Friday, March 16, 2007
I posted a note a few days ago from a sermon given by Leonard Ravenhill. I have not been able to stop thinking about how much substance is in the following quote:
Oh, I've heard people say, "Oh, I've tried Christianity, but it doesn't work."
Well, I tell them something else: it never will, either.
"Well, don't you preach it?"
"No, I don't preach Christianity... I preach Christ."
Back when Paul and Peter were preaching the gospel, they did not have the letters that Paul, Peter, and the rest of the Apostles wrote because they are the ones who wrote them. If you look at much of the professing Christianity today, much of what is said is, "Oh, I'm a Christian. Well, because I go to such-and-such church." or "Oh, I'm a Christian because I tithe." or "I've been baptized." or "Because I'm a "good" person." Many today preach the Bible, or they preach the church or denomination, but ask yourself this with your conscience: Who is really preaching Jesus Christ risen from the dead?
I believe the reason that there is so much of a spiritual slacking now is because many have started preaching Christianity... and not Christ. Go read what Jesus has said in the New Testament. I have taken it to professing Christians and found that they don't believe it. In essense, they believe that their Christianity takes the place of believing in Christ. For example, Jesus says to worship the Lord and serve only him. He later goes on to say that no man can serve two masters. You can't serve God and money (wealth). Then he says therefore to take no thought for your life, what you'll drink or what you'll eat neither for your body what you'll put on. Also, take no thought for tomorrow. Well, you tell this to a professing Christian and they go batty! "What do you mean take no thought for the morrow? What about clothes? I've got to wear my new Youth Group T-shirt! What about food? I'm supposed to go meet with some people from my church for BBQ! etc." When Jesus Christ is not in it, it is no different than a cult. Since Jesus is the truth, if people are having trouble with believing what he says, it must mean that there is no truth inside of them otherwise they would be at peace with a commandment from God. This is devastating. What is Christianity without Christ? It is works to make one feel good about themselves and is no different than self-righteousness. Christianity without Christ is just becoming a Pharisee with some memory verses and calling it "New Testament Religion". It is just justification by good works from the get-go with no room left for truth because everyone is too busy keeping up their Christianity and the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen is neglected. If the truth is not preached, everyone stays a slave to sin because there is certainly no repentance when one believes there is no need of any.
Well, it makes me sick. It is only when Jesus Christ who is come in the flesh is preached and not ourselves, our day to day monotonous lives, and blah, blah, blah... that anyone can grow spiritually. Otherwise, it's all a vain display of self-righteousness. Who cares about what speaker is coming to such-and-such an event? If they're annointed with the Holy Ghost, do you really have to advertise it? If they get up there and talk about themselves all night, I'd be better off being alone somewhere than spend the evening listening to their jest where Jesus Christ isn't even allowed the honor he deserves because there is no room left for Him in the professing of oneself. Why do many consider a missionary to be someone that goes off the coast of Africa to witness to some tribe next to a pack of lions? Paul was a missionary. He preached the gospel wherever he went, but the difference between Paul and professing Christianity is that he preached Christ, not himself. He didn't preach, "Oh, this is totally awesome. All these people got baptized at our church tonight. Can't wait to get back to the house so I can post it in the town's bulletin board about what MY CHURCH has done." or "Oh, my ministry is better than yours, Peter." Even when Peter was trying to force the Gentiles to behave as the Jews, Paul again preached Christ... NOT Chrstianity. He didn't say, "Now, Peter, did you not read your New Testament tonight and have your quiet time? That's not how it's done. Tsk, tsk." No, he rebuked Peter's lack of faith because he HAD Christ and preached that we are no longer under captivitiy to the law because Christ is risen. Ravenhill has said:
"I don't ask anyone if they're saved anymore: EVERYONE'S SAVED! From the White House to the out house. I say this facetiously, but I ask, "Does Christ live in you?" because if He doesn't, then you're not saved."
If Christ lives in a person, if the Holy Spirit who leads one into ALL truth lives inside of you, do you really think that you'll have to go up to someone and say, "Hey, are you a Christian? Well, buddy, let me tell you how to be saved." Are you serious? If the Holy Ghost lives inside you, you already know who believes in Jesus Christ risen from the dead and who is professing Christianity for their own self interest. It's only when we get away from professing Christianity and again start preaching Jesus Christ who is come in the flesh, been crucified, and has risen, that anyting will change for the glory of God and not the glory of man because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.