Not progressing in his Christian faith

I know a guy who has been going to our church for 11 years now. He’s a decent guy I guess, but there just doesn’t seem to be anything happening in his Christian life.

He shows up at church just about every Sunday and even manages to come to almost every Bible study and pastor’s class. He receives the Sacrament of the Altar regularly. But I haven’t noticed too much change in him over the course of the years.

He asks questions and makes remarks that hint that he knows what the Christian faith is all about, but then he goes on home and pretty much falls right back into his usual pattern of living.

He still spends much too much time on the computer (blogging and what not), and watches too much T.V. (sports and Andy Griffith re-runs). All the while he could be out looking to spread the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He hardly spends any time at all at the nursing homes, or the hospitals and rarely (ok… never) invites the homeless into his home for meals and so they can clean up a bit, and so he can share Christ with them.

He will go out to the grocery store, or to Wal Mart, or to the Del Taco and not utter one word about Jesus Christ to anyone. I mean hardly ever…at all.

He trys to help his family and friends a bit, but everyone does that…there is nothing Christian in that.

Does he not hear the exhortations of the pastor? Does he not hear the clear teaching of scripture about what he ought be doing as a Christian? I know that he hears them. He is sitting right there in church when the words are said.

If someone were to follow this guy around from right after church on Sunday to right before church the next Sunday, they might have a hard time guessing what religion the guy was outside of the occasional prayer here and there, and the stuff he does blogging.

What’s the solution? Is it to try harder? Is it to take the law more seriously? Is it to listen more intently for the voice of the Holy Spirit? Maybe he needs to re-commit his life to Christ, or just do it (seriously) for the 1st time. Maybe he ought throw out the T.V. and the computer? Maybe he ought get directions to some of the local nursing homes and homeless shelters?

I know this guy pretty well, and I’m not sure what I should tell him.

Any suggestions?

Are there people like this in your church, as well?  

Advertisements

68 Responses

  1. Steve…..It’s not fair that you write a post about personal information I shared with you!!!!

    “What is needed is something that cannot be explained in human terms. What is needed is something that is so striking and so signal that it will arrest the attention of the whole world. That is revival.

    Now we of ourselves can never do anything like that. We can do a great deal, and we should do all we can. We can preach the truth, we can defend it, we can indulge in our apologetics, we can organize our campaigns, we can try to present a great front to the world. But you know, it does not impress the world. It leaves the world where it was. The need is for something which will be so overwhelming, so divine, so unusual that it will arrest the attention of the world . . . .

    ‘Authenticate thy word. Lord God, let it be known, let it be known beyond a doubt, that we are thy people. Shake us!’ I do not ask him to shake the building, but I ask him to shake us. I ask him to do something that is so amazing, so astounding, so divine, that the whole world shall be compelled to look on and say, ‘What is this?’ as they said on the day of Pentecost.”

    Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Revival, pages 183-185.

  2. Thanks for the autobiography Steve!

    Yeah he’s a dud alright… just like a guy I know.

    Yet, he is saved by grace and reflecting the love of Christ in ways unknown to him. He has a voice in the choir that gives it a nice touch.

  3. “Are there people like this in your church, as well? ”

    Of course!

    They are the goats among the sheep.

    They are the foolish virgins among the wise.

    They are the tare among the wheat.

    They are the bad fish mixed in with the good fish.

    They are the false converts who are seated with the saved.

    Suggestions?

    I don’t know – His heart is hard toward the law and the Gospel. This person needs a convicting work of the Holy Spirit before he hears the words, “I never knew you”.

    Continue to witness to him and pray hard for him that God will prick that conscience and that he will be moved towards true repentance and faith in Christ.

  4. (I think I hooked one)

  5. I think we should start a “non-progressing” Christians club.

    I vote myself into the club, since my first (and usually only) mission field consists of my seven year old daughter – the one prone to wiping her boogers on my clothes.

  6. I think you should tell him to try the Baptist church down the street… perhaps they’ve got a program that will straighten him out. 😉

  7. Good idea, E,C.! Count me in the club.

    Your daughter was only trying to help strengthen your relationship with Jesus, by wiping those things on you.

    Read all about it here:
    http://elephantschild.typepad.com/the_elephants_child/2009/08/children-a-heritage-of-the-lord.html

  8. Alden,

    No doubt that they do!

    I have many friends involved in those programs and they are moving right along. Onward and upward.

  9. Patrick,

    Your dud and my dud ought to get together and have lunch one day…and discuss their dudliness.
    Duds of a feather…

  10. Ike,

    Sorry, Ike! I had forgotten about the deal we made!

    We do need revival, Ike. I need it everyday, and the church needs it too. As the Lord will give His Church what it needs, He will surely give it to me as well.

    His Word shook me up pretty good this Sunday.

    (at least for a little while)

  11. I know you guys are on to me.

    What did Nathan say to David?

  12. Kim, on August 10th, 2009 at 4:31 pm Said: Edit Comment

    I’ll join your club, too!

    Reply

    (I moved your comment down here, too, Kim. – steve)

  13. Welcome aboard, Kim!!

  14. “If someone were to follow this guy around from right after church on Sunday to right before church the next Sunday, they might have a hard time guessing what religion the guy was outside of the occasional prayer here and there………”

    If the world can’t even tell if someone is a Christian…….Houston, we have have a problem!

  15. Wayne,

    You might be right, Wayne.

    But what about all of us who do not do all those things that Jesus told us to do, like visiting the prisoners in jails and visiting the sick, and feeding the poor, and divesting ourselves of all our possessions?

    The world may not know that Jesus wants us to do these things…but if we read the Bible…we know it.

  16. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

    “By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.”

  17. And. “the wheat and the tares grow together”

    And, “what I should do, I do not…and what I shouldn’t do, I do.” (St. Paul)

    The Reformers worked out the doctrinre of fully saint, and yet fully sinner. (This drove the Catholic Church absolutely nuts!)

    So we are declared totally righteous by Christ for His sake (what He has done for us), and yet we are fully guilty, and our old sinful nature stays with us until death.

    We might, by God’s grace, shake ceratin sinful activities, but others linger on, or new ones take their place.

    So we live in this dichotomy of saint and sinner, knowing that our sin will not be held against us for Jesus’ sake, and that the real truth about us is that in Christ we have the entire inheritance, in spite of what we can see going on in the here and now.

  18. You made some statements (in the original posting) that should concern any proffesing Christian.

    “He’s a decent guy I guess, but there just doesn’t seem to be anything happening in his Christian life.”

    “But I haven’t noticed too much change in him over the course of the years.”

    “… not utter one word about Jesus Christ to anyone. I mean hardly ever…at all.”

    “…..they might have a hard time guessing what religion the guy was….”

    The world should know we are Christians. We should set apart….in the world but not of it.

    I’m not talking about legalism….I’m talking about a faith that has changed our lives and impacted us so much that we shout it from the rooftops. We declare it to the world.

    I’m talking about fruit that flows from us not because we have too, but because He causes it to bloom and bring forth for His glory!

    This is why Paul tells us in 2 Cor 13 to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith; test ourselves.

    Maybe we have a different view of what a Christian should look like.

    I’m not perfect……but I’m growing in holiness. I long to study His word. I HAVE to tell others about Him or I will go nuts trying to hold it in.

    Do I have a ways to go…..absolutely. I WANT to be more discliplined in prayer. I want to go even deeper in His word. I want to talk to even more people about Christ.

    How much do we love Him and what He has done for us?

    Maybe I have the wrong view here of holiness and how the Holy spirit works in a believer.

    I’ve always heard the definition of a Jesus Freak is someone who loves Jesus just a little more than you do.

    I know some Jesus Freaks.

  19. I know this guy pretty well, and I’m not sure what I should tell him.

    Giving away all of your earthly possessions and making yourself available for martyrdom would probably be more effective than “telling him” anything. 🙂

  20. And, “what I should do, I do not…and what I shouldn’t do, I do.” (St. Paul)

    Sure – we all sin. No argument there…..

    But is there a difference between occasional stumbling sin and an apathetic ‘Christian life?

    I think there is a huge difference.

    No one could ever accuse Paul of being apathetic in his walk with Christ.

    Paul was wide open and sometimes sinned. Now there is a Jesus Freak.

  21. There is a difference between stumbling and sinning and living in it, giving yourself over to it.

    Since none of us are good stewards of the gifts that God has given us, and since we are all derelict in our Christian duties, what then is the answer?

  22. “If the world can’t even tell if someone is a Christian…….Houston, we have have a problem!”

    But…. but… I thought God judges the heart, not our outward appearance! 🙂

  23. Joshua Allen,

    That’s it. You have convinced me. I will sell all my baseball cards, and my stamp collection and my computer…and fly ovet to Iran and tell those paper-hanging so and so’s that their stinking religion is of the devil!

    You guys carry on, I’ll see you at the Wedding Feast!

  24. “But…. but… I thought God judges the heart, not our outward appearance! ”

    Now you are getting technical, E.C.! 😀

  25. Steve, if you go to Iran and tell ’em off, you’ll get to the Wedding Feast a lot sooner than any of us!

  26. Yeah…that’s right, E.C..

    Far be it from me to want to edge you guys out on anything. I’ll wait my turn…it’s the Christian thing to do.

  27. All this hand wringing over our neighbor’s lack of a sufficiently fired up Christian life skates dangerously close to the edge pronouncing judgment…all denials notwithstanding. In over thirty years of pastoral ministry I have yet to meet anyone – myself included – who is not in some way derelict in their Christian life.

    What distinguishes the Christian is the confession of Christ as Lord, not the works they do. The old campfire song, ‘They’ll know we are Christians by our love’ was well meaning but wrong. What people will know by our demonstrations of love is that we are loving. Acts of love do not mystically communicate the gospel. In fact, there are no Christian works, anyway, short of the work of confessing and believing in Christ.

    • I thought the song, “They will know we are Christians by our love” was just adapted from what Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
      How could that be well meaning but wrong exactly?

  28. Who was it…Ravenhill maybe……who said, “If Jesus were preaching the same message today as some of these preachers on TV, He would have never been crucified.”

    It seems that’s what we have today, huh? A gospel that never changes a life is no gospel at all, is it?

  29. “In over thirty years of pastoral ministry I have yet to meet anyone – myself included – who is not in some way derelict in their Christian life.”

    No argument there at all……but that was not the type of person that was described in the original posting.

  30. I beg to differ.

  31. “All this hand wringing over our neighbor’s lack of a sufficiently fired up Christian life skates dangerously close to the edge pronouncing judgment…”

    Yep, and thankfully we’re called to do just that, as long as it is with a good dose of humility. See Matthew 7 for more on this…

    “What distinguishes the Christian is the confession of Christ as Lord, not the works they do. The old campfire song, ‘They’ll know we are Christians by our love’ was well meaning but wrong. What people will know by our demonstrations of love is that we are loving. Acts of love do not mystically communicate the gospel. In fact, there are no Christian works, anyway, short of the work of confessing and believing in Christ.”

    That’s not entirely true, as Jesus in Matthew 5 indicated: “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”

    Now, if your “good works” don’t include a profession of Christ, then they are null and void since they don’t bring glory to God. But clearly Jesus thought that there were good deeds that would show that we are His people. The good deeds prove God’s promise true that He offers not just an eternal life of blissful glory (which is impossible to “prove” anyway), but an abundant life in the here and now. That was the point of His miracles… to bring glory to God and to prove that He had the power to save people spiritually just as He did physically.

  32. The person described in the original post (me) is quite derelict indeed.

    Not in every way, …but enough to realize that my sins, in thought word and deed, by what I have done, and by what I have failed to do, are a poor response to the love and forgiveness that I have received in Christ Jesus.

    So what do I do? I cling to the foot of the cross and ask Him to be merciful to me, a sinner. Then I get up and live, to the best of my ability…or not (I am derelict after all) and know that my Lord loves me enough to take me back again after.

  33. “So what do I do? I cling to the foot of the cross and ask Him to be merciful to me, a sinner. Then I get up and live, to the best of my ability…or not (I am derelict after all) and know that my Lord loves me enough to take me back again after.”

    Amen to that.

  34. Some of these comments were stuck in moderation (for whatever reason, I do not know why)…

    so they are a bit out of order.

    If you’d like me to move them, let me know and I will.

    Otherwise, realize that a comment right after yours may not be in response to you, necessarily.

    Sorry about that.

  35. The description of the person in the original post, whomever it may be, sounded extremely apathetic…..not derelict.

    I would argue that the derelict falls down occasionally and gets back.

    The description of the person in the post sounds like they could care less about their Christianity and is resting on the laurels of a mouthed profession of belief.

    Anybody can believe…….ask the demons.

  36. I am not judging anyone’s salvation. Paul says we must do that ourselves…..2 Cor 12

  37. I too, would not judge someone’s heart just because they do not go and regularly visit prisoners in the jail systems, or the elderly in nursing homes. I would also not judge anyone’s heart because they refuse to do what Jesus said to do and give away all their possessions.

    Some people believe that they are off the hook on those matters because they are on the church council, or because hold bible studies in their homes, or because they hand out tracts.

    Not so.

    Jesus told us what he expects from us and to willfully not do those things is an expression of idolatry.

  38. But hey! He came for sinners! He loves sinners!

    I qualify…big time!

  39. “because they refuse to do what Jesus said to do and give away all their possessions.”

    Hmm, He didn’t tell all of His followers to do this… just the rich guy because He knew that the man valued them too much. Whatever is your idol, THAT is what God demands you give away.

  40. Luke 14:33 is one that most Christians just assume skip over.

    It is a tough one.

  41. I’ve got to leave for about 8 hours.

    But feel free to continue without me.

  42. It all hinges on what one thinks Jesus meant by “give up.” Obviously, based on what we read in the rest of the New Testament, He didn’t mean give away every single last possession (unless we take the view that Paul and the churches he planted were wrong).

  43. There is an interesting story in Genesis about Jacob building his flock from the stock of Laban…

    Genesis 30:37-43 (Amplified Bible)

    37But Jacob took fresh rods of poplar and almond and plane trees and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white in the rods.

    38Then he set the rods which he had peeled in front of the flocks in the watering troughs where the flocks came to drink. And since they bred and conceived when they came to drink,

    39The flocks bred and conceived in sight of the rods and brought forth lambs and kids streaked, speckled, and spotted.

    40Jacob separated the lambs, and [as he had done with the peeled rods] he also set the faces of the flocks toward the streaked and all the dark in the [new] flock of Laban; and he put his own droves by themselves and did not let them breed with Laban’s flock.

    41And whenever the stronger animals were breeding, Jacob laid the rods in the watering troughs before the eyes of the flock, that they might breed and conceive among the rods.

    42But when the sheep and goats were feeble, he omitted putting the rods there; so the feebler animals were Laban’s and the stronger Jacob’s.

    43Thus the man increased and became exceedingly rich, and had many sheep and goats, and maidservants, menservants, camels, and donkeys.

    And we find a similar thought in the NT:

    2 Corinthians 3:18 (Amplified Bible)

    18And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.

    That being said…our hero does well to attend church often and receive the sacraments….

  44. That guy should realize that we are all wretched sinners completely unable to merit and entirely undeserving of God’s favor.

    That guy should realize that just as our justification depends entirely on Christ alone, so also does our sanctification. He is the Vine, we are just in-grafted branches.

    That guy should know without a doubt that his sins are forgiven.

    That guy should know that all work done in faith serves God, including providing for one’s family.

    Even blogging.

    • He “should,” and as long as he claims he is a Christian, we “should” give him the benefit of the doubt. (8th commandment). That he goes to church and Bible study, receives the Promises of God in Word and Sacrament IS (in large part) the good works. I mean, just look at the guy’s blog here!

      Don’t remember the exact phrasing, but in Mere Chrisitanity, C.S.Lewis says something to the effect that you have to compare the man now with the man that used to be, not with our idea of what ought to be. Not one of us knows the minute and intricate details of anyone’s past or present. I know, I cannot even understand my own. Speaking for myself, I only know that I put my trust in Christ.

      I am surrounded by non-Christians who are much more generous with their time and talents than I am. But I am more generous than I used to be…… maybe, but then again, maybe I am being too proud about “my” progress in “my” walk with Lord.

      Matt 5: 16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”

      Don’t you think we sometimes but the emPHAsise on the wrong sylLAble? Why are we so worried about “our” good works? They are done to point others to Christ, are they not? We don’t do them to draw attention to ourselves, do we?

      And, afterall, WHOSE works are these actually? If a Christian is dead to himself and alive to Christ, isn’t it really Christ that is working in/through him? The Holy Spirit works in ways that we may never see sometimes.

      I’m sure you can think of times when someone came up to you and said something about how much you helped them, and you didn’t even realize that you had done anything for them at all. It would be good if we could then witness to them, giving praise and credit to God.

      There was a man I once knew at church, kind of loud and obnoxious. Always there to joke with the ladies. Some said he was progressing in his Christian life. Last year when I visited that congregation, a lady I never met came up to me. She literally grabbed me, hugs and tears. I had to ask her who she was. One of the daughters of that man that people deemed not growing. She was so happy to see me. Said she still remembered me in her prayers, because her dad had me on his prayer list that nobody knew about. She found it when he had died.

      Who knew?

  45. I just got a wake up call from The spirit that I am that guy, hurts when you are the Pastor.

  46. I think that the more the Holy Spirit is working in your life to convict you of sin, then there will be less and less of “I’m progressing so wonderfully in my Christian life” and more and more of “O wretched man that I am!” and “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” And, “nothing good lives in me.”

    When other people look at us, they probably see us progressing in our Christian life more than we ourselves do, for this reason.

    And how does anyone know how God will use someone to further His kingdom? There are all sorts of different people whom God can use in many different ways. He doesn’t just use the articulate and outgoing people.

    I think revisiting the Lutheran view of vocation would be helpful in this discussion as well. Not everyone is called to give up everything for the poor. St. Paul exhorts us to live a quiet life and work with our hands. We are to obey those whom God has put over us. We are to serve our neighbor in love. This is what we “ought to be doing as a Christian.” The Christian life is not necessarily one of extraordinary works.

    As a baptist evangelical I used to think my earthly job was a chore. I could be doing something useful for the kingdom of God rather than working in a laboratory. But when I heard the Lutheran view of vocation, this changed. I began to see my job as something God had called me to, to serve the people I am working with and the people who are receiving the products our company manufactures. It is my Christian duty to be a good employee. This does not preclude me from speaking about Christ if that is where the conversation leads, but it frees me from trying to manipulate conversations to let everyone know I’m a Christian.

  47. Let me tell you another story that is true as well:

    I know a guy, a bunch of guys and gals for that matter, who have been going to church for many years now. They have great testimonies that say, “I use to be and do X, but the Lord took that away from me”, and all sorts of things seem to be happening in their Christian life.

    Why they have been rebaptized some 2 or 3 times. They wore the rugs out rededicating themselves, giving all their hearts, re-praying the prayer of salvation. They never go to movies or come near a beer as it could hurt their witness. So sanctified these are they’ve even taken pagan cuss words and exchanged them for more acceptable “Christian cuss words” like crap or dang. Oh, and their missions and door to door “evangelism” is par excellent, the only people as busy as they are – are the Mormons and JWs. A man’s domicile might be blessed to be disturbed three times in one day by them and the Mormons and JWs!

    They are very busy in the church yard and setting up external bible studies outside of the church. The gates of hell may not prevail against the church, but the house bible studies, now THAT, is where the real action is and real Christians go. Sacraments, hush your mouth, there are no such gifts from heaven, who needs them when one can be working much harder than that. Busy, busy, busy are these little bees. Clean and shiny as Mormons, work, work, work. They say with their mouths, “justification by faith alone” and with all their lives and action heretofore mentioned scream, “Christ is not nearly enough”.

    The milk maid milking the cow singing a tune, the father changing a foul diaper bears witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while the above and their like not only do not bear witness to the Gospel, but rather show against it with every fiber of their being.

    I have had family member drunks bear more witness to Christ alone because that’s ALL the hope they really and truly had looking at their lives, while poly pure breads and clean up crew “Christians” did nothing but obscure Christ for their own stinking to high heaven pretend humility self righteousness.

    Larry

  48. Note before reading: This below cannot be rightly understood in the OSAS paradigm and will be wrongly understood within it. By the way Dawn nails it.

    “To be sure, we see God’s glory in his might acts. So do the heathen and they go off to damnation, worshipping the might and hoping to make personal use of it. Certainly God is glorified in the works of Christians, which follow faith. But we rightly offer these to him in humble thanksgiving ONLY AFTER we have been found and claimed and saved by him in his lowly message of the cross in the gospel. We understand, first of all, that sin and guilt belong to us alone. All the good that we do comes from God and is the fruit of his pardon and grace. Then God alone is glorified, worshipped, and adored, as is fitting. Anything else is self worship, robbing God, delighting in evil.

    Yes, and just as important, only when we get this right will we have true and real peace with God and with our own condemning conscience. For as long as we trust in the visible, in the outward, in the works, we have only reasons for doubt and despair. For our works are never finished. They are never perfect. They are never enough. What is finished? What is perfect? What is enough? CHRIST ON THE CROSS! There he did it all. There he even said it all, when he declared it in triumph for us: IT IS FINISHED! He was not merely speaking of his life. He was speaking of all that he came to do for us and for our salvation. That is all done; it is all hidden in the cross. It is all perfect; it is all revealed and given only in the lowliness of the gospel.

    Luther expressed these same thoughts in a beautiful summary in the Smalcald Articles 1537. There he puts it this way when speaking of genuine repentance:

    “This repentance is not fragmentary or PALTRY-like the kind that does penance for actual sins-nor is it uncertain like that kind. It does not debate over what is a sin or what is not a sin. Instead, it simply lumps EVERYTHING together and says, “Everything is pure sin with us. What would we want to spend so much time investigating, dissecting, or distinguishing? Therefore, here as well, contrition is not uncertain, because there remains nothing that we might consider a “good” with which to pay for sin. Rather, there is plain certain despair concerning all that we are, think or do, etc.

    Similarly, such confession also cannot be false, uncertain, or fragmentary. All who confess that everything is pure sin with them embrace all sins, allow no exceptions, and do not forget a single one. Thus, satisfaction can never be uncertain either. For it consists not in our uncertain, sinful works but rather in the suffering and blood of the innocent “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world””

    –Excerpt “The Theology of The Cross”, Dr. Daniel Deutschlander

  49. Yes, Larry … it all seems to be about the outward appearance for pietists. They feel that they can look at a person’s life from the outside and determine whether or not a person is a “true Christian” or has “really repented.” I am not talking about blatantly unrepentant sinners here. I am talking about ordinary people who may not fit the pietistic definition of “true Christian” or “truly repentant” or “godly person.”

    I used to judge people in my heart all the time by these standards. I still struggle with this because it was ingrained in me from childhood.

    It’s like you said, Larry – work, work, work. Work not for your salvation, but to prove that you are a “true Christian,” that you “really repented.” Work to show people what a godly Christian you are. It’s like a tree working and struggling and striving to bear fruit.

    • Yep, that would be the thorn tree trying to be an apple tree…it never works. People really don’t want the cross because it does mean utter death of the “doer” and that frankly scares the hell out of the old adam. He simply cannot let go it seems so wrong he’s such a religious doer and thus he reads the Scriptures that way. For him to let go and nakedly trust means by definition the doer must be crucified and the naked truster arises – hence the Gospel calls us into being.

      It is a constant battle within and about us. Everyday the flesh, devil, world and that which parades itself around as the church and sound doctrine utterly wars against the pure Word of Grace with a falsified “law”.

      The best way Luther put it was this: The Law serves the Gospel not vice versa. Now, the OLD man never gets that. In fact its utterly incomprehensible to him. As is what Forde once said, “God may cause a man to do NO good works, so that He may save his soul”. That is an utterly alien language to the old man, so alien there is NO comprehensive middle ground whereby the old man can graps or understand it, nor receive it.

      Yours,

      Larry

  50. Wow… you guys are good!

    Thanks!

  51. Sure, they’re everywhere. I’m reminded of the ones of whom Jesus said, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity! I never knew you!” They even appeared to be non-duds. As has been pointed out, we’re promised tares among wheat and so on, so expect them.

    There ARE, however, another bunch. They are genuine believers, but they only muddle about. This group (I won’t guess how big … or small) suffers from a different malady — the church. Christians are commanded to MAKE DISCIPLES, and we prefer to make converts. Christians are commanded to teach them all that Jesus commanded, and we prefer to just tell them a little. Christianity is designed as a “walk alongside and bring your brother along” system, and we prefer to huddle with a couple of friends (if that) and leave that whole discipling thing to someone else. The problem, then, for this particular group … is we who fail to follow the command to make disciples.
    (Note: As any teacher will tell you, when you do things like teach or disciple, it has a large impact on your own life. “I’m not mature enough” isn’t listed in the command to make disciples — “Make disciples … after you reach maturity.”)

  52. “Christians are commanded to MAKE DISCIPLES, and we prefer to make converts.”

    So true. I’d venture to say that there would be a lot less thorny or rocky soil (Matt. 13) if we made more disciples (leaving aside, of course, that God prepares the soil). My church is doing a bunch of men’s and women’s discipleship groups… I’m very excited to see the fruit it bears in the coming years within the church body and the surrounding community. We need more than just Billy Graham crusades!

  53. I think that when the Lord commanded us to “make disciples” He then told us how to do it. Baptize and teach.

    So He is the One who really makes disciples, we are the poor means that he uses.

    If we baptize and teach about what HE HAS DONE FOR US…. He will be there, in it all, doing what He purposes, for whom He purposes it for.

  54. looks like the holy ghost is gone…

  55. (I’m moving this down to the bottom because comments might not be seen in those mini-threads if one isn’t subscribed.)

    Jeofurry wrote:

    “I thought the song, “They will know we are Christians by our love” was just adapted from what Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
    How could that be well meaning but wrong exactly?”

    I think Jesus is saying that one’s actions toward other believers should match one’s profession of faith – not so much that someone would see complete strangers acting loving toward one another and say, “Those people must be Christians because they love one another.” People can be moral and loving but not Christian. I know non-Christians who are very moral, loving and kind people. It shocked me to discover this while I was still an evangelical because my moral lifestyle was considered so much a part of my “witness”. The difference between the believer and the unbeliever is not so much that the believer is so much more outwardly moral than the unbeliever, or that the believer does so many more extraordinary works, but that the believer, by definition, has faith. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

    Of course, even Christians fall short of loving like they should. That’s why we all need the forgiveness of sins. Most religions in the world are about morality in one way or another, but what makes Christianity different is repentance and the forgiveness of sins. The emphasis should not be on the Law, but on the Gospel. Good works flow from that, not from efforts to be moral.

  56. None of the good stuff above withstanding, we have no reason not to spur each other on to do something for needy people.

    Several years ago, I was involved with Pregnancy Crisis peer counseling. And the training tapes I was listening to were created by a woman who also ran a home where pregnant moms learned to live orderly lives, cook pasta and simple housekeeping skills, etc. One of her sentences has always stuck in my mind: “What have you done for the poor?” I think we are– ok –to ask ourselves that once in a while, not in a “am I really a Christian” kind of way.

    The other day, we commemorated St. Laurence, the deacon and martyr. What did he say: the treasure of the church are the poor that had been helped. (I don’t think he just meant by the saving gospel).

    Pastor Harris does a good job on his blog combining all this with a proper theology.

    What about Steve and his blogging? Is he not helping the “poor”? — He tries to help me. 🙂

    And what about love in the church. Do we not have the most profound and honest love, and without expecting any return, and for the widest spectrum of people, and for more people than our own little nucleus and clan? I’d say I have come across it often enough to believe it.

    But this can’t be pounded into people. It’s the Lord among us with his grace.

  57. “to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness . . .” (Romans 4:5).

    • Man I love that verse….

      This guy sounds like he is living out his vocation, is right where he needs to be and doing what he needs to be doing.

      another verse I love

      1 Thessalonians 4:11
      Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you,

      But alex, that doesn’t sound really like your living a super duper spirit lead life, you need to get out there and do stuff…..

  58. An extra loud AMEN, Amillennialist !!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: