Selfish “Christianity” 11

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 power of self in the life of the world is rarely noticed except in extreme cases of blatant selfishness in doing harm to others. The power of self in the activities and functions of the churches seem to be even more rarely noticed. The power of self is not noticed in the ministry and not noticed by those in the pews. It is largely a neglected subject if not virtually unknown, so the power of self remains hidden in the darkness of hearts. It takes the light of Christ to shine in the hearts for people to really see the nature and power of sin.

I Cor 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

When we see that the text says that love is not jealous, if we even think for a moment we will remember that the Scriptures teach that God is love and that God is jealous. Spouses are told that they don’t love their spouse if s/he is jealous. Yet this really misses the point. There is a godly jealousy which is the opposite of a selfish jealousy. God, being perfect in love, is perfect in His jealousy as well. God, being perfect in love, has not the least tint of wrong in His jealous. True love, then, is not jealous in certain ways and is jealous in others. True love is jealous for the glory of God and true love is jealous for the spiritual good and holiness of others. True love is not jealous if God gives other people spiritual gifts and is not jealous when God gives others blessings.

Self, however, is the exact opposite; self is not truly concerned for the glory of God, but is instead jealous for its own glory. Self is not truly concerned about the spiritual good of others, but instead is jealous of others if one person appears to have more spiritual gifts. Self always wants to be the best preacher and the best elder and the best of whatever it wants. Self is jealous when others get the attention and honor. Self is jealous if another appears in a higher spot than it does. Self is jealous when another says something that is not wholly positive. Self is jealous when another is spoken well of and it is not. Clearly, self brings a lot of trouble when multiple people are around.

Self, being jealous as well, if it cannot in false humility get others to brag on self, will find a way to brag on self. True love, however, has true humility and wants others to be built up in the truth. True love, which can only come from God, is not arrogant and lifted up against God and His people. True love wants God to be manifested in and through His people, so this requires death to self. An arrogant person, even if that person is very religious, is one that is all for self and the religious person that is arrogant will try to hide that arrogance before others. It will feign humility and it will feign lowliness in order to hide the real arrogance of the heart. The love of self is arrogance against God and others, but true love is humble before God.

The selfish heart by sheer definition is a heart that is full of pride and arrogance. This self can be hidden beneath the rubbish of false humility and false religion, but it cannot be hidden from the all-seeing God. When God beholds the selfish heart, even if it is a very religious heart, He beholds Satan himself who is full of pride and arrogance in his hatred of God. As true love in the heart can only be from God’s work and as such God beholds His own glory in that heart, so the arrogant heart is the work of the evil one. A selfish heart that is full of self-love and pride is a heart that is like its father, and that father is the devil. Oh what a stench in the nostrils of God is the religious self who pretends to love God, pretends to do good works, pretends to preach orthodox sermons; but in the end it is nothing but the devil wanting to be like God.

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