Selfish “Christianity” 56

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 virulent in its opposition to true Christianity, yet it is ignored in the modern teaching. The selfish heart opposes the truth about God, so ministers have watered down the truth about God and so people will flock to professing churches where the true God is not heard about. Selfish hearts love false teachings and they will love the false gods that are set out and so people are deceived. Selfish hearts will refuse to hear the true teachings about sin and yet they will do all sorts of man-centered programs so that they can live better lives when they are freed (to some degree) from those things that harm them (they may not call it sin).

The selfish heart is ignored when it comes to the Gospel as well. The good news of the Gospel is that man can be freed from their selfish hearts (in terms of utter slavery to it), washed by the blood of Christ, and given new hearts where Christ dwells and the Spirit works true love in them. When those things are ignored or simply not known, salvation becomes man-centered and man-focused. It becomes all about people and their comfort on this earth. If one can stomach it one can find these things on full display on religious television. God is only there to give people riches and worldly things or perhaps make them more comfortable while on earth. The concept of heaven is something where people can be happy and healthy with seemingly not a lot changed.

The nature of a selfish heart and the truth about the true God are intertwined and cannot be separated. As long as men have selfish hearts, they will hate the true God and love the false gods of their own imagination. As long as “ministers” do not handle the truth of a selfish heart and stress it to the people, the people will not know of their own eternally fatal condition and they will love a false god of their imaginations and they will hate the true God. At some point this basic truth will have to be faced by those who have multitudes of followers.

Recently a man asked me of a popular preacher who I thought preached the true Gospel. My answer was something to the order of that if they were popular in our day I do not think that they were preaching the true Gospel. If a man preached the true Gospel in our day, that man would not be popular. One can give biblical expositions, focus on historical figures, systematic theology, and perhaps famous confessions and really do nothing that will disturb men in their sin regarding the true God and the true nature of their own hearts. Now this position can sound arrogant, but that is not a sound argument against the position. In our degenerate day a man who preaches the truth will simply not be loved and his message will be maligned by popular preachers. This is true because popular preachers have large audiences of people who have selfish hearts who love to hear things that are not true about themselves and about God.

In the early 1700’s Solomon Stoddard penned some words that are very related to the present issue. They are solemn words and they are pointed words. They may be a cause for selfish hearts to rise against those words. However, if they are true then we live in a dark day indeed.

The work of regeneration being of absolute necessity unto salvation, it greatly concerns ministers especially, in all ways possible to promote the same; and in particular, that they guide souls aright who are under a work of preparation; some there be that deny any necessity of the preparatory work of the Spirit of God, in order to a closing with Christ. This is a very dark cloud, both as it is an evidence that such men have not the experience of that work in their own souls; and as it is a sign that such men are utterly unskillful in guiding others that are under this work; if this opinion should prevail in the land, it would give a deadly would to religion, it would expose men to think of themselves converted when they are not. (A Guide to Christ, International Outreach, Inc Ames, Iowa)

The words of Stoddard were true and seemingly prophetic regarding the state of Christianity in our land. We have ministers who are orthodox enough, who hold to the confessions enough, and perhaps preach expositional sermons enough. But if Stoddard was and is correct, that is far, far from enough. Orthodoxy can leave men in their sins. Confessions can leave men dead in their sins. Expositional sermons may just inform the intellect and give men more reasons to believe that they are converted when in fact they are not. We are in a dark day and the selfish hearts of ministers are happy as long as they receive their salaries. The selfish hearts of those in the congregations are happy as long as they can live in a way that fulfills their selfish hearts and will leave them undisturbed. We are truly in a time of great darkness in our day and this is what selfish “Christianity” leaves us with.

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