Selfish “Christianity” 33

March 27, 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 nature of grace shines forth in contrast to selfishness, but we can also see the true nature of a selfish heart and sin as well. Grace is opposed to a selfish heart and selfish hearts are opposed to grace. Grace comes from a self-sufficient God who does all He does out of love for Himself and His own glory, but that is more or less what a selfish heart in sinful men does. The man with a selfish heart is moved out of love for self and does all for his own glory, but the man with a selfish heart is a wicked man and has a very narrow and confined love as his love for self is opposed to the greatest good in terms of God and other human beings. The love of God for Himself is triune and it moves Him to do what is best for His glory which includes His children among human beings.

When am unregenerate human being is told that he should honor his father and mother, the motives for doing so have to do with self. The regenerate heart, however, is to love God in this way. The Ten Commandments stood against Israel and condemned them, but in the New Covenant they point to the life of Christ in the soul and His grace in sharing His love for His Father with human beings. The Law does not stand against regenerate souls who are beloved of God in Christ, but it is what God shares with them through Christ. Holiness is not something that human beings can work up in the strength of fallen nature, though indeed fallen nature can follow rules and laws to some degree despite the heart being opposed to them. Holiness is not just following rules, holiness is a way of life and that is what eternal life is. Eternal life is a holy way of life.

The command to honor father and mother also points to how men should love their Father who is in heaven. In one sense He is the Father (source and origin) of all human beings, but He is not the Father of the natural (unregenerate) man in the sense that the sinful nature and sinful desires do not come from Him. The living God who exists in and of Himself and shows grace according to His good pleasure brings sinners to Himself and gives them a new heart in which they may honor Him as their Father. The selfish heart does not want to honor its human parents or the Father in heaven unless there is benefit for it. The selfish heart is opposed to true grace and wants to do what it does on its own. The selfish heart hates the true God and will be opposed to any kind of righteous regulations as such over it.

In the modern day where selfishness is given license to operate freely in the modern culture the parents are no longer those to be honored and obeyed. This is precisely what is expected from selfish hearts. In the modern culture God is not in the thoughts in most, but where He is given some space (in the mind) He is not the supreme and living God who does all for His own glory. The selfish heart of man has relegated God to Someone you call upon when you need Him. The selfish heart of man does not want to live in dependence upon God and as such will not honor Him as Father.

As our culture crumbles and is falling into a wasteland (so to speak), part of this is the refusal of human beings to honor their parents and especially to honor the Father who is in heaven. As the selfish hearts of men tried to build a tower to heaven in the Old Testament, so today men are busy trying to build ways to heaven or to bring heaven down. The selfish hearts that tried to build the tower in the Old Testament are the same hearts with the same motives in our day. The selfish heart continues to oppose God as Father and it opposes Him in all ways and at all times. The selfish heart opposes true grace in “religion” and legalism reigns where selfishness reigns. Free-grace is opposed by free-will which is to say that God and His glory are opposed by selfish hearts who want to make decisions for themselves and to have the ability to carry out what they want.

Selfish “Christianity” 32

March 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 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 opposed to all things that are truly centered upon God. The selfish heart will fight all things that glorify God and how men are to be utterly dependent upon Him. The selfish heart depends upon self and on self it rests. The selfish heart loves self and lives for self and the honor of self and loathes to be dependent upon God, though it will admit that it needs help from Him at times. The selfish heart can even preach and teach on how much we need God and depend on God, but that selfish heart is not broken from self and preaches for the sake of self.

The fourth commandment is certainly thought of in different ways, but one way we should think of it is how it points to Christ and the need to rest in Christ alone. In the Old Testament Sabbath the people were to have a day of complete rest and they were not even to pick up sticks on that day. It was to be a day of complete rest, but one point of it was that they were to totally depend on God on that day for all things. It is in Christ that this day is fulfilled and it is in Christ that we are to have complete and total dependence as we rest in Him and His righteousness.

There is a Sabbath rest found in Christ and it is that rest that the selfish heart resists each and every day. The selfish heart will refuse to look to Christ alone but will look to self for something. The selfish heart may say that it trusts in Christ alone so that it can appear to be orthodox, but in the depths of the heart it refuses to rest in Christ alone. It will think of self as having some form of righteousness for trusting in Christ alone. The proud heart that is full of pride and self will not find rest in anyone or anything. It will always trust in itself and it will always seek nothing but itself. In doing this, the selfish heart shows that it is not resting in Christ alone.

The grace of God is such that all spiritual blessings are found in Christ and come to sinners on the basis of grace alone. The grace of God is such that it comes to sinners in a way where all the glory is seen to be of God and all glory is to be aimed toward God. The selfish heart cannot stand that way of thinking and that approach. The selfish heart longs for the attention of people and it longs for glory. The selfish heart will not rest in Christ alone and will not have a true grace alone as it is always looking to self for some reason for God to show favors. The selfish heart is opposed to God receiving all the glory though it may be blind to that and as such it will not rest in Christ alone and in the true notion of grace. The selfish heart opposes the Sabbath found in Christ each day of the week and all day long.

Selfish “Christianity” 31

March 25, 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 revealed by the name it truly seeks to be honored. The selfish heart is so blinded by pride and love of self that it will do many religious things and think that it is doing it for God when in fact it is doing all for the glory of self and the honor of the name of self. The selfish heart seeks the glory of self rather than the glory of God thought in the deception of a selfish heart it will deceive itself into thinking it is seeking the glory of God when it is doing nothing of the kind.

John 5:44 “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?

If we simply think of the selfish heart as being unable to do anything but seek self, we can easily see that the self can do nothing but seek self and cannot seek the glory of God. The third commandment stands forth and shows us how God seeks His own glory and the honor of His own name and that His people must do the same out of love for the true God. However, the selfish heart cannot even begin to seek God and His glory other than as a farce. Once again, we can see this regarding ministers. A minister can preach with the tongues of angels and with all the gifts that a man can have, but when that minister seeks glory from other men and not the glory of God that minister is an idol to himself and in all he does he is taking the name of God in vain. Every time that minister (in name) uses the name of God in a sermon that man is using the name of God in vain. Every time that minister uses the name of God in prayer that man is using the name of God in vain. Indeed, every outward righteous act that man does is nothing more than used menstrual cloths. He is unclean in a high manner.

The selfish heart is its own god, its own idol, and it seeks the honor and glory of self in worldly things and in religious things. It is no wonder that Scripture speaks so clearly of the need of the heart to be broken and humbled. Until self is taken off of the throne by divine grace, it does nothing but serve self in full enmity to God. Until the heart is broken from self and humbled from its pride it does nothing but seek self in the presence of God and it tries to use God for the gain of self before others. While the unregenerate worldling goes on in wickedness and sin, the unregenerate religious person uses God for the purposes of self and that is far worse.

We must be quite clear at this point. It is impossible for an unregenerate person to use the name of God in a non-vain way. The unregenerate heart loves self and seeks self as its chief end in all it does. In that the unregenerate person abuses the name of God in that each person bears the image of God and living in sin and the idolatry of a selfish heart is an abuse of the name of God. However, using the true things of God as religious people do to seek self and seek honor from others is an even higher sin. The unregenerate person is a proud person by definition, but the unregenerate religious person is attempting to use God for selfish reasons and that is an even greater sin. This was the sin of the Pharisees in that they tried to use religious things for the sake of the honor of self. They prayed in order to be seen by men rather than God. This was a horrible sin and abuse of God, but it still is. It is also taking His name in vain. How people must be awakened to see their selfish hearts and the utter wickedness of what it really is and what it is leading them to.

Selfish “Christianity” 30

March 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 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 great teaching of the Scriptures regarding how we are to treat the name of God is repeated over and over in many ways. For example, the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer teaches us that we should pray for God’s name to be hallowed and glorified. The third commandment teaches us that God treats His own name as holy and we are to treat His name as holy. True love and reverence for God teaches us that the nature of holiness is for people to treat God and His name as holy. There is no morality or holiness apart from treating the name of God as holy.

The modern day is marked in many ways as the time of treating the name of men with reverence. We are told that we should treat people in such a way that will leave their self-esteem high or perhaps we are even to elevate that. We are told that we are to treat people with such niceness that we are not to disturb their view of themselves. We are told that we are to view all men as equal and that we are never to speak such words as the world deems as offensive or that might be viewed as preferring one set of people over another.

If we look at the previous paragraph in light of the biblical teaching, what we see is that men are in pursuit of treating the name of men as holy and we are not to treat the name of men in a vain way. In other words, men could care less how God’s name is treated but they are very concerned of how the names of men are treated. The hearts of selfish men want to be treated with reverence and cannot stand for their own name to be treated in a vain way, but they don’t care how the name of God is treated. The old profanity laws that deal with how God’s name is treated is thought to be outrageous. However, we now have laws about how we are to treat the race and religion of others. God’s name is now open for any profanity and blasphemy, but man’s name is now to be treated with reverence. What a difference a few years can make.

It is the selfish heart of man that is the problem. The selfish heart of man wants to be treated as a sovereign and wants others to speak highly of him and to treat him with respect. The selfish heart of man thinks of self as his greatest love and as such wants his own name to be treated highly. The selfish heart of man has replaced God in his own thoughts and love and now lives in a way that seeks his own glory and honor and seeks respect for his name. This is so obvious once we begin to think in this direction. We can see this all around us of how men and women are offended, their feelings are hurt, they are angry that people will treat them in such a way. Once we get even a small understanding of the nature of the fallen heart and its selfish nature, we can see what is actually going on. The selfish heart loves self and lives for the honor of its own name. The selfish heart that fights for the honor of its own name is willing to allow the name of God to be profaned and trampled on.

We can see the selfish heart put on display in the modern political world as well. On the one hand the candidate is very sensitive about his own name, but the candidate is so concerned about political correctness that he will not say anything about homosexuality or of false religions. Behind so many news stories and the selfish hearts of the news anchors is that man wants the honor for self and does not care for the honor of God. While God treats His own name as holy and does all for His own glory, man treats his own name as holy and does all for his own glory. God commands men to use His name with reverence and awe, but man treats his own name with reverence and desires for others to treat him and his name with reverence.

The religious heart can still be full of self as it goes about its religious duties. The religious and selfish heart can be religious and do its duties out of love for self and reverence for its own name. The religious and selfish heart can preach with orthodox words and yet only do so wanting honor and glory for preaching in an orthodox way. The selfish heart can be satisfied as long as its own name is honored and treated reverently, but the selfish heart can also seek to have God’s name treated rightly in its presence so that it (the selfish heart) can be treated with honor as one that seeks for the name of God to be honored. The selfish heart is its own god, its own idol, and it seeks the honor and glory of self in worldly things and in religious things. It is no wonder that Scripture speaks so clearly of the need of the heart to be broken and humbled. Until self is taken off of the throne by divine grace, it does nothing but serve self in full enmity to God.

Selfish “Christianity” 29

March 23, 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 statement “selfish Christianity” is truly an oxymoron. It is like saying that I just took a hot bath in the coldest possible water. The life of self is directly opposed to the life of Christ in the soul and the selfish heart is opposed to all things that are truly Christian. This is so clearly seen when the Ten Commandments are seen as revealing how God is within Himself and then how man is to be like God. The living and true God has no other gods in His own presence but instead He does all for His own glory. This means that human beings, in light of that, are to live for His glory and have no other gods in His presence. It is not that any human being as the strength or ability to do this, but this shows us our inability to keep this commandment and as such we see our utter need of Christ to both save us from the power and guilt of sin but also to be our life.

The self does all for self and nothing for God. The self will seek God, but it will only seek Him in order to obtain some selfish purpose. The selfish heart serves self in all it does and as such it is in a state of constant enmity with the second commandment of God which is to have no idols. The self is the great idol that man serves. Self loves self and worships self in all it does. Self seeks self whether it is living in open sin or in a very religious way of life. When self uses Christianity as a means for self, the self is actually worshipping self using the things that are meant to humble man and bring him to worship God.

Perhaps the most horrible display of idolatry, then, is when men preach for the glory and honor of self. Instead of preaching out of love for God and for His glory, they preach out of love for self and for the glory of self. Instead of preaching in a way that manifests God with a goal of loving others that they may love God, they preach in a way that displays their own talents and they do this so that others may appreciate their preaching and laud them for their preaching. The same is true of music leaders and so on. The self is the great idol in the church when God is not truly loved and His glory is not sought in truth.

The Israelites were told that they were to take the noise of their songs away and their sacrifices were to be taken away when their hearts were not right. If so, then we must realize that a lot of religion may be nothing but a stench in the nostrils of God. If so, it may be that the best preachers (in terms of gifts and speaking ability) may be the greatest idolaters in that they are in the service of self in a greater way than others. They are using the gifts that God gave them to serve self for the glory of self. What an appalling picture this presents to us. It is not safe inside the doors of professing churches, but instead we must seek God for grace to truly worship Him and truly be those His glory shines through.

Selfish “Christianity” 28

March 19, 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.

As easily seen, at least I think so, the selfish heart is the heart of sin and that is in direct opposition to God and all He is and stands for. The character of God is such that all things must be oriented to Him and His glory and that is hated by the selfish heart which orients everything to itself and its own honor and glory. The selfish heart is always in self-mode and regardless of the words it will always do what it does for self. The selfish heart loves self and does all for self as its chief or primary goal in all it does. The selfish heart is full of self and as such is arrogant and proud and is at enmity with God. This selfish heart will use God and the things of God for self. But again, the selfish heart will use the things of religion to exalt itself. It will use conservative religion to exalt itself. It will use outward forms of holiness to exalt itself. It will use the ministry and evangelism to exalt itself.

It is not just that the First Commandment is not kept, but the First Commandment is hated by the selfish heart and it does all it does with a heart of enmity toward the First Commandment though it may not be conscious of that. The First Commandment, at least in one sense, simply tells us that God is God and all is to be done for God. It tells us (at least in light of the Great Commandments) that we are to love God with all of our beings and we are to aim at Him in all we do. It tells us that we are to have no gods before Him and that does not mean that we can have other gods just as long as He is first. It tells us to have no other gods in His presence. Oh how the selfish heart hates that and will have many other gods in one sense but they are all to please the god of self or the self-god. The religious self will justify the self-god and find many reasons and excuses for it. However, the religious self-god is the god hated most by the real God.

While those who live in open rebellion against God are wicked and sinful, those who try to be religious and hide their rebellion are worse. It is true that the hypocrisy is hated by God. All those who use religion to try to hide the self-god and lie to themselves, others, and the true God about it as they use the things of God to exalt the self-god in the presence of God have lifted sin up as high as it can be lifted. Those who try to save themselves by their own righteousness, even if their own righteousness is trying to believe in Christ by a selfish heart, are really trying to be a Christ to themselves. Those who are working for their own holiness and own sanctification rather than looking to Christ alone are again thinking that they are doing what Christ alone can do. The self-god is a savior to itself and is also wisdom to itself and is sanctification to itself. This is obnoxious in the eyes and nostrils of God.

It is true that all unbelieving people are gods to themselves in someway, but the selfish heart of the religious person is being a god to itself in a particularly wicked way. This is not recognized much in the modern day, but when the selfish heart (the self-god) uses the things of religion in a way that it tries to save itself or at least participate in its own salvation, it has taken the place of Christ and is trying to share in its own salvation. The self-god is what the Pharisee was and it is also what modern Pharisees are, though indeed the modern Pharisee has a new dress. The modern Pharisee is hidden in the pulpits across the land and the modern Pharisee is hidden in seminaries and Bible colleges across our land. We must take heed to our own hearts, but we must also be aware that the self-god is lurking in many places.

The self-god has indeed taken the place of God in many ways and in many places. The self-god has found acceptance in places of higher learning whether secular or religious places of learning. The self-god is always about self and will exalt others in order to lift up self. The self-god lives for self and in the presence of self rather than living for God and in the presence of God. The self-god longs for others to esteem it rather than for them to esteem the living God. The self-god wants to be like God in all things and wants others to love it rather than God, though it will use God to get others to live and esteem it. Put simply, the self-god lives in open violation of the First Commandment at all times and in all ways. It lives for self whether it sins for self or whether it refrains from outward sin. The self-god uses all the things of religion for self as it uses the name of “God” for selfish goals and ends, which is to say it uses the true God to attain the goals of love and honor for the self-god. This should make us nauseous at the sight of our own hearts and flee to God asking Him to draw us to Himself through Christ and by grace alone.

Selfish “Christianity” 27

March 17, 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 modern mindset is to give information and think that one is finished, but this cannot be the truth regarding the Bible and Christianity. The Bible does not just give us information about the new birth; it tells us that we must actually and in fact be born again. The Bible does not just give us the information about being poor in spirit; it tells us that those who are in actuality and in fact poor in spirit are blessed. The Bible does not just give us the information about justification and tell us to believe that the facts are true, but instead it tells us that we must be justified in reality and fact. Christianity, therefore, is not just about passing on information.

This is also true of preaching. It must be more than just giving information about things and telling people that they ought to believe them. This is why preachers must have experienced what they preach if they are going to truly preach. The Scriptures are also quite clear that they are giving more than just information about sin and as such just stopping the external sin is enough. No, we must go to the root of the issue. The very root of sin is a selfish heart. It is from that selfish heart (a heart full of self-love and pride) that all sin flows from. People do not sin because they love God and others, but instead they sin because they love self and then they justify their behavior according to their selfish hearts.

It is quite clear with children and adults that people justify sin. What is going on when people justify themselves and their sin (when they really do sin)? It is a selfish heart that is looking to excuse self in the presence of God. A selfish heart is always looking to excuse its behavior and its own heart with self-love and pride as the basis for its excuses. The actions of sin are bad enough, but the justification of sin based on self raises the level of the sin far higher. This justification which is based on self can only occur when the selfish heart bases all things on self rather than God. In other words, a selfish heart has taken the place of God and is its own god when it justifies its own sin. The wonderful command of love not to have other gods in His presence is thus violated in a very strong way. As the promise of the devil was that they could be like God, so the selfish heart is its own god in determining right and wrong in accordance with itself.

This is a profound and wicked sin. The selfish heart is its own god in deciding what is sin and in justifying itself for sin. It uses self as the basis for what is right and wrong and for what holiness is. In doing that it is clearly being a god to itself. The heart that the Spirit convicts of this is a heart that will gasp when it sees what it has been doing its whole life. The heart that the Spirit illuminates and shows how utterly vile it has been doing in playing god in the presence of the true God will see how just God is in condemning it to everlasting hell. The heart that is taught of God will now understand something of the reality of the need to be cleansed by the blood of Christ and of the new birth. The heart that sees itself will be in utter despair of helping itself and will look to the grace of God alone.

The heart that feels the revulsion of its wickedness of playing god before the true God will not look to the externals of religion, but instead will look to the spiritual realm and cry out for mercy and for grace. This broken and humbled heart will know and feel that it has been playing with holy things and will cry out to the real God now. This broken heart will now despise self rather than love it. This broken heart hungers and thirsts for true righteousness as it has none of its own and knows it cannot come up with any either. This humbled heart lies low at the foot of the cross and cries out for grace on the basis of Christ and the glory of God rather than self. This humbled heart cannot look to the external acts of religion and the religious things it has done or could do, but now it must have Christ Himself. Oh that God would open our eyes to the horrid nature of self and grant us that we would seek grace based in His glory in truth rather than just in name.

Selfish “Christianity” 26

March 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 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.

A little less than a century ago J. Gresham Machen wrote a book in which he showed that Liberalism was not Christianity. There are many liberals who call themselves Christians and think that they are, but if one is liberal (theologically) one is not a Christian. No matter how much a theological liberal may be to true Christianity, a theological liberal is simply incompatible with being a Christian. The same thing is true about a selfish heart and Christianity. The selfish heart will use the things of Christianity in order to deceive others and self about it being a Christian, but a selfish heart is simply and clearly incompatible with being a Christian. One could say that a person must be born again in order to be delivered from the reigning power of a selfish heart. One can also say that when a person becomes a new creature it has been delivered from the old selfish heart and is now new in terms of having the true God reigning in it by Christ.

There are many outwardly good people and many nice people who are theologically liberal and say that they are Christians, but they have defined things and moved things in order that they may claim Christianity for themselves. The same things is true of the modern Pharisee or those with selfish hearts. They will claim conservative Christianity and they will claim the creeds and so on just like the Pharisees did, but they do so from a selfish heart rather than love for God. These men do all of their religion out of selfish interests (interests of self) rather than having a love for the interests of Christ. The selfish minister may be a really good speaker and may speak with great feeling about the things of Christianity, but that selfish minister has as his greatest love the self and the things of self. In doing so, that minister preaches, teaches, and prays for self instead of God. This means that the selfish minister is in violation of the First Commandment with each word he utters from the pulpit week after week.

The point in “picking” on ministers is to show just how far men will go in their selfishness without true Christianity. True Christianity does not consist in external knowledge, external words, and external morality. True Christianity consists of broken hearts with Christ Himself dwelling in those hearts. The proud religionists will look down on true Christianity since it does not fit with their selfish hearts and the ways that they have watered down and the traditions they hold. But again, apart from Christ the First Commandment cannot be kept. The First Commandment is impossible to keep apart from the life of Christ in the soul and yet the religious person thinks that s/he is keeping it in his or her own strength. This is simply appalling to the highest degree. All that the religious person does in the very highest acts of his religion is done for self rather than for the living God. In doing that, the person’s self is the god that the person is bowing down to and as such is having another god in the presence of the true God.

The point of this, once again, is to take some pains to try to show how a selfish heart is totally incompatible with true Christianity. The selfish heart serves self and not Christ. The selfish heart loves self and not Christ. The selfish heart prays for self and not Christ. The selfish heart preaches for self and not Christ. The selfish heart reads the Bible for self and not Christ. The selfish heart evangelizes for self and not Christ. The selfish heart does good deeds for self and not Christ. The selfish heart is moral for self and not Christ. The selfish heart refrains from outward sin for self and not for Christ. The selfish heart, therefore, uses the things of God and God Himself to serve self. The selfish heart loves self and is its own god. May God break our hearts from using the things of religion for self to where all we do is out of love for Him and as such for Him to be our God in truth.

Selfish “Christianity” 25

March 14, 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 (full of self-love and pride) is a heart that is directly opposed to God and all that God is and does. It is a heart that is not just opposed to God to some degree, but it is opposed to God with all of its being. The selfish heart hates God whether it recognizes this or not. The selfish heart is fully at enmity with the living God, though it can do this through religion. The selfish heart will even demonstrate its enmity with the living God by conservative religion and even with good deeds. The selfish heart can be opposed to God and demonstrate hatred for God from the pulpit of a conservative church or denomination. While a minister in name may indeed be deceived or deceive himself, that minister is a seeker of self down deep in the heart as he preaches his conservative creed and his conservative morality.

The minister that is governed by a selfish heart (his own) may indeed be quite fierce in his religion and in his conservative brand of that religion, but all of that fierce conservative religion can be a hiding of his own heart from himself and others. A selfish heart can be greatly involved in a building program ostensibly in the name of the glory of God. A selfish heart can be greatly involved in “evangelism” ostensibly for the glory of God. A selfish heart can be greatly involved in the local church and in a denomination and ostensibly for the glory of God. But all of those things can be ways the heart is trying to hide its enmity toward the true and living God. The selfish heart hates the true God and yet it makes efforts to hide that by using religion in the name of God. But of course in some way that selfish heart is always trying to water the truths of God down.

The selfish heart is indeed trying to suppress the truth of God in unrighteousness though indeed many do that with religion and even conservative religion. The selfish heart makes great efforts at hiding itself from itself and a great way it does this is using the outside of conservative religion while watering down the heart of it. How deceptive our hearts are. What we must come to understand is that the First Commandment stands for the great truth that God is God and man is not, but the selfish heart is another god and it is a god to itself before the living God. The selfish heart is nothing but a god to self and it is an arrogant heart before the living God as it serves self and seeks the glory of self. That horrid god within us stands opposed to the true God and is always trying to find ways to hide itself from others and self and so many do this in the ways of conservative religion. The way of the Pharisee did not die in biblical times, but instead the Pharisee is quite alive and very strong in each heart. The way of the Pharisee (the way of self and the religion of self) is the way of conservative religion and even a very moral religion. The way of the Pharisee is to rely on the traditions of men though it gives outward reverence to the Bible.

Let us think through the passages of Scripture listed above again. What do they teach us about religious men? They teach us that religious men seek Jesus for things for self rather than seeking Christ for Himself. Ministers can preach things about Christ, preach things about the Gospel, and preach the Bible quite accurately but only do so for self. These men will use the creeds, the Bible, and the name of God for their own selfish interests rather than the glory of God. It was the most religious men (Pharisees) who opposed Jesus and hated Him and His Father the most. It was the most religious men who kept trying to find out their own laws and their own morality and they had their own traditions in the name of Scripture. The selfish heart is in constant disobedience to the First Commandment in all of its religion. It is in constant disobedience to God with every religious act, every sermon, every prayer, and every good deed. Oh how we must be awakened to our selfish hearts if we are going to love the true God in truth and love!

Selfish “Christianity” 24

March 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.

One vital issue regarding the nature of a selfish heart is to realize that it is not just something objectively true, it is something true of each and every person. It is not enough to know that it is true; I must know that it is true of me. Not only that, I must know that only the Spirit of Christ can teach me the depths of how true this is of me. A true conviction of sin regarding my own selfish heart is necessary to a broken heart and a true humbling of the heart. This is not just an intellectual doctrine that one must know about, it is one that must be driven into the depths of the heart and that I must be brought to realize something of the awfulness of self.

By analogy we can see this in the nature of preaching. A preacher is not preaching just because he is giving something of an exposition of the text. A preacher is not preaching the Gospel just because he is using the word “gospel” a lot. A preacher is not preaching the cross of Christ just because he uses the word “cross” a lot. He is also not preaching because he uses the word “Jesus” a lot. It is also not preaching to simply speak of redemption and the things of redemption. In order to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and of Christ Himself one must have the Gospel driven into the soul and so preaching becomes the experienced Gospel of the one preaching. Rather than just speaking about the things of Christ, and perhaps doing that with some degree of feeling, one must have a broken and humbled heart in order to preach the Christ who lives there. In other words, there is a huge difference between speaking about Christ and preaching Christ from the heart and to the heart. This is one reason why there is such a lack of preaching in the modern day. Men settle for what can be said about the Gospel rather than having the Gospel in the depths of their soul. They also settle for knowing about Christ rather than preaching the living Christ as their own lives.

In the same way selfishness reveals to us the very heart or depths of sin as we should feel them or experience the reality of them. Yes, it is a sin to lie, but selfishness reveals us why lying is such wickedness and why it is so evil. A selfish heart lies because it is covering up for self or it is twisting the truth for the sake of self rather than doing what it does out of love for God and others. But again, the basic knowledge of this heart that is full of self-love and self-centeredness cannot be known by just knowing about it. The Lord Jesus Christ must Himself open up our eyes and show us the depths of this selfish heart. He does this by the work of the Spirit who shows us the horror of our own hearts and what it feels like to see ourselves completely and totally undone. It is one thing to know the depths of my inability by the intellect, but it is quite another when the Spirit of the living God shows you (me) that apart from Him nothing truly good can come from me. Our hearts can only be moved by self unless Christ works in us His spiritual fruit. The anguish that is felt by the religious soul when Christ works and opens up the eyes of that soul and it sees that everything it has ever done was from love of self and not love of God. Oh how the soul feels the pain and utter despair of self when it is shown by “taste” that every religious thing that it has ever done was done for self rather than for Christ.

Conviction of the Spirit for sin is not just an intellectual thing with some little something felt, it is something that goes to the very depths of the soul. There is pain involved in feeling the weight and guilt of sin. There is a weight on the soul when it sees that all of its righteousness melting away into mountains of sin. The soul feels the burden of it and begins to see and understand that it has nothing but love for self and pride for motives and motivations. It sees that it has hated God in all it has done. The soul is horrified with self and knows that it is worthy of everlasting hell and it will know that nothing but the sovereign grace of God will every save it. The soul will see that any act of its own will would be nothing but more love of self and more selfishness. The soul must be awakened, but it does not deserve to be awakened. The soul must be convicted of this sin by the Spirit, but it deserves to be hardened and blinded rather than convicted. It is the mercy of God to convict the soul of its desperate state in deadness and selfishness. We should seek the Lord to convict us of the terrible wickedness of our own hearts and ask Him to deeply wound us that Christ may be applied. But again, we deserve none of this and we should seek it from the Lord in that way.