Selfish “Christianity” 69

June 26, 2017

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And when, in addition to these measures, the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions, as most of what I have heard has been, and some of it extremely well adapted to work up those feelings to a high pitch, it would be strange if some affections were not excited which they might readily mistake for true religion. When God is represented as desiring their salvation, without the least qualification, and that his desire for it is infinitely strong, what impenitent sinner, that has the least seriousness of mind, is not prepared to be pleased? If “sinners love those that love them,” as our Lord assures us, they can love such a being as God is represented to be, without any change of heart. A God of all mercy, is just such a God as sinners desire. Will it be said that his justice is also brought into view, and that the terrors of hell are exhibited? True; but in what light are they exhibited? Is it not commonly in a light to which the selfish heart will as readily accord? WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

If the Greatest Commandment is to love God with all of our being, then this should show how great the sin of selfishness is. How great is the sin of selfishness when we love self and do all for selfish motives rather than doing all out of love for Him and His glory. How great is the sin of wanting honor and glory for self rather than honor and glory for God. How wretched it is when “ministers” preach and “minister” out of love for self and seek their own glory in all they do and their sin is greatly heightened because they are trying to use God and the things of God for their own selfish purposes. How great is the sin of selfishness when those in the congregations of professing churches when they seek their own righteousness instead of submitting to the righteousness of God. How great is the sin of those who evangelize in order to boast of their methods and successes rather than seek the glory of God.

The Gospel itself must be preached and declared with God as the center of it and the glory of God as the end of it. The selfish heart will not do that and cannot do that. What we must learn to see is that when all of our “Christian” duties are done and God is not the true goal of it, our so-called duties are nothing more than idolatry since we did them for self. Behind this great wickedness of the professing “Church” is the sin of making the true God out to be a god we can please and a god under our own control. While this has been said, perhaps multiple times, it is a vitally important truth. Until a person comes to realize the true nature of selfishness and the utter wickedness of it, that person will not and cannot understand the heart of sin and the nature of his or her sin as against God.

The issue of selfish hearts as being the very heart of sin demands that this be preached on, taught on, and written on. This must be said with different angles in order to get this across as well as possible and as much as possible. How can a person really trust in Christ alone if a person is really trusting in self and Christ? Until God grants a particular person repentance from self that person will always trust self to some degree. It is not possible for a person to trust in Christ alone when a person is trusting in self to trust in Christ. True faith in Christ is not possible when a person has and degree of faith in self. It is impossible for a person to receive the Gospel by grace alone as long as the person is trusting in self to do something (the work of self to believe) apart from grace. If faith does not come from grace alone, then salvation is not by grace alone but is a work of self plus Christ and plus grace.

I fail to see how the Gospel can be preached while self is not mentioned or brought into the picture in some way. I fail to see how the Gospel of grace alone can be preached while men and women are not instructed about the way faith comes by the grace of God. I fail to see how the Gospel of grace alone can be preached without instructing men and women that they must be granted repentance from sin (the sin of selfishness) in order that they may have true faith in the true God. I fail to see how the Gospel of grace alone can be preached to people without teaching men and women that selfish hearts trust in self until God grants them the grace of repentance from self. I fail to see how the Gospel of grace alone can be preached apart from instructing men and women how to seek true conviction of sin (sin of self as the heart of sin), and then how they are to seek a true repentance from God. If every step of salvation is not from God and His grace, then some step or steps is the work of self. We cannot have a true Gospel of grace alone if we are not willing to deal with all the steps of salvation as being of grace alone.

In our day the Gospel has been greatly diluted (nicest way I can put it) by people adding works to it. They add the work of faith and the work of repentance. They tell people that if only they will believe God will save them. Others tell people that if they repent God will save them. Still others say that we must make Christ lord in order to be saved. However, those things are taught in such a way that it is self that does those things and makes God appear to save those who do something first. What must be stressed is that until God grants conviction of the sin of self and true repentance from self it is self doing religious things to be saved. Must people have true faith? Must people have true repentance? Must people have Christ as lord? Of course, but those things are the work of God by grace in salvation. We must never make those things into a work of self or we dilute the Gospel or we preach a different Gospel. I would argue that when people are not preaching and teaching that God breaks the hearts of those He is working true repentance and true faith in by grace that they are not preaching the true Gospel. The doctrine of selfishness is vital to understand if one is going to preach the Gospel of grace alone where God delivers His people from their sin.

Selfish “Christianity” 68

June 24, 2017

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And when, in addition to these measures, the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions, as most of what I have heard has been, and some of it extremely well adapted to work up those feelings to a high pitch, it would be strange if some affections were not excited which they might readily mistake for true religion. When God is represented as desiring their salvation, without the least qualification, and that his desire for it is infinitely strong, what impenitent sinner, that has the least seriousness of mind, is not prepared to be pleased? If “sinners love those that love them,” as our Lord assures us, they can love such a being as God is represented to be, without any change of heart. A God of all mercy, is just such a God as sinners desire. Will it be said that his justice is also brought into view, and that the terrors of hell are exhibited? True; but in what light are they exhibited? Is it not commonly in a light to which the selfish heart will as readily accord?

WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

What if someone contrived to cut one doctrine from the true Church and that one doctrine would change many other things or how other things were viewed. If that person made known what he was going to do, there would be a lot of opposition to him. What if a person decided to take the heart of the Gospel and remove it from the true churches? There would be a loud outcry. However, if this was done slowly and secretly so that people would not notice, there would be no outcry. If this happened over a long enough period, a new orthodoxy would come in and the old orthodoxy would be replaced with something that would have an outward appearance using the same words and yet the old truths would be gone. If this happened in the right way, the new orthodoxy would be arguing that it was the old orthodoxy and that the old orthodoxy (though not using that language) was something less than orthodox. I am arguing that this has happened in the professing Church. We are using the same old creeds and yet the old truths have been replaced.

While one may not be able to pinpoint all the doctrines and all the issues, it is clear that the sovereignty of God and the true nature of sin are under attack and perhaps have always been under attack. A version of Christianity that is not under the true sovereignty of God is not the same Christianity of the Bible. It is true that people are using the words and have differing ideas of it, but the truth of the concept appears to be way different than the concept described in the Bible and at the time of the Reformation. The concept of sovereignty is so vital that it changes our idea of God and of the Gospel. But of course the twin truth or the truth that runs parallel with sovereignty is the inability of man. While the depravity of man is talked about and the inability of man is mentioned (rarely), the total inability of man in the spiritual realm is not one that seems to be held in many places. When a person is serious about the inability of man, that person will see the selfishness of the human heart.

When the parallel truths of the selfishness of man (heart of man’s inability and descriptive of man’s depravity) and the sovereignty of God are removed from the true Church and as such the professing Church uses the words but the concepts are different, Christianity has changed. This was something that was understood in the Reformation, though the concept of selfishness was not as clearly set out by all as sovereignty was. The doctrine of justification by faith alone is not the same doctrine (far, far from it) when the sovereignty of grace is removed from it as a vital doctrine. The intent of justification by faith alone is to preserve and defend justification by sovereign grace alone. When we do not understand, teach, and defend the vital truth of the selfishness (true inability of man) of the human heart that absolutely must have the sovereign grace of God if it is to be saved, we are not propagating the truth of the heart of Christianity.

A selfish version of “Christianity” is precisely what is being taught today. A selfish version of “Christianity” is not biblical and is not Christianity. It takes away the total inability of man, the sovereignty of God, and thus the true God and the nature of true grace are cast out. It does not matter (in this sense) if this is done by professing Arminians or professing Calvinists, it is being done. It does not matter if this is done by professors at seminaries or Bible colleges or in Bible studies in the home, when the heart of Christianity is taken out it is no longer Christianity. A Gospel that has God and His sovereign grace at the center of it is not the same Gospel as those who do not teach a real sovereign grace though they use the same word. For some reason we will defend God against those who deny His holiness, yet we are squeamish when people deny His sovereignty. The truth of the matter, however, is that denying the sovereignty of God ends up in a denial of His holiness and true love as well.

The denial of the selfish heart of man (total inability) is not a small and insignificant thing. It is at the heart of the true nature of man and certainly at the heart of the true Gospel where the grace of God meets the sinfulness of man. When Calvinists (in name) in our day say that they are preaching the same Gospel as the Arminians, we can certainly agree. However, both are preaching an Arminian gospel if that is true. When sinners are encouraged to simply believe, we can know that the person is not preaching the Gospel of grace alone. It is God alone who can change a person’s heart and work the new birth in them. He will only do that by grace alone. It is God alone who can give dead sinners faith and so sinners should be encouraged to look to God for faith and all things. Sinners will either look to themselves or God for faith. One is in accordance with the doctrine of the inability of man and the sovereignty of the grace of the true God and one is in accordance with man as having some ability and of God as not being truly sovereign. It is not just left up to us to choose, it is declared by Scripture what is right. It does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who shows mercy as He pleases.

Selfish “Christianity” 67

June 22, 2017

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And when, in addition to these measures, the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions, as most of what I have heard has been, and some of it extremely well adapted to work up those feelings to a high pitch, it would be strange if some affections were not excited which they might readily mistake for true religion. When God is represented as desiring their salvation, without the least qualification, and that his desire for it is infinitely strong, what impenitent sinner, that has the least seriousness of mind, is not prepared to be pleased? If “sinners love those that love them,” as our Lord assures us, they can love such a being as God is represented to be, without any change of heart. A God of all mercy, is just such a God as sinners desire. Will it be said that his justice is also brought into view, and that the terrors of hell are exhibited? True; but in what light are they exhibited? Is it not commonly in a light to which the selfish heart will as readily accord?

WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

It is hard to overstate the dangers of ignoring or being ignorant of selfishness within the realm of professing Christianity. It is also hard to overstate the damage that has been done to the state of the professing Church and the state of theology because of ignoring the dangers of the reality of selfishness. This is not just another intellectual doctrine (as some state), but instead it is at the heart of the doctrine of depravity and inability and is where the sovereign of the grace of God meets the depravity and inability of man. This doctrine is also inseparable from instructing us of the true nature of repentance and also something of the true nature of faith. It is to our own peril that we ignore or diminish this teaching.

At the risk of sounding like I am overstating the case, the doctrine of the selfishness of sin and of the human heart is also at the heart of the meaning of Calvinism and the biblical Gospel. If we do not understand the true nature of the depravity and inability of man, then to that degree we will not understand the workings of grace in response to that. If the Gospel is just a little good news to people who are sinners, but perhaps still have some ability, then we will not understand the true nature of the Gospel. If we do not understand the true nature of the inability of man because of his selfishness, then we will not understand how to evangelize men. We will appeal to their selfish motives in an effort to get them to make a decision rather than show them that the greatest thing they can do in religion by their selfish motives is still sin. A “gospel” based on selfish motivations is simply not a true Gospel at all.

Sinners who are guided and dragged around by the selfish heart may easily make a profession of faith and may easily become leaders in the professing churches by their strong morality and the amount of knowledge they have. However, those people are still guided by and driven by a selfish heart. All of their religion is from a selfish heart which is a proud heart and a heart driven by self-love. We know that God resists the proud and we know that there is no true religion apart from the love of God. There can be no religion that is powered by selfish hearts with a doctrine of God that has been conceived from hearts that love self rather than God. A selfish “Christianity” (which appears to be the vast majority in our day) is not Christianity at all but is a false Christianity that is very deceptive.

The nature of the selfish heart is such that without it Calvinism becomes closer to Pelagianism than Calvinism. We can see this in our day when the evangelism of professing Calvinists is no different than that of the standard and garden variety of professing Christians. Now, of course, the professing Calvinists will say that they have better theology and so that is the difference. It may be better, but it may also be more deceptive because something that is close to the truth can be more deceptive as it is less obviously wrong. When the Calvinism of the day is closer to Pelagianism than Calvinism, we know that there is a serious problem. Selfish “Christianity” is not Christianity at all and is opposite of true Christianity.

I am quite sure this will sound quite nuts to many people (if they read it), but it is still quite true. There is a corresponding truth to the selfish heart that sets this out. The selfish heart will only have a god that is man-centered, but the true God is God-centered and does all according to His own pleasure and glory. The God-centered God is a vital truth to the Gospel and to the grace of the Gospel. The God-centered God is at the heart of the five sola’s of the Reformation and of the Bible. It is a God-centered God who does all for His own glory that is at the heart of for His glory alone. It is a God-centered God who does all for the sake of His glory in and through Christ that is at the heart of Christ alone. It is a God-centered God who does all for the sake of His glory and for the sake of Christ that is at the heart of Christ alone. Thus we can easily see that a God-centered God is the God of the Bible. The selfish heart cannot stand that and will change that (at least in practice and love) to a God that is focused in self.

The selfish heart, then, is incredibly dangerous and destructive to biblical Christianity. It can sound so orthodox, but the heart of orthodoxy is removed by the selfish heart and the selfish heart may be blind to what it is doing. The selfish heart will not stand to have a sovereign God in reality, though indeed it may have one in its doctrinal standards because a selfish heart longs to be orthodox. That is simply one way orthodoxy in creed can be twisted to become something far from orthodoxy. The selfish heart will always be on the throne of self with desires to be on the throne of the universe. The selfish heart will twist away at the nature of the true God until it becomes one that the selfish heart can live with while self remains on the throne. This appears to me what we have in the modern day. It is a version of “Christianity” that has orthodox language and yet is but a deceptive shell of what Christianity really is. The selfish heart has conformed “Christianity” to its selfish desires and no longer has the true God who is God-centered and opposes selfishness, but instead we now have selfish hearts on the throne and God is man-centered (they think). Beyond that, however, what we really have is a sovereign God who is turning men over to their sinful hearts and a false version of Christianity.

Selfish “Christianity” 66

June 20, 2017

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And when, in addition to these measures, the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions, as most of what I have heard has been, and some of it extremely well adapted to work up those feelings to a high pitch, it would be strange if some affections were not excited which they might readily mistake for true religion. When God is represented as desiring their salvation, without the least qualification, and that his desire for it is infinitely strong, what impenitent sinner, that has the least seriousness of mind, is not prepared to be pleased? If “sinners love those that love them,” as our Lord assures us, they can love such a being as God is represented to be, without any change of heart. A God of all mercy, is just such a God as sinners desire. Will it be said that his justice is also brought into view, and that the terrors of hell are exhibited? True; but in what light are they exhibited? Is it not commonly in a light to which the selfish heart will as readily accord? WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

If the nature of a selfish heart is set out for us to see in John 6:26 and Philippians 2:19-21, then it would be to our great advantage to take notice and pay careful attention. If these things are true, then we must examine our own hearts to see if we have truly repented. The Greatest Commandments teach us that above all things and in all things we are to love God with all of our being and our neighbors as ourselves. But, if we follow Scripture carefully, we cannot be possessed by a selfish heart and love God and our neighbors at the same time. We cannot have two masters as we will hate one and love the other. We cannot love self as our master love and love God at the same time. We can see this in Philippians 2 where the men were said not to genuinely be concerned for the welfare of the people because they sought after the interests of self rather than the interests of Christ.

We must take some care to think through that text. It is because those men sought the interests of self that they did not seek the interests of Christ. Again, the men sought the interests of self as their chief interest and as such they did not truly seek the interests of Christ. When men do not seek the interests of Christ chiefly, they are not truly concerned for the welfare of the people. This is a clear teaching where a person that seeks the interests of self does not seek the interests of Christ and therefore is not truly concerned for the welfare of the people. A selfish person cannot truly seek God and as a result of that cannot truly seek the true welfare of the people.

We can also see (once again) that true repentance is not something that is simple and easy, but it is a true change from a selfish heart to a heart that loves God and His people. Apart from the work of grace in the heart which changes the very nature of a person from a selfish heart to a heart that is focused on and centered upon God. That is the essence of true repentance and as such apart from that a person serves self in all he does whether it is in the world or in religion, even the conservative branches of Christianity. If we think of the Pharisees as a model of selfish hearts, we can see that the things of religion are a comfortable place for selfish hearts.

The selfish heart is not just opposed to the interests of Christ; it is a heart that hates the true and living God. The selfish heart, then, is not just a little bit off; it is full of enmity toward the true God but it is quite comfortable with the God of its own imagination. The selfish heart will love a false god as long as that god loves the selfish heart as it is and does not require it to change beyond what is in its own power to change and beyond the love of self. We simply must wake up to the heart of depravity which is selfishness and thus the inability of man is to love God. Man has no spiritual ability to love at all, thus man has no ability to do anything that pleases God. Not only does man not have any ability to do anything to please God, all that man does in any realm (including Christianity) is at enmity with God.

The selfish heart must be changed. The selfish heart must be repented of in truth and reality. The selfish heart teaches us that we must have a new heart. The selfish heart teaches us more of how depravity and our inability functions. In our selfishness, pride, and self-love all that we do in the things of religion we are using God and the things of God for self and out of love for self. As we seek self in all we do we have no love for God or man, but instead all we do is for self. We do not need to hear selfish motivations in order to be enticed to follow Christ as selfish motivations only move us to follow self more. We need to have our selfish motivations exposed in order to see our selfish hearts in order that we may seek the true grace of repentance. If not, we are left in the bondage of self and will perish with our wicked and selfish hearts.

Selfish “Christianity” 65

June 18, 2017

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And when, in addition to these measures, the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions, as most of what I have heard has been, and some of it extremely well adapted to work up those feelings to a high pitch, it would be strange if some affections were not excited which they might readily mistake for true religion. When God is represented as desiring their salvation, without the least qualification, and that his desire for it is infinitely strong, what impenitent sinner, that has the least seriousness of mind, is not prepared to be pleased? If “sinners love those that love them,” as our Lord assures us, they can love such a being as God is represented to be, without any change of heart. A God of all mercy, is just such a God as sinners desire. Will it be said that his justice is also brought into view, and that the terrors of hell are exhibited? True; but in what light are they exhibited? Is it not commonly in a light to which the selfish heart will as readily accord?

WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

In the last posting we used John 6:26 and Philippians 2:19-21 as a paradigm for selfish “Christianity.” This is not just important, it is extremely vital. As long as a person seeks Christ for nothing more than the things of self, that person is not seeking Christ but is seeking self. By the very definition of a person we think of a rational being that desires and chooses, so a person is always desiring and seeking people or things with motives and desires. If a person is always seeking people and things, then a person is either seeking people or things for selfish reasons or that person is seeking them out of love for God. This should show us that we always seek and love God in the things we seek or we seek them from a selfish heart.

People seek religious things out of love for self as well. We can see that clearly in John 6 and Philippians 2. The ministers also sought the things of self (selfish heart) rather than the things of Christ in their “ministries.” Now, it should be obvious then that people cannot repent until they repent of self. As long as a person is under the power of a selfish heart (self-love and pride), that person has not truly repented and is a slave to self rather than a slave and lover of Christ. Again, this is not a point to just pass over lightly. A person can still be a slave to self and be a strongly religious person and an orthodox minister. Jesus Christ Himself told us that if we are going to follow Him we must deny self and that means self must be denied in order to truly follow Christ.

In the modern day we are told over and over again that we must believe in order to be saved. That is true, but we are also told to deny self and that we must repent. It is far easier to repent of outward acts of sin than it is to repent of self which is impossible apart from grace. It is only if God changes a heart in regeneration can a heart be turned from a selfish heart to a heart that has Christ as its life and therefore love God. Justification by faith alone must never be used to water down the absolute need for sinners to truly repent. In fact, when one considers the true meaning of justification by grace alone through faith alone we will see that in fact a true repentance comes by grace alone. It is when we look at faith through Arminian concepts that we get into trouble. When we think of faith as something a person has the ability to do, we think that a person can come up with faith and so God responds with salvation. In effect this destroys the true idea of justification by grace alone.

The true concept of repentance that is in accord with justification by grace alone is that repentance can only come from a heart that is changed by grace alone. Repentance is no more a human work in the Gospel than working to obtain righteousness is. No one can work to obtain a shred of righteousness in the sight of God, and as such true repentance cannot come to anyone apart from the grace of God. If God opens our eyes to see that we must repent of a selfish heart and not just of outward acts, we will see that repentance is a work of grace and it comes to us in regeneration and that comes by grace alone.

This is terribly confusing to people in the modern day. Since Finney (who stressed it and made popular the modern Pelagian movement) people think that they have the power to repent and believe. Since Finney this was stressed and people were pushed and given selfish motives to repent as if they had the power to do so. When the inability of man is not stressed to sinners, the heart of Pelagianism will reign. It does not matter if the person claims to be a Reformed person or whatever, as long as the inability of man is not stressed the unbeliever (a Pelagian by birth) will remain a Pelagian until s/he is granted a true repentance by grace alone. A Pelagian by birth can confess and be a creedal Calvinist and yet remain a Pelagian as long as the self is not repented of. The doctrine of man’s inability is not just something to agree to, it is vital. The doctrine of man’s selfishness shows us an important aspect of just how man is unable to do one thing spiritual or good apart from Christ, yet these things are rarely heard from the pulpits in our day.

Selfish “Christianity” 64

June 15, 2017

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And when, in addition to these measures, the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions, as most of what I have heard has been, and some of it extremely well adapted to work up those feelings to a high pitch, it would be strange if some affections were not excited which they might readily mistake for true religion. When God is represented as desiring their salvation, without the least qualification, and that his desire for it is infinitely strong, what impenitent sinner, that has the least seriousness of mind, is not prepared to be pleased? If “sinners love those that love them,” as our Lord assures us, they can love such a being as God is represented to be, without any change of heart. A God of all mercy, is just such a God as sinners desire. Will it be said that his justice is also brought into view, and that the terrors of hell are exhibited? True; but in what light are they exhibited? Is it not commonly in a light to which the selfish heart will as readily accord?

WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

If we look at John 6:26 and Philippians 2:19-21 as a paradigm for the selfish heart in religious things, we can see how easy it is for people to be religious (even very religious) and mistake their selfish heart doing religious things for true Christianity. We can think of a zealous “evangelist” who will present nothing but selfish motives to sinners and then count the numbers as true converts. Perhaps what we don’t think of often enough is the motives behind the preaching and teaching of the zealous “evangelist.” Jehu said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the LORD” (II Kings 10:16). However, it later appeared as if his real zeal was for himself and his own glory. It may be that a zealous “evangelist” has nothing but his own bank account and his own glory as his chief motive. This is why he knows of nothing but selfish motives to persuade sinners with.

When even Jesus did miracles and preached the truth from pure motives (love for God and His glory), even He was misunderstood and people sought Him for the things they could get from Him. This is appalling, to say the least, but time has not and cannot change the human heart. In fact, we could even say that things are worse today. Things are worse because it appears that in our nation the pulpits are filled with those preaching with selfish motives. When selfish motives are behind the preaching, we can be quite sure that only selfish motives will be presented to the people. Those are the only motives that the selfish preacher knows by experience and those are the only motives that he can truly be moved by.

Jesus the Christ preached with the purest of motives and perfect motives. He preached out of love for the glory of God. He preached with the purest intent and the purest love possible. However, the selfish hearts of men heard Him and they interpreted Him with selfish motives and selfish ears. Even His disciples did not seem to understand much of the time and they wondered who was the greatest among them and who would have the highest seat in the kingdom. Can there really be any doubt that the human heart is selfishly depraved? Can there be any doubt of the basic selfishness of the human heart when we see how they interpreted the words of Jesus and even how His disciples were selfish? His disciples followed Jesus, yes, but they appeared to have a lot of selfish motives when they did so while He was on earth. This should sober us as the impact of this hits us.

Jesus fed thousands (John 6) with a miracle and the glory of God was put on display before these people. Did these people now seek Him as a prophet sent by God? No, they sought Him because they wanted Him to give them more free food. Now while this is somewhat understandable, after all, who does not want free food, but how blind and how selfish could they be to so blatantly seek food when Christ had put the glory of God on display? One would think that they would lose all their physical appetite and throw themselves on their faces to seek the Lord! Oh no, the glory of His miracle was simply that they received free food and now they sought Him for more.

The same thing is true today. People seek material things in the name of Jesus rather than seeking for Him. In other words, their appetite for physical things is far greater than their spiritual appetite (if they have one at all). This is not mocking them, but it is an effort to point out the great blindness of those who fill the buildings with “church” on the door in our day. They hear promises of riches and material blessings and soothing messages about their souls in the name of Christ while the true Christ is ignored and shut out. Oh the great blindness that selfish heart has. Oh the power that the selfish heart has over the things of religion in our day. How wretchedly awful it is for selfish sinners to give money to the professing churches when their only motive is that it will be good for them or that it will bring them more money. How many building programs are carried on in the name of Christ when the true Christ is forgotten? How many church programs are carried on in the name of Christ and yet the true motive is to get more people and more money for the “ministry” and yet the true Christ is forgotten?

How many ministers (in name) preach and “minister” out of love for Christ? How many long for and desire the glory of God and wish that their own name would perish as long as Christ is exalted? How many would be content to receive a small salary and preach in a small and rather shabby building as long as they could preach the true Christ? Ah, it may be the case that if one wants to preach the truth one must be ready not to have fame and fortune in the right circles. It may be the case that if one wants to be faithful to God that one will have to suffer insults and ridicule rather than popularity. It may also be the case that those who want popularity and big buildings will have to seek those things while denying the true Christ. A selfish heart who reads these things will probably sneer, but for those who have ears to hear they will mourn.

Selfish “Christianity” 63

June 13, 2017

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

John 7:7 “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.

John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And when, in addition to these measures, the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions, as most of what I have heard has been, and some of it extremely well adapted to work up those feelings to a high pitch, it would be strange if some affections were not excited which they might readily mistake for true religion. When God is represented as desiring their salvation, without the least qualification, and that his desire for it is infinitely strong, what impenitent sinner, that has the least seriousness of mind, is not prepared to be pleased? If “sinners love those that love them,” as our Lord assures us, they can love such a being as God is represented to be, without any change of heart. A God of all mercy, is just such a God as sinners desire. Will it be said that his justice is also brought into view, and that the terrors of hell are exhibited? True; but in what light are they exhibited? Is it not commonly in a light to which the selfish heart will as readily accord?

WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

When we consider some of the names that fall under the heading of a selfish heart, we can see something of why it is vitally important. The proud heart is from a selfish heart. The self that Christ tells us that we must deny in order to follow Him is from a selfish heart. The hearts that God says are foolish hearts are selfish hearts. The heart that God turns over to its lusts is a selfish heart that is full of the lusts of self and for self. The unrighteous heart is a selfish heart that is filled with self and follows the unrighteous lusts of self. The wicked heart is a selfish heart that desires and seeks things that are for self rather than the glory of heart. The greedy heart is the selfish heart gathering things for self as opposed to the glory of God and the good of others. The envious heart is a selfish heart that hates others because they have something that it desires.

II Timothy 2:2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

The passage of Scripture just above can be seen as bookends of a selfish heart with all the things in the middle as describing what the selfish heart does. The selfish heart is a lover of self and loves pleasure than then being a lover of God. As a result of that, the selfish heart loves money, is boastful, is arrogant, and is a reviler. The selfish heart is disobedient to parents, is ungrateful and unholy. The selfish heart is unloving, irreconcilable, and is a malicious gossip. The selfish heart is without self-control (clearly and obviously), is brutal, is a hater of good, is treacherous, is reckless and is conceited. All of this comes from a selfish heart that loves self and not God. This makes it appear that all the sinful desires of men are selfish desires. This makes it appear that all the sinful things that flow from sinful hearts are those things that come from selfish hearts. Could it be that the selfish heart is what the Scripture refers to as the sinful self or the old self? Could it be that modern “Christians” have mistaken outward actions as the problem rather than the selfish heart?

If it is true that the selfish heart is the real issue with sins of the heart, mind, and actions, then this is a vital issue. If the selfish heart is the real issue, then it is a terrible diagnosis for a minister (or other) to deal with just the externals of sin and not the heart of it. It is the same (though more serious) of a physician treating the symptoms and leaving the disease untreated. If the selfish heart is the real issue, then evangelism must be more than just telling people to believe some facts about Jesus. If the selfish heart is the real issue, then sanctification and holiness are far different than those who think they have the outward actions as the primary focus. If the selfish heart is the real issue at hand, then preaching must take this into account in dealing with sin and in dealing with conversion.

The concept of the selfish heart is not just one among many doctrines or teaching, and it most certainly is not something we can ignore unless we do so to our own destruction. Without some understanding of it we cannot understand the basic nature of sin and therefore of repentance. Without some understanding of the concept of the selfish heart we will miss the true nature of conversion. Without some understanding of the selfish heart we will not be able to evangelize correctly. Without some understanding of the selfish heart we will not be able to deal with men and their slavery to sin and of their inability in their sin. Could it be that apart from this basic teaching on the human heart and the nature of sin that men are practical Pelagians even when their outward professions are orthodox? Could it be that the selfish heart of man is a vital teaching that when missed it has a huge impact on other necessary teachings?

When serious illnesses go undiagnosed the body can be eaten up and destroyed by the illness or disease. When sin goes undiagnosed the soul will be eaten up and destroyed in the spiritual realm. When a serious illness is not diagnosed properly, there can be no true and effective treatment. When sin is not diagnosed properly, there can be no true and effective treatment. A serious illness can be masked and left to rampage throughout the body when it is not diagnosed or when it is hidden by treating the symptoms so that the patient is left feeling better. When sin is masked over, sin will harden the heart and cause eternal destruction to the soul and this is true when it is treated with superficial sermons and superficial treatments of sin. When the soul is treated with a false Christ and a false God, this is terribly destructive even though the sinner will feel better. Could it be that there are vast numbers of people who have sin rampaging in their souls and they are given little bandages and soothing statements that numb them to the reality of their dire need of the true Christ?

Selfish “Christianity” 62

June 11, 2017

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

John 7:7 “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.

John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And when, in addition to these measures, the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions, as most of what I have heard has been, and some of it extremely well adapted to work up those feelings to a high pitch, it would be strange if some affections were not excited which they might readily mistake for true religion. When God is represented as desiring their salvation, without the least qualification, and that his desire for it is infinitely strong, what impenitent sinner, that has the least seriousness of mind, is not prepared to be pleased? If “sinners love those that love them,” as our Lord assures us, they can love such a being as God is represented to be, without any change of heart. A God of all mercy, is just such a God as sinners desire. Will it be said that his justice is also brought into view, and that the terrors of hell are exhibited? True; but in what light are they exhibited? Is it not commonly in a light to which the selfish heart will as readily accord?

WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

The selfish heart taints or destroys all that it touches. While all things have been created for the purposes and glory of God, the selfish heart taints what it touches because it will have all things be for its own purposes and glory. The selfish heart may long for knowledge of God and the Gospel, but it will long for those things for selfish purposes. The same men that Paul would not send to the Philippians because they sought their own interests can surely be thought of as studying and praying for their own interests instead of Christ’s. Those same men would have evangelized and preached for their own interests as well. The selfish heart will use the things of God as things of self and even use God Himself for selfish purposes.

The selfish heart, while indeed it may be in darkness and have its own motives and intents hidden from it, views all things from a selfish purpose. True Christianity is something that it will use for its own purposes, but when it does it is no longer true Christianity. The Scriptures (I Cor 8:1) teaches us that knowledge puffs up but love edifies. One way to think of that verse and how it applies is to say that the selfish heart will use all knowledge for self and that will puff the person up with pride about the knowledge s/he now possesses. The true Christian (though not perfectly) studies to know God and to glorify and honor God which is what true love does. So the selfish heart studies the Bible for selfish goals and ends, but love studies the Bible for the glory of God. The selfish heart may tell itself that it studies for the glory of God, but it has changed what the glory of God really means at that point.

The arrogance of the selfish heart is perhaps beyond measure (by men) as it studies the Bible and studies the character of God for the purposes of exalting self. The scholar, the professor at colleges and seminaries, pastors, elders, and all others need to beware of this. We cannot study the Bible and remain unchanged. A selfish heart will grow more and more proud as it studies. A selfish heart will grow in its spiritual blindness even as it grows in knowledge. This is so incredibly dangerous, yet it explains so many things. One can have a vast amount of knowing things about the Bible and yet to the degree it knows things about the Bible it will be spiritually blind and yet proud. It thinks it is using a means of grace and yet it is growing in blindness and pride!

The selfish heart must be broken from its pride before it can truly study the Bible and have spiritual knowledge. Oh how devastating this should be to the pride and self-sufficiency of men, yet even this can be used to puff men up. There is nothing that a proud and selfish heart will not do or use in order to gain honor in its own eyes and the eyes of others. The proud and selfish heart will know that it must be humble in order to receive grace, so the proud and selfish heart will find a way to appear humble to self and to others. It will gain a lot of knowledge about humility and so deceive itself that it is humble. The proud and selfish heart will be proud of its humility and yet so blind it does not see that it is proud of its humility proud of how humble it is before others.

When the proud and selfish heart has deceived itself regarding its own humility, it will now be deceived into thinking it has a way to receive grace. As long as the selfish heart thinks that humility is something it can work up, it will think that it can obtain grace by being humble. However, this is nothing but the appearance of humility and is nothing but pride and selfishness. It is nothing but an attempt to dispense grace or even earn grace as it pleases. It is the selfish heart using religion as a way to obtain honor for itself and salvation for itself. It is the selfish heart playing God and using God to gain what the selfish heart desires. When a church has a minister like that, then it is clear that regardless of the minister’s stated theology that minister is a vile and selfish wretch who is using the things of God to gain honor as he seeks his own interests rather than Christ’s.

Selfish “Christianity” 61

June 9, 2017

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

John 7:7 “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.

John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And when, in addition to these measures, the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions, as most of what I have heard has been, and some of it extremely well adapted to work up those feelings to a high pitch, it would be strange if some affections were not excited which they might readily mistake for true religion. When God is represented as desiring their salvation, without the least qualification, and that his desire for it is infinitely strong, what impenitent sinner, that has the least seriousness of mind, is not prepared to be pleased? If “sinners love those that love them,” as our Lord assures us, they can love such a being as God is represented to be, without any change of heart. A God of all mercy, is just such a God as sinners desire. Will it be said that his justice is also brought into view, and that the terrors of hell are exhibited? True; but in what light are they exhibited? Is it not commonly in a light to which the selfish heart will as readily accord?

WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

The selfish heart is a heart that longs for independence and it finds its independence (in its own mind) from God to some degree by relying on self through the teaching of free-will. It thinks that by praying a prayer it can obtain salvation from God. It thinks that by obeying the commands of God by the power of self it can obtain rewards from God. It thinks that by following religious duties that it can get what it asks for from God. Notice, however, that all that the selfish heart wants it thinks that it must obtain them from God. It believes (at least by implication) that grace can be obtained in accordance with its desires and actions.

The selfish heart may never say and may not know that it believes that it can obtain grace as it pleases, but that is the position of the selfish heart. Grace is provided and yet it must be obtained and applied by what the self does. This is, very clearly, quite opposite to biblical Christianity and the whole doctrine of grace in the Bible. God gives grace according to Himself and His own glory and not according to the merit and works of men. It cannot get any clearer than that, but the selfish heart does what it does for self and uses the things of Christianity (it thinks) to obtain grace for what it longs for and desires for the purposes of self.

Roman Catholicism thought the “Church” was able to dispense grace as it pleases. The Reformers said that God dispensed grace as God pleased. While original Protestantism was biblical, we have now moved to the point where grace is dispensed according to men. It is true that some use the term “means of grace” and that is not necessarily a bad term, but it can be (and often is) used in pretty much the same way as Roman Catholicism did. The “Church” (according to some Protestants) has the means of grace and if people want grace they attend church (as they say) and use the means of grace to obtain grace. However, the obtaining of grace is no longer a sovereign act of God it is up to the people. Protestants have moved almost in a full circle and are back to the position that the Reformers fought against.

We can see the selfish heart in this. It will fight and fight against God being actually and really sovereign and will have grace in its own hands to dispense in a way it can obtain grace as it pleases. It will come up with a theory and it will do about anything, but self will not have a sovereign God reign over it and do as He pleases. This is as true in the Reformed ranks as anywhere else. We want a God we can control (to some degree and in some way) and a God who will do what we want in accordance with our religious actions. The selfish heart will twist and turn and come up with biblical terms and biblical doctrines (at least in appearance) to allow self to remain in control of grace even as it denies it in theory.

When the selfish heart is able to dispense grace as it pleases, biblical Christianity has disappeared even in the midst of many biblical doctrines and practices. The selfish heart will leave in place or change just slightly doctrines and practices of true Christianity, but that selfish heart always wants some control to where it does not have to truly and really rely on God and His sovereign will completely. The selfish heart wants to retain enough control to make it sovereign and rely on self in reality while in appearance it is trusting in God. At some point and in some way the selfish heart will retain control and have all things bow at its feet. In other words, the selfish heart destroys true Christianity in its desire to remain in control and yet keeps the appearance or name of true Christianity. It is a fiend and incredibly deceptive and leaves a swathe of destruction and deception in its wake.

Selfish “Christianity” 60

June 7, 2017

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.

Philippians 2:19 But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. 20 For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. 21 For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus.

John 7:7 “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.

John 15:24 “If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

And when, in addition to these measures, the general strain of what is said to sinners is adapted to work upon their selfish feelings and animal passions, as most of what I have heard has been, and some of it extremely well adapted to work up those feelings to a high pitch, it would be strange if some affections were not excited which they might readily mistake for true religion. When God is represented as desiring their salvation, without the least qualification, and that his desire for it is infinitely strong, what impenitent sinner, that has the least seriousness of mind, is not prepared to be pleased? If “sinners love those that love them,” as our Lord assures us, they can love such a being as God is represented to be, without any change of heart. A God of all mercy, is just such a God as sinners desire. Will it be said that his justice is also brought into view, and that the terrors of hell are exhibited? True; but in what light are they exhibited? Is it not commonly in a light to which the selfish heart will as readily accord?

WILLIAM R. WEEKS.

The selfish heart is a heart that loves self, is full of self, and is motivated only by self and the glory of self and the things that are of benefit to self. Therefore, it is opposed to true Christianity which loves God, is full of God, and is motivated by God and His glory and the things that are of benefit to God. The two are as opposite as darkness and light. In fact, the self is darkness while God and His glory is light. From the verses above we can see how much a God who is perfectly holy and loves Himself as triune would be opposed to a fallen creature who loves itself instead of Him and His glory.

How wicked it must be in His pure and holy sight to have selfish hearts seek after Christ (John 6:26) because they wanted free food rather than to seek Him for who He was. We must remember that Jesus taught in John 14 that the Father was in Him and He was in the Father, so that the Father was seen in Him. This was astonishing to the disciples, but the Father was with the disciples in and through Jesus. This means that when people sought the Christ (after a sign/miracle of who He was) for food rather than to behold the glory of God in Him, they were committing an awful act of idolatry. They were choosing food over God Himself. The same is true today. When people seek Christ and pray in His name (so they think) for things, they are seeking Christ (in a sense) and using the name of Christ in a vain way in order to obtain things for self. They are choosing the things they seek rather than God when they do that despite what their religion may say.

What is a wicked heart doing when it seeks religious things and even the ministry (Philippians 2:19-21) out of the interests of self rather than the interests of Christ? It is seeking self rather than the true God and even using God for the interests of self. What is a minister who is seeking the interests of self rather than the interests of Christ? He (or she these days) is a minister of the devil who is not concerned about the sheep of God. He is also a person who has a monstrous pride in preferring himself to the true good of the congregation and his own pocket and or honor to the glory of God. The “minister” that seeks the interests of self rather than the interests of Christ (in truth and from the heart) is a monster who is playing God to self and to the people.

A professing church needs to think on these things as it looks for a minister and the true sheep of God need to think on these things as it looks at the “minister” in the pulpit where they attend. Could it be that the man who is so nice and so kind and perhaps a very knowledgeable man in the Bible or in theology is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Could it be that he is hiding his own selfish heart from himself and others by his knowledge and his niceness? Could it be that he is actually a very religious person and is deceived by his own selfish heart? We live in such a day where it is acceptable to know the facts of things and yet not have any real experience of them, which means the very “ministers” in the professing Christian churches can be selfish beings who seek themselves instead of Christ and they are not even noticed. It is so wicked for men to do this, but they may be blind to it. However, when a congregation cannot detect this in the minister, it does not bode well for them at all. What a spiritual curse it is on a congregation to have a selfish minister who is blinded to his own true spirituality by his selfish heart. However, God does send “ministers” to wicked people in order to blind them more and more.