Selfish “Christianity” 5

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 Greatest Commandment is to love God with all of your being, but our fallen nature means we love ourselves with all of our being. The Greatest Commandment teaches us to love all things for the sake of God, but self-love gives us the motives and intents of doing all for the sake of self. This is an important and vital distinction. The selfish heart loves God for the sake of self or for selfish purposes. The selfish heart hears something of a message that it thinks is the Gospel and it loves that gospel for the sake of self. This, again, shows the nature of our great need for a new heart. A heart that does all it does from self-love and cannot do anything apart from self-love is a heart that is damnable. That heart that does all from self-love does not need a little reformation, it needs to die to self and have the power of the living God in it.

We see the power of selfishness (a heart governed by self-love and pride) in the hearts of those who were earnestly seeking after Jesus in John 6. They went to great lengths to find Jesus. They had a great desire to find Jesus. They longed to be with Jesus. However, they wanted Jesus for something else. They wanted Jesus for something they could get. They wanted Jesus from the selfish desires of their hearts rather than out of a love for Jesus and who He really was. This should be a shock to our own religious hearts. Do we want Jesus for any other reason than for who He is? Do we want Jesus for what we think He will give us? Do we think of the Gospel as only a way to escape hell or is the Gospel all about the glory of God? Do we want Jesus and long for Him in order to obtain worldly things? Do we want Jesus in order to be protected from bad things in the world? Do we want Jesus in order to make us look good in our religious duties and in our religious circles?

The easy religious conversions that are rampant in our day are really not true conversions at all. These conversions are when self is converted from seeking outward sin to self seeking religious things. Notice, however, this immensely vital point and do not miss it. If the heart is not changed by God, then all religious conversions are really nothing but self changing its focus. The idol of self is the self. The self is what people worship until they die to self and have Christ as their very lives. Until the chief love of the heart is changed a person will seek God and all things for self. Until the chief love of the heart a person will use God and the things of religion to seek self. Imagine the shock of very religious people on that great day when their eyes are opened and they see that all of their religion and all of their so-called good works were nothing but acts of self-love and therefore idolatry.

The Great Commandment stands against all true selfishness of the heart. The Great Commandment stands against our pride and self-seeking. The Great Commandment teaches us to seek God out of love for Him and do all of our good works out of love for Him. The Great Commandment teaches us to flee from sin out of love for God. You see, and I am sure this will sound horrible to many; self can be a great idol in stopping sin. If we stop sin or flee from sin from a selfish heart, that still leaves us in the grips of a selfish heart that does all out of love for self rather than love for God. In our sins of commission and omission we serve self rather than love God. In what we pursue in the world or in religion we serve self rather than God. Whether we give ourselves to open sin or flee from open sin, we do those things out of self-love rather than love for God. The command is to love God with all of our being, but instead the unregenerate heart does all it does out of self-love. Behold the awfulness of self and what an idol it really is! You must be born again or you will always be the lover of self and as such it will always be your idol.

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