Not So Random Thoughts 16

Matthew 22:29 But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31 “But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32 ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB ‘? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.

If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. (Augustine)

Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

I am confident that I (and many others) do not feel the weight of Matthew 23:15 as I should. If a person becomes a convert of a person or a system rather than a true convert of Christ, that person is deceived. The weight of this is quite enormous and perhaps there are things hidden in the thought here. Preaching a gospel is not the same thing as preaching THE Gospel. Evangelizing in name is not the same thing as true and biblical evangelism, of which THE Gospel is central and not a gospel. One cannot truly evangelize without the true Gospel.

The weight of the thought that the true Gospel is absolutely necessary to true evangelism should make us pause. When the religious elite were so deceived in the time of Jesus, then that should make us wonder if the religious elite of our day are deceived. When the scholars of the time of Jesus (the Scribes) were deceived, that should make us wonder if the scholars in our day are deceived as well. Speaking and writing with great learning is a far different thing than speaking and writing by the power and grace of God.

The weight of the biblical fact that sinners (whether religious or not) are constantly suppressing the truth of God in unrighteousness and that includes some or many who are ministers and teachers, then this should awaken our hearts to something important. The Gospel is the Gospel of God, yet all unconverted people are at enmity with Him. That enmity and their love of self drive them to twist and contort the biblical teaching of God who is the same God who is in their conscience and has revealed Himself to them. These are the people who reject what they don’t like in the true Gospel and accept what they like. In other words, they reject what is there of the true God and they only accept what is fitting with their selfish hearts that love themselves. Wherever the true God is set forth, the natural man will reject that true God.

When a natural man is a minister or a person who is preaching or evangelizing, that natural man will say what he says and do what he does out of self-love and interests rather than setting forth the true God. The natural man will water down the true Gospel so far that it is all about man and has almost nothing of God in it other than what the natural man can love. When Matthew teaches us that sinners love those who love themselves, we should learn from that. Sinners only love a god who loves them according to their own natural desires and will do what they want. Evangelists (professional or not) and ministers “feel” that and adjust their teaching to something where the sinner will love them and the so-called “god” that they present.

In our day ministers (not absolutely all) and evangelists have “exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” When the true God is taken out or hidden from the Gospel of God, you now have a false god and as such another god and another gospel. This is perhaps the main way that ministers and evangelists make converts of themselves rather than converts of Christ. After all, they are not preaching and evangelizing with the Gospel of the true God, but instead they are preaching and evangelizing with the gospel of the god that self loves. The buildings that people call “churches” are then filled with those who hate God and the true Gospel and the only worship that occurs is the worship of self. Each Sunday people gather to worship a false god and yet that false god is self. Is there any wonder that the professing Church is in such a mess in our day?

Oh, some say, but I am Reformed or I am this or I am that. A person can be a convert to Reformed theology instead of Christ. A person can be a convert to the historical writings out of love for self rather than love for Christ. One can be given over to a life that adores the writings of men who wrote the truth of Christianity and yet love the learning rather than love Christ Himself. It is possible and even easy to love the logic of Christianity as set forth in the historical creeds and not love the true Christ. It is possible to be devoted to the false god of self and be a conservative and Reformed person in creed. We can love the words of Christ to Nicodemus about being born from above and yet not be born from above. We are not converted by hearing words about these things and we are not converted by knowing in our heads these things, but we are only converted if God changes our hearts by His Divine power. It is much easier to make converts if we leave the true God out of it. That is what selfish hearts have done and as such when men make converts (rather than God) they make converts of themselves and those people are twice the sons of hell.

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