Monday, April 27, 2015

John 2:23-25 comments: shallow Christianity

    23 ¶  Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. 24  But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, 25  And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

The Jews in Jerusalem who began to believe on Jesus at that time did so because of miracles they saw. It is natural for the human being to be drawn to unnatural events to confirm an emotional but shallow belief. In conservative, evangelical Christianity we have a great many “Super Bowl Christians” who live from one emotional high to another without any spiritual power on their lives in between. They must have the revival meeting where passions are high, manipulated by a good speaker, like the Greek Sophist of old, and then as their passion wanes they seek another meeting to get recharged. They have little connection with Christ through His words when they are alone or with their family. As there is no real fruit of the Spirit shining in them when they are not at church they often do not keep their children in the faith as the signs of hypocrisy and paranoia drive them away as soon as they are old enough to think for themselves.

Verses 24 and 25 show us that Jesus put no trust in these new converts because He knew how people are. The shallow conversion based on something that caught someone’s attention like a laser pointer dancing on the wall attracts a cat doesn’t have much meaning. This is why the vast majority of people who recite the 1-2-3 repeat after me prayer for salvation during a fundamentalist church invitation are never seen again. Their conversion experience, if there really was one, was based on something, an emotional reaction, which just doesn’t last. Jesus knew these people who had heard Him preach and seen Him do miracles would evaporate like the morning mist or even turn on Him given the right motivation.

For us in this time of grace, between Christ’s resurrection and His return to call out His church from the earth, we have Christ in written form, the Bible. The Bible is the principal way that God speaks to His people. You can’t trust your conscience as that can be seared (1Timothy 4:2). Much of the time when someone says that God has laid something on their heart it is really what they want and they use God as a justification. Often again, someone says that God spoke to them when there never was any conversation except between their reason and their emotions. We know nothing unless what we feel or believe has been laid on our heart lines up with a literal application of Scripture. I say literal because any other application can be very subjective and twisted by your own will, rejecting God’s call.

If you do not permit God to speak to you every day by His words in His Bible, not merely as a book of counsel or a religious version of Emily Post’s book of Etiquette where you get your instructions for behavior, but the God who created you actually speaking to your heart and changing your life, then you are in grave danger as a Christian. You will be drawn to emotional sermon/speeches that make you cry or make you angry, or political affiliations that confirm your prejudices and bigotry, and away from the sure word of prophecy in God’s Book. Christianity is not a political religion. Satan is the god of this world’s governments, education, sports, and other entertainment. Christianity is not a shot of caffeine where occasionally you need a pick-me-up to get you through the day. Christianity is a workman’s religion where each and every day you pick up your Bible and have a conversation with your Creator through prayer, you speaking to Him, and plain and simple Bible reading, where He speaks to you. Then, at regular intervals, preferably weekly at least, you gather together with other believers to worship (not impress, not seek to be indoctrinated or brainwashed) as the body of Christ, the church.

Then, as you submit to God’s sovereignty and authority in your life and the fruit or proof of the Spirit’s indwelling of you comes out of your every interaction with the world, God draws people to Him through you and you draw people to Him through His word. It’s not rocket science and it’s not easily manipulated by a demagogue or a charlatan if your eyes and mind are in the Bible every day to a great extent letting the Word speak to you through His words.

Joshua gave great instructions to the Israelites with a promise to them of great success if they heeded his advice. Although the promises to them were somewhat different than the promises to us with regard to temporal success on this earth the principle is the same.

Joshua 1:8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Christ knows what is in the heart of man. Let His words be in your heart (Psalm 119:11).

John 12:48  He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

John 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Hebrews 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Do not be a shallow Christian. Don’t wade in God’s word. Swim in it. Take it in deeply every day. Let it be your food and your air and the medium in which you live and walk. Let God change your life and your life’s circumstances by speaking to you through it.

No comments: