Selfish “Christianity” 7

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 Scriptures (I Cor 13) tells us that there is nothing we can do that is acceptable if it is without love. This is very profound, yes, but we still need to probe away at it to get at the meaning. The Scriptures clearly do not mean that whatever we do out of self-love is okay, but instead in keeping with the Greatest Commandment all we do must be done out of love for God. The Scriptures are quite clear that self must be denied if we are going to follow Christ, so we can say with great confidence that all we do out of self-love is done without love for God and as such it is nothing.

1 Cor 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.

The greatest speaker in the world can speak with great rhetorical skills and move the people to great external morality, but apart from love for God and a desire for the people to love God, that preacher is nothing but a clanging cymbal in the hands of a terrible cymbal player. If a person could know all mysteries and have all knowledge (which the proud seem to think they have), yet they do not love God with all their being, they know those things and use those things out of self-love and so are nothing. Oh how preachers, seminary professors, and leaders in the churches need to think on these things. God is either the love of our hearts when we speak, lead, and teach or we are the chief love of our own hearts. We either have a true desire (regardless of what we say or try to convince ourselves of ) for those who listen to us to love and glorify God or we want them to be impressed by us.

Oh, say some, but I am just a simple person of simple faith. Well, the Scriptures speak to that as well. Even if a person has all faith and a faith that can remove mountains, if that person does not have love for God and desires those who see the mountains removed love God, then that person is doing it out of self-love and is nothing. There is truly no escape for the selfish heart other than the road of self-deception. The whole of our religion is overthrown by selfish hearts. All that a preacher does is either for self or it is out of love for God and the people. If the preacher loves God and the people in truth, then out of love for God and His glory he will want the people to love God and His glory.

The preacher or professor or elder that does not truly love God and desire the people to love God is a person that is a vicious idolater and uses people for the goals of self and self-glory. It is not a true love for God, even if the person is orthodox and says the right things, to desire the people to honor the preacher rather than point them to love God. If the desires of the selfish heart of the preacher are fulfilled, that is, that the people admire and honor him, then the preacher has hated God and the people. It is God alone who is good for the people. If the people are truly led to honor the preacher rather than God, then the preacher has led the people into idolatry. The hatred for the people is in that the preacher has desired himself to be honored more than God and has tried to get the people to admire and honor him rather than God. The preacher uses people to serve himself and his own pride and honor rather than using self to point to God and His glory. While it may be unthinkable to some, it might shock us to learn of the amount of idolatry that goes on each Sunday morning in professing churches.

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