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, that would even ask the question today: Well, can you be a believer and not a disciple? As if there’s levels of Christianity:
1)a thin level where it really doesn’t cost you that much and
2)those who are really interested can go into a deeper, higher, deeper, higher level of Christianity. The New testament knows nothing of this. I’m not saying that all of us are at the same level of Scriptural maturity or that when we initially come to Christ we know everything that we know 20 years later.
But the picture is clear. Jesus says three times- If you don’t do these things you can’t even be my disciple. These requirements are basic requirements for discipleship. And, I wonder, as we look at a passage where Jesus is speaking to a crowd that has been “flirting” with Him on their terms, I can’t help to think that I stand before a crowd of people today, in our culture, who has been flirting with Jesus, on our terms.
And for some, if not maybe most of us need to ask the question: Have we ever really come to Jesus on His terms? That’s an important question to ask. Have you ever come to Jesus on His terms?
This is an evangelistic text. This is Jesus inviting people to follow Him, for the first time. Really. So, I want us to look at the terms and you see it 3 different times He uses this frame: If anyone does not do this he cannot be my disciple. These are requirements so to speak.
The Sacrifice of a Christian
I want to invite you to hear the terms of Jesus and to consider: Have you ever responded to Jesus on these terms?
Term #1 – Jesus requires superior love
In comparison to Christ, we hate the people we love. It’s not that we don’t love them. The reality is everything comes full circle – See Luke 14:26. Talk about strong. That’s an attention grabber. What does that mean? What does Jesus mean when He says to hate your mother, father, brother, sister, wife and children? Some of you are saying, “I don’t get it, I thought we were supposed to love people. Jesus is saying something here. I want to be very careful here, because there is a dangerous temptation for us to try to soften Jesus’ words and what it turns out is we try to soften Jesus’ words to justify the way we live. This is a very dangerous way to approach Christianity. We’ve got to take honest looks at Scripture to see exactly what Jesus said. Let’s go to Matthew 22:36 where there is an expert conversation between Jesus and a teacher of the law. This teacher of the law asks Jesus this question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it. Love you neighbor as yourself. All the law of the prophets hang on these 2 commandments.
This debunks the idea that there are priorities in our affections. That God is first, family second and so on. No, God is everything. All, primary, supreme. Superior love, everything. All your affections belong to God and the testimony of Scripture flows right from here. The second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself. We notice this all through the New Testament when love for God is supreme in your life, the result is love for each other. They go together. Love for each other springs from God. Loving Him is supreme, superior love.
Clearly, there’s a love that supersedes all other loves. Loving God, loving Christ. In Matthew 10:37 Jesus says, “Anyone who loves his mother and father more than me is not worthy of me. Anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And anyone who does not take up his cross to follow me is not worthy of me. See the picture there?
What Jesus is trying to communicate to the disciples here is that love for Him, love supreme – that every other love in this world is so far less that it looks like hate compared to this kind of love.
When love for God is supreme and love for God captivates our heart, then what kinf of love are we showing to mother and father? The love of God, of Christ in us. Same picture in marriage. Wife and children. Men, how do you play out Ephesians 5:25 “Love your wives just as Christ did the Church and gave Himself up for her”. How do you do that if love for Christ is not supreme in your life? You can’t. It’s impossible. It’s not that these are mutually exclusive. They flow, one flows form the other. But, it starts with a reservoir of love for the supremacy of Christ and God. Our hearts conquered by, captivated by a superior affection in God. We know so little of this kind of love. You hear the way we talk… supposed Christians talk. We say, “I know we need to be in church. I know I need to take my kids to church. I know I need to pray, I know I need to study the Bible.
This is not Christianity at all. Christianity does not consist of begrudging obedience to Christ. We know this on a human level. Where ever do we get the idea that Christianity is begrudging obedience? This is the way we think about it. When we let go of the things in this world that we love and we do the things that we really don’t want to do, we need to do them to save our own skin, not in biblical Christianity.
Biblical Christianity sees the Supremacy of Christ and is so infatuated by Him, so drawn to Him that our love for Him drives everything we do. It is a superior love that changes our perspective on everything in this world. So the question for you, in light of this verse is, “Do you love Christ?” “Do you want Christ? Do you love Him with all your soul, your mind and your heart?” I am not asking you if you go to church, I am not asking you if you read the Bible or if you pray or if you teach, or if you’re raising your kids good. Rubbish. Get through the rubbish. Do you want Christ? Do you love Christ? See, the reason why you live, one for whom your heart beats and your affections are driven… This is the picture. Superior love. It makes any other love look like hate.
I want to be careful here, but, I am convinced that in our culture today we idolize our children and our marriages and sex and relationship, parents, families and friends to the point where Jesus Christ gets the leftovers from our affections and it’s unchristian. You can’t even be a disciple of Jesus if that’s the case. You forsake all relationships in favor of an intimate relationship with Him. This is what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Want to know how this looks practically? I would point you to John Bunyan. John Bunyan lived in a time when it was not easy to be a follower of Christ, especially not easy to be a preacher of the Gospel of Christ. And he preached and he was told, “If you don’t stop preaching Bunyan, you will be imprisoned. He and his family were not well off as it was. His wife, his children, one of whom was blind, barely had enough to eat while he was free. He knew that if he was imprisoned, it would bring great harm upon his family. What does he do? What do you do when faced with that decision? Preaching? John Bunyan said, “Absolutely yeah”. You keep preaching. And he was imprisoned and he wrote form his jail cell, “Departing with my wife and poor children has often been to me, in this place, as the pulling of flesh from my bones. And that, not only because I am fond of these great mercies, but often though because I have also brought to my mind any hardships, miseries and wants that my poor family is likely to be meeting with, especially my poor, blind child who lay nearer to my heart than all I have besides. Oh the thought of the hardship I thought my blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces”. “But yet,” Bunyan said from a prison cell he writes, “I must venture all with God. I am like a man pulling down his house on the head of his wife and children ”.
Term # 2 – Jesus requires exclusive loyalty
The second term, Jesus outlines in verse 28 – “anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be my disciple”.
“Carry his cross”, this phrase may be the most misunderstood, misapplied phrases or terms in the New Testament. People talk today about carrying crosses. Often times they will be sharing their faith journey and people say, “I am going through this illness, this disease, this struggle, I’m in a bad relationship or in this bad marriage and these bad circumstances and this situation is the cross I bear. This is not what Jesus is talking about here. It misses the whole point of what Jesus is talking about here. It’s not what the hearers who heard this in the first century and it’s not what we hear today. We need to put ourselves in their shoes and realize that Jesus just said that “anyone who would not carry his cross… Now the only time that you would carry your cross is if you were a convicted criminal, punished to die, a cross beam was hoisted onto your back to carry through the town in public humiliation, on the way to your death.
This is repugnant. You’ve got to feel the weight of this. We see crosses everywhere. Trying to bring this in the present day, this is the equivalent of my saying to you, “If you do not pick up your electric chair, you cannot follow Jesus. Doesn’t that sound repugnant? Brash, even that would be insufficient because the cross involves so much more cruelty and torture than an electric chair would. The reality is, if you’re carrying a cross, you’re like a dead man walking. You have no more dreams, no more plans for your life, no more ideas with what you’re going to do in your life. Everything is over for you. You have no more pride, no more honor, nothing. You’re walking through public humiliation on a way to a place where that cross, you will be hoisted onto and you will die there. And this is the picture Jesus gives to the scribe, what it means to follow Him. Any takers? So strong.
>Through the cross of Christ we die to the life we live.
What Jesus is saying is that through the cross of Christ we die to the life we live. If you are a Christian according to Scripture, not according to blurry definitions of Christians, watered down. If you are a Christian according to Scripture, you are dead. You’re dead to yourself, to your dreams, to your hopes, plans, ideas. Right before this, at the end of verse 26 He said, you must “hate even your own life”. You do not live based on what you desire, what you dream, what you hope or what you want. Those things are gone. You’re dead to them. And, this is Galatians 2:20, “I’ve been crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet, not I but Christ lives in me”.
This is the picture. We’re dead to ourselves and alive in Christ. Dead to self esteem thinking. We’re dead to self saturated desire, to self centered planning for our lives. We’re dead to self comforting life. We’re dead to it all. We are alive to Christ’s esteeming thinking and Christ desiring and Christ centered living. We are dead to ourselves and alive to Christ and our entire identity is wrapped up in who He is and we’re dead to all of these things and alive to Him.
>This changes our priorities
Now this changes not just our perspective but it changes our priorities because now, the life of Christ determines everything about us. You do not determine where you live, Christ determines where you live. You don’t determine what kind of house you have, that’s Christ’s call. You do not determine what kind of car you drive, that is Christ’s decision. You do not determine the clothes you wear, you do not determine the things you buy, the plans you make. You do not determine anything, Christ now determines everything. You’ve died to the life you live. You don’t determine anything about your life anymore. Christ determines it all. This is a huge claim to authority over your life, my life. And He uses 2 illustrations in verse 28 and 30.
> We are workers constructing a building
Illustration #1 – first He says we are workers constructing a building. Don’t miss this. Jesus says, “Estimate the cost”. Estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it. This is a warning here against making hasty, emotional decisions to follow Him. He said, “You better realize the cost”. This is so radically different.
You take an evangelist today who has a sinner, somebody who is lost. Evangelist says, “Do you know you’re a sinner? Do you know that Jesus died on a cross? You answer yes to those questions, well then, “Welcome to the kingdom”. The problem is the devil can answer yes to both of those questions and Jesus is meanwhile pleading, “Count the cost”. Count the cost before you do anything. There is a cost here that needs to be considered before you take one step forward.
What does it cost? Jesus said, “It will cost you everything”. John Stott, my favorite author/preacher wrote, “The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict half built towers, the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ’s warning and undertake to follow Him without first pausing to reflect on the cause of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so called nominal Christianity. In countries where Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent but thin veneer of Christianity. They’ve allowed themselves to become somewhat involved, enough to be respectable, but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the harsh unpleasantness of life while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism.” This is contemporary Christianity.
> We are warriors fighting a battle
Then Jesus uses a second illustration: We are warriors fighting a battle, talks about going to war as a king. It is a picture we see all throughout the New Testament, fighting a fight, a spiritual battle going on.
Now I want to be careful. Now it doesn’t talk anywhere in the New Testament about a holy war, like we often hear on the news, associated with radical Islam. This is not, in any way talking about a war on terror. This is not a war that is fought by guns and bombs. It’s a war that’s fought with the Gospel, with prayer, with sacrificial love. The New Testament is clear that there is a spiritual battle that encompasses the Christian life, there’s a spiritual battle for holiness in our life and there’s a spiritual battle waging for the souls of men, women and children all across this planet, who go to either an eternal heaven or an eternal hell. The stakes are much higher in this war than any earthly war has ever had. Jesus says you consider before you go into battle, what’s at stake and what’s involved.
Our version of Christianity today really doesn’t look at the Christian life as a war time faith. We have more of a peace time faith. There’s a stark difference between the two. In war time, I am always asking the question: How can I sacrifice to advance the cause, how can I spend every resource I have? How can I best contribute to accomplishing the mission? Making sacrifices, not indulging in pleasantries, sacrificing everything towards accomplishing the mission. Peace time, pleasantries is the name of the game. We ask questions like: How can we be more comfortable, how can we have more fun, how can we try new pleasures that we never have experienced before?
There’s a war time and a peace time way to approach life and Christianity. See, the difference between the two in a ship, now docked in the harbor of Long beach, California, called the Queen Mary. It was built earlier in the 20th century as a luxury liner with a whole array of indulgences and designed to entice wealthy patrons. It could fit up to 3,000 wealthy patrons on it at one time; larger, more massive than the Titanic. What’s interesting is that for 6 years during World War II, when the country was in a state of national emergency they took this same ship and they called upon the ship to help with transporting troops. All of a sudden, the ship was transformed from a luxury into a source of transport for troops. Whereas 3,000 could get on it before, now it could transport 15,000 soldiers at one time. The whole ship was completely turned upside down to accommodate for accomplishing a mission instead of accommodating pleasures for wealthy patrons. You go today to this ship, it is now a museum, basically, due to its history and what you can see where it’s designed for troop transport it is 8 bunks high. You can see how every detail was used to accomplish mission and then you can look in another room and you can see it designed as a luxury liner for people to enjoy the pleasures of the ship. I would ask you, which image better describes Christianity in our context today, in our lives, in our families, in our homes and in our church?
Consider the cost… What would happen if we looked square in the face of 4.5 billion plus people on this earth who are headed into a Christ-less eternity and look square in the face of 30,000 people today who are dying from either hunger or from preventable diseases and we said, “We’re not going to use this ship anymore for our lives, our families, our church, we’re not going to use it to indulge our pleasures and sit by the pools and ask for more appetizers delivered to us. Instead we’re going to change for everything to say: How can we give our lives for the sake of accomplishing this mission?
It’s a radically different way to look at Christianity and Jesus says, “Consider the cost.” We are warrior going into the battle. Are you willing to get in the battle or do you want to sit back? This is the question He puts before us. Jesus says, “You have radically different priorities when you’re My disciple”.
Term # 3 – Jesus requires total loss
Verse 33. Jesus says, after that illustration, in the same way, any of you who does not give up everything He has cannot be my disciple”. There’s really not a good way to soften this one. We’re just gonna say it like it is. Ok? “For the cause of Christ”, Jesus says, “we give up everything we have”. That word “give up” literally means to say goodbye, to relinquish, to abandon, to renounce. We give up everything we have. Ladies and gentlemen, if we want to follow Christ, we give up everything we have, not some things, not some things…
You know, I think at the core, we like to think that we have this kind of Christianity. This is part of what’s been so convicting for me because the reality is that Christ has full reign over the things in my life that I have been comfortable giving Him, as opposed to having full reign over everything. And we see this: our lives, our passions, our dreams, our lives, children, father, brother, sister, all of these things we give up. What about our houses? What about our cars? Do we give up everything? What about all our clothes? What about our TV’s? What about our i-Phones? All the stuff we inundate our lives with? Do we give up everything? Do we say, “Everything’s yours?”
Yours to use for the sake of the lost? Yours to use, my investments, my checking account, yours to use for the sake of the poor? All of it, Yours to use for the sake of Your glory, whatever way you deem best. It’s all yours. Can you say that?
> This changes our possessions
This changes our possessions. Radically changes our possessions when we give up everything. I want you to turn with me to Hebrews 10:32. You’ve got to see this; I want us to ask Hebrews to help us understand Luke 14. Ask the people of God of the New Testament: How does this look like in our lives? Listen to these folks in Hebrews Chapter 10 and 11. Remember Hebrews is written to a group of people, Christians at a time when it was not popular to be a Christian. Persecution was definitely a reality and the author says in Hebrews 10:32 “remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution, but other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated”. Listen to verse 34, “You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew yourselves that you had better and lasting possessions”.
You joyfully accepted all your stuff being gone. How do you do that? Because you knew you had better and lasting possessions. Very different outlook on possessions in Hebrew 10. You even go over to Hebrews 11:13”All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised. They only saw and welcomed them from a distance and they admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking about the country they had left they would have opportunity to return instead they were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God for He has prepared a city for them”.
What an incredible picture. God is not ashamed to be called their God because he prepared a city for them. These are the people who are looking for another city. Looking for another country, aliens and strangers here. They knew there was something better out there, and so they joyfully accepted all their stuff being gone here, but they knew there was something better coming.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are inundated with stuff, we know this and we live in a city that says, “The more stuff, the better”. But, Jesus did not call us to live Birmingham style Christianity. A city of have’s and have nots, where church buildings scatter the landscape of the have’s.
Jesus, I’m convinced is most clearly, in Luke 14 and in His word in Hebrews 11, is most clearly calling us to renounce Birmingham Christianity and to embrace biblical Christianity. Now, some would think, “That doesn’t seem you love Birmingham”. Isn’t this what Birmingham needs to see? A people of God who think He’s greater than our stuff. Isn’t this what people need to see? Their lives are at stake for eternity! Isn’t this what they need to see? That stuff doesn’t satisfy?