Archive for the ‘Selfish “Christianity”’ Category

Selfish “Christianity” 62

June 11, 2017

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 taints or destroys all that it touches. While all things have been created for the purposes and glory of God, the selfish heart taints what it touches because it will have all things be for its own purposes and glory. The selfish heart may long for knowledge of God and the Gospel, but it will long for those things for selfish purposes. The same men that Paul would not send to the Philippians because they sought their own interests can surely be thought of as studying and praying for their own interests instead of Christ’s. Those same men would have evangelized and preached for their own interests as well. The selfish heart will use the things of God as things of self and even use God Himself for selfish purposes.

The selfish heart, while indeed it may be in darkness and have its own motives and intents hidden from it, views all things from a selfish purpose. True Christianity is something that it will use for its own purposes, but when it does it is no longer true Christianity. The Scriptures (I Cor 8:1) teaches us that knowledge puffs up but love edifies. One way to think of that verse and how it applies is to say that the selfish heart will use all knowledge for self and that will puff the person up with pride about the knowledge s/he now possesses. The true Christian (though not perfectly) studies to know God and to glorify and honor God which is what true love does. So the selfish heart studies the Bible for selfish goals and ends, but love studies the Bible for the glory of God. The selfish heart may tell itself that it studies for the glory of God, but it has changed what the glory of God really means at that point.

The arrogance of the selfish heart is perhaps beyond measure (by men) as it studies the Bible and studies the character of God for the purposes of exalting self. The scholar, the professor at colleges and seminaries, pastors, elders, and all others need to beware of this. We cannot study the Bible and remain unchanged. A selfish heart will grow more and more proud as it studies. A selfish heart will grow in its spiritual blindness even as it grows in knowledge. This is so incredibly dangerous, yet it explains so many things. One can have a vast amount of knowing things about the Bible and yet to the degree it knows things about the Bible it will be spiritually blind and yet proud. It thinks it is using a means of grace and yet it is growing in blindness and pride!

The selfish heart must be broken from its pride before it can truly study the Bible and have spiritual knowledge. Oh how devastating this should be to the pride and self-sufficiency of men, yet even this can be used to puff men up. There is nothing that a proud and selfish heart will not do or use in order to gain honor in its own eyes and the eyes of others. The proud and selfish heart will know that it must be humble in order to receive grace, so the proud and selfish heart will find a way to appear humble to self and to others. It will gain a lot of knowledge about humility and so deceive itself that it is humble. The proud and selfish heart will be proud of its humility and yet so blind it does not see that it is proud of its humility proud of how humble it is before others.

When the proud and selfish heart has deceived itself regarding its own humility, it will now be deceived into thinking it has a way to receive grace. As long as the selfish heart thinks that humility is something it can work up, it will think that it can obtain grace by being humble. However, this is nothing but the appearance of humility and is nothing but pride and selfishness. It is nothing but an attempt to dispense grace or even earn grace as it pleases. It is the selfish heart using religion as a way to obtain honor for itself and salvation for itself. It is the selfish heart playing God and using God to gain what the selfish heart desires. When a church has a minister like that, then it is clear that regardless of the minister’s stated theology that minister is a vile and selfish wretch who is using the things of God to gain honor as he seeks his own interests rather than Christ’s.

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Selfish “Christianity” 61

June 9, 2017

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 a heart that longs for independence and it finds its independence (in its own mind) from God to some degree by relying on self through the teaching of free-will. It thinks that by praying a prayer it can obtain salvation from God. It thinks that by obeying the commands of God by the power of self it can obtain rewards from God. It thinks that by following religious duties that it can get what it asks for from God. Notice, however, that all that the selfish heart wants it thinks that it must obtain them from God. It believes (at least by implication) that grace can be obtained in accordance with its desires and actions.

The selfish heart may never say and may not know that it believes that it can obtain grace as it pleases, but that is the position of the selfish heart. Grace is provided and yet it must be obtained and applied by what the self does. This is, very clearly, quite opposite to biblical Christianity and the whole doctrine of grace in the Bible. God gives grace according to Himself and His own glory and not according to the merit and works of men. It cannot get any clearer than that, but the selfish heart does what it does for self and uses the things of Christianity (it thinks) to obtain grace for what it longs for and desires for the purposes of self.

Roman Catholicism thought the “Church” was able to dispense grace as it pleases. The Reformers said that God dispensed grace as God pleased. While original Protestantism was biblical, we have now moved to the point where grace is dispensed according to men. It is true that some use the term “means of grace” and that is not necessarily a bad term, but it can be (and often is) used in pretty much the same way as Roman Catholicism did. The “Church” (according to some Protestants) has the means of grace and if people want grace they attend church (as they say) and use the means of grace to obtain grace. However, the obtaining of grace is no longer a sovereign act of God it is up to the people. Protestants have moved almost in a full circle and are back to the position that the Reformers fought against.

We can see the selfish heart in this. It will fight and fight against God being actually and really sovereign and will have grace in its own hands to dispense in a way it can obtain grace as it pleases. It will come up with a theory and it will do about anything, but self will not have a sovereign God reign over it and do as He pleases. This is as true in the Reformed ranks as anywhere else. We want a God we can control (to some degree and in some way) and a God who will do what we want in accordance with our religious actions. The selfish heart will twist and turn and come up with biblical terms and biblical doctrines (at least in appearance) to allow self to remain in control of grace even as it denies it in theory.

When the selfish heart is able to dispense grace as it pleases, biblical Christianity has disappeared even in the midst of many biblical doctrines and practices. The selfish heart will leave in place or change just slightly doctrines and practices of true Christianity, but that selfish heart always wants some control to where it does not have to truly and really rely on God and His sovereign will completely. The selfish heart wants to retain enough control to make it sovereign and rely on self in reality while in appearance it is trusting in God. At some point and in some way the selfish heart will retain control and have all things bow at its feet. In other words, the selfish heart destroys true Christianity in its desire to remain in control and yet keeps the appearance or name of true Christianity. It is a fiend and incredibly deceptive and leaves a swathe of destruction and deception in its wake.

Selfish “Christianity” 60

June 7, 2017

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 a heart that loves self, is full of self, and is motivated only by self and the glory of self and the things that are of benefit to self. Therefore, it is opposed to true Christianity which loves God, is full of God, and is motivated by God and His glory and the things that are of benefit to God. The two are as opposite as darkness and light. In fact, the self is darkness while God and His glory is light. From the verses above we can see how much a God who is perfectly holy and loves Himself as triune would be opposed to a fallen creature who loves itself instead of Him and His glory.

How wicked it must be in His pure and holy sight to have selfish hearts seek after Christ (John 6:26) because they wanted free food rather than to seek Him for who He was. We must remember that Jesus taught in John 14 that the Father was in Him and He was in the Father, so that the Father was seen in Him. This was astonishing to the disciples, but the Father was with the disciples in and through Jesus. This means that when people sought the Christ (after a sign/miracle of who He was) for food rather than to behold the glory of God in Him, they were committing an awful act of idolatry. They were choosing food over God Himself. The same is true today. When people seek Christ and pray in His name (so they think) for things, they are seeking Christ (in a sense) and using the name of Christ in a vain way in order to obtain things for self. They are choosing the things they seek rather than God when they do that despite what their religion may say.

What is a wicked heart doing when it seeks religious things and even the ministry (Philippians 2:19-21) out of the interests of self rather than the interests of Christ? It is seeking self rather than the true God and even using God for the interests of self. What is a minister who is seeking the interests of self rather than the interests of Christ? He (or she these days) is a minister of the devil who is not concerned about the sheep of God. He is also a person who has a monstrous pride in preferring himself to the true good of the congregation and his own pocket and or honor to the glory of God. The “minister” that seeks the interests of self rather than the interests of Christ (in truth and from the heart) is a monster who is playing God to self and to the people.

A professing church needs to think on these things as it looks for a minister and the true sheep of God need to think on these things as it looks at the “minister” in the pulpit where they attend. Could it be that the man who is so nice and so kind and perhaps a very knowledgeable man in the Bible or in theology is really a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Could it be that he is hiding his own selfish heart from himself and others by his knowledge and his niceness? Could it be that he is actually a very religious person and is deceived by his own selfish heart? We live in such a day where it is acceptable to know the facts of things and yet not have any real experience of them, which means the very “ministers” in the professing Christian churches can be selfish beings who seek themselves instead of Christ and they are not even noticed. It is so wicked for men to do this, but they may be blind to it. However, when a congregation cannot detect this in the minister, it does not bode well for them at all. What a spiritual curse it is on a congregation to have a selfish minister who is blinded to his own true spirituality by his selfish heart. However, God does send “ministers” to wicked people in order to blind them more and more.

Selfish “Christianity” 59

June 5, 2017

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 perhaps the most under stated and under taught of any of the vital doctrines other than the twin truths of the sovereignty of God and the God-centeredness of God. I am not sure that I have ever heard a sermon on the selfish nature of the depraved heart, though it is also true that I am not sure I have ever heard a serious sermon on the depravity of man. These things have been mentioned (though not selfishness in this sense) and yet they have not been explained in a way that the heart has been opened up to people. The importance of these twin truths and how they are related can be seen by an analogy given by Calvin. He said that until we see God we will not see and know ourselves, yet until we see ourselves we will not understand God. The twin truths of the selfish heart of man (depravity and inability) and the sovereignty and God-centeredness of God are twin truths where as one grows in the understanding of one the other will help the vision with the other.

When the true God is seen and He is willing to shine light in our hearts, we will see the darkness and horror of what a selfish heart is. A selfish heart is a heart that has been trying to live as God to itself. It has been the religion of self and it has been worship of self. The selfish heart will see how opposed to the true God it has been and how it has been self that has twisted the truth of God and tried to make God like self. The selfish heart will see how it has followed its own wisdom instead of the living God and as such made self out to be wiser than God. The selfish heart will see that it has tried to live by the power of self rather than the power of God. The selfish heart will see that it has turned the truth of who God is into a lie and has made self out to be the god of self.

It is only in the light of who the true God is that the true nature of the self-centered heart that is full of self and loves self as its own god (idolatry) will be seen. When self judges all things by self, it will always justify self rather than justify God. When self is the standard or reference point for what is right and true and good, it will always be full of self-righteousness. When self is its own standard, then that is an insufferable pride in the sight of the living God who is the only real standard for truth. In the light of the true God the selfish heart will have the light to see all the darkness and blackness of what a selfish heart really is. It will be vile in its own sight.

As we think on these things, we can also see just how dangerous a selfish heart really is. It is the selfish heart that is hardened to the truth of God and to the truth of self. As the selfish heart falls into a greater darkness, it will begin to think of self as light and when self is the light how great will its darkness be. As the selfish heart is blinded more and more to the nature of self, it will fall into a greater darkness regarding self and then more darkness regarding the true and living God. The proud heart of self will grow even more proud and it will become more and more reliant upon self to justify the wickedness of self. The darker the selfish heart becomes the more idolatrous it becomes as it looks to self and suppresses the truth of God more and more.

Preaching that focuses on the self in order to motivate self to do religious things or outwardly good things brings nothing but darkness and judgment on the self. Preaching to the self is really a way to promote the pride of self and the idolatrous nature of self. Preaching to self is how the self becomes blinded to the truth of what it means to truly love God as the only true motivation for life. The greatest danger in the world is not nuclear weapons as such; it is false teaching about the true nature of God and false teaching about the true nature of self. The professing Church is full of teaching on sin as acts we do and on a repentance that is in the power of self to do. The professing Church is full of teaching about a false gospel that is good news to the selfish heart of man. In other words, the professing Christian world is full of books and other forms of teaching based on the self which is to say it is not Christian at all. Until the true nature of self is exposed, the true nature of sin will not be seen, the true nature of repentance will be hidden, and the true Gospel cannot be preached. There is no wonder that the professing Church is weak and without any true spiritual power. It is part of the problem and has no cure at all.

Selfish “Christianity” 58

June 3, 2017

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.

If it is the case that selfish hearts are busily working at coming up with a god that is acceptable to the selfish heart, then we should ask the question as to what kind of gods are those selfish hearts coming up with. In one sense this shows us just how wicked the heart is toward the living God and just how much the selfish heart is opposed to the true and living God. This also shows us why selfish hearts are so virulent in their opposition to true Christianity and so defensive of their false gods. The false gods are the gods of their own imaginations and if they give those up they might have to face the truth of who the real God really is. That is so opposite of the desires and loves of the selfish heart that it responds with anger when faced with the truth.

While God has made man in His own image, fallen (selfish) man wants a god made in his own image. Fallen man will twist and contort all facts in order to come up with a god that is according to his own desires. What does the fallen man desire concerning God? I would argue that fallen man longs to have a god in name and yet one that he can control. Fallen man wants to be like God, that is, he wants to be independent and he wants to make his own moral choices. In other words, fallen man wants to be in control and be free from the control of others. Selfish man then is always looking for a way to retain control in the things of God as well.

Selfish man wants control of his own salvation, yet the only way he can do this is to change (in his mind) the character of God from being absolutely sovereign to one who is sovereign enough to do what the man will desire. This is perhaps the most wicked part of Arminianism. It wrests sovereignty from God and gives it to man who can then decide according to his own will. Oh no, they say, that is not what is going on. However, it is precisely what is going on. The heart and basis of Arminian and Pelagian thinking is that of self being in control and not God. The doctrine of the free-will, though not stated as such, is really the selfish heart’s attempt to yank sovereignty from God and be sovereign itself.

The selfish heart wants a god that it can control and it thinks it can do so by being good and by what it prays. The selfish heart twists prayer from what it should be to the precise opposite. The heart should seek God in prayer for God to conform the heart to God. The selfish or Arminian type of prayer is to seek God to become like the desires of the heart of the one praying. The selfish heart also thinks that by conforming to certain patterns of behavior that God will give the person things that it wants. What is all this but making religion a way to manipulate and control God or a way of self being in control? The selfish heart seems so natural when it tries to wrest control from God and then tries to control God by means of behavior and prayer.

What the selfish heart seeks to avoid at all costs is a God who is truly sovereign and cannot be swayed from seeking His own glory by the behavior and prayers of selfish hearts. The selfish heart also seeks to avoid the true doctrine of grace and wants to make grace something it can obtain by what it does as well. The selfish heart mimics God in thinking that it has the power to dispense grace. This is also true of so many ministers. They seem to think that they can talk people into being saved and that they can talk God into giving people things. This is nothing more than a minister playing God in his own selfish heart and wanting to appear that way to the people. The only god acceptable to a selfish heart is one that the selfish heart can control. Even those who teach on sovereignty and say that they are Reformed can use those things in an effort to try to control God as well. A selfish heart will try to use orthodoxy to get God to do what it pleases. The selfish heart is such a vile thing that it takes a work of Divine grace to change it.

Selfish “Christianity” 57

June 1, 2017

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.

It may not seem like a big issue to those who think in terms of Universalism or in line with the various gods that men dream up, but the fact that the living and true God is the God that men hate and are at enmity with is a huge deal. If the proud and selfish hearts of men dream up false gods to suit themselves and one that self can live with, then we cannot be overly careful to be sure that we are seeking the true God. If our hearts are driven by enmity against the true God, then it is vital for us to take pains to seek the true God that is set out in Scripture. If our hearts are more deceptive than all else and are desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9), then we cannot trust ourselves to find the true God based on our selfish hearts which deceive us.

Why are people so religious? Is it because of the good they will receive? Why is it that it seems that the vast majority of people in the world are religious to some degree? One answer is that God has made Himself known in the hearts of men and in and through creation. It takes a lot of work to deny that God exists. Another answer is that not only is it obvious that God exists, but that men have selfish hearts and rather than try to totally deny the true God they simply contort and twist and work hard at coming up with a God that their selfish hearts can love. Could it be that the false religions of the world and those who are satisfied with false views of Christianity have something in common?

Ecumenical thinking is still quite common in our day, and the reality of the matter is that it is quite understandable. If all men are born dead in sins and trespasses (dead in their selfish hearts) and yet they have the true God planting His truth in them and creation also testifies to them, all selfish hearts having the same father (the devil) they will all gravitate toward things they can agree with. Those who are dead in sin and are driven by the desires of self will have religions that have something in common. In reality, all religions of selfish men are driven by the ability of self to gain the favor of God. The only religion that does not teach that men can obtain the favor of God by the works and acts of self is Christianity.

It is this Christianity that the natural man hates. It is this Christianity that so many have adopted in name and yet have denied the power of it. It is this Christianity that there are so many who are at enmity with and yet they have taken the name of it. There are many haters of God who have taken the name of Christian and practice what they view as Christianity.

The selfish heart can find comfort of sorts in groups of “Christians” who are radical in their forms of dress. The selfish heart can find comfort in groups of “Christians” who are radical in their pursuit of external holiness. The selfish heart can find comfort in groups of “Christians” who are radical in their pursuit of doctrinal purity. The selfish heart can find comfort in groups of “Christians” who are quite legalistic. The selfish heart can find comfort in groups of “Christians” who are very spirited in their singing and give themselves to forms of worship. The selfish heart can find comfort in groups of “Christians” who are given to evangelism (so-called). In other words, the selfish heart is always looking for a way that it can earn some form of favor before God and it is looking for others that it can deceive itself along with.

On the one hand we can see how so many false gods and false versions of Christianity can come about, but we may not understand the real father of those things. The father of the unbeliever is the devil and he is the father of the selfish heart. In this way the deceptive power of the evil one is hidden as it simply appears that those versions of “Christianity” come from earnest people who are studying the Bible. The reality behind the curtain is that those versions of “Christianity” are coming from people who have selfish hearts and when they study the Bible they are studying for the purposes of self. Instead of those people being conformed to Christ, they are conforming what they read to their selfish hearts and it becomes the deceptions of the evil one.

If this is a correct view of things, then what we have in our day are versions of Christianity that come from selfish hearts that twist the Scriptures rather than the Bible itself. People are walking in the doors Sunday after Sunday of buildings that have “church” on the door and they are deceived by all the religious activity going on there. However, it is not the Christianity of the Bible. The Scriptures teach that we must repent of self and that we must die to self. The false versions of Christianity are built on enabling people to seek the very self that they are commanded by God to deny. Thus, we have a proliferation of selfish “Christianity” which has just enough truth to deceive people. We live in a day of a great and vast spiritual famine, but this is not inconsistent with a lot of false versions of Christianity flourishing. We must seek the Lord for His truth and grace.

Selfish “Christianity” 56

May 28, 2017

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.

Selfish “Christianity” 55

May 26, 2017

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 true nature of sin as against God cannot be understood and cannot truly be felt deeply in the conscious until a person sees sin as against God (all of God) and His glory. It is not enough for people to know that they have violated a law and that they are trespassers of the law of God, but they must know that they are sinners with the deepest dye possible. They are dyed in the deepest colors of sin. They have committed acts of treason and of enmity against the sovereign of the universe. It is when a person knows these things and then understands and feels the weight of the charges and of the guilt of sin that the person is truly convicted of sin.

It appears (to me and my somewhat limited vision) that sin is taught in a way today that even the natural man (the selfish man) would feel guilty of it. There is some objective law and when that law is broken is brings guilt, though many deny that today. However, for those who believe that they then tell the person that the law stands against the person (and it does) and that the person cannot make up for that guilt (and the person cannot). But again, the most selfish person on the planet can see that without a change of heart. It is also easy enough to know that only Christ can make satisfaction for sin, but again the natural man and the selfish man can see that.

All of this so far should bring us to the point where we can see that the selfish heart can have a form of conviction of sin and yet the true nature of sin (the selfish heart that is opposed to God and at enmity with God) is left untouched. People are taught that they are sinners (which a selfish heart can agree with) and that they must make some form of commitment to God (and the selfish heart can love to do that). There is nothing that a selfish person cannot do in terms of the external nature of sin. The true preaching and teaching regarding sin and the nature of the selfish heart will expose the wicked and selfish hearts of men in their enmity against God. This will drive men to gnash their teeth against the truth.

When the heart of selfishness is exposed to the sinner and the sinner has his or her eyes opened to see the true nature of the selfish heart, that is the sinner who will seek the Lord for a new heart. Until that wicked heart is opened up to the mind and understanding and until that wicked heart sees itself as selfish and at enmity with God, it will not see itself in need of a new heart other than perhaps in some hypothetical way. The selfish heart will not see that it really and truly needs a new heart (and be a new creation) from the hand of God until it gives up all hope in what it can do. The selfish heart will go to great lengths to be religious as long as it can keep that selfish heart which it cannot do when it is granted a true repentance from God. Oh how we need to hear these things from the pulpits in our land today, but we also know that the mega-“churches” would no longer be mega if these things were done.

Selfish “Christianity” 54

May 24, 2017

In thinking through the whole issue of what it means to have a selfish heart, it has become glaringly obvious that there are other truths that are transparently and inextricably tied to this. The depravity of man is clearly tied to this, and as such the inability of man is linked with this. It may be the truth that the inability of man regarding spiritual things cannot be truly understood apart from the selfish heart of man. A man cannot love God when he loves himself. A man cannot do one spiritual act because he has no ability to do anything beyond his own selfish heart.

The Bondage of the Will was Luther’s greatest work. It is given many accolades at times, yet it appears that his message has been lost in the modern day. While Luther did not specifically and clearly talk about selfishness in the way that theologians and pastors did in the 17 and 1800’s, he did speak of it. With the backdrop of Luther’s belief about the will in mind, he was also very strong on man’s inability and the sovereignty of God.

The selfish heart of man is at war with the sovereignty of God and it hates the sovereignty of God. The selfish heart of man strikes at the truth of God and as such the truth of man, which means that the selfish heart of man is at war with the Gospel of the glory of God. Man wants the glory and man wants to choose rather than leave those in the hands of God. A selfish heart is the most wicked thing in the world in that it is at war with God and will not glorify God. A selfish heart will be very religious or it will be outwardly wicked and yet it does all for self regardless of whether it is religious or not.

When men deny the selfish heart of man and the total inability of man, what they are doing is denying the sovereignty of God and of the biblical Gospel. This sounds strange and harsh in our day, but how can one speak a true Gospel to those who are in bondage to their sin of self and leave it up to the self to make a choice and save itself? How can one speak the true Gospel of God when the true God is sovereign and He is gracious to whom He will be gracious?

The selfish heart is a terrible truth, yet it is true. It expains how man is at enmity with God though he may not know it is. It explains how man can justify all he does since all he does he is a way of using self as the basis for what he does. It explains why men can accept the rational doctrine of the sovereignty of God and yet deny it in the application of evangelism and salvation. It expains why so many ministers are so ashamed of this great truth of God and appear to want to hide it.

The selfish heart is not just true about open and vicious sinners, it is true of very religious people as well. We can see this regarding the Pharisees. All they did was for themselves. All their religious acts and all their righteousness was for themselves. It is still true today. Men use religion to exalt self in their own eyes and others. Until self is repented of, there is no true repentance. Until self is repented of, there is no true bowing before God. Until self is repented of, there is no true bowing and accepting the Gospel of the glory of God. It is that important.

Selfish “Christianity” 50

April 30, 2017

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.

While it can and perhaps does sound arrogant, the question must be asked. If what Luther said was true about the heart of the Gospel, and the modern version ignores what Luther said, then is one right and the other wrong or can both be right or both be wrong? The selfish heart that is full of self and pride fights the true idea of depravity though it can accept it in theory. The selfish heart hates the reality of being utterly dependent upon God for grace to save it and sanctify it. The selfish heart hates the reality of its own inability and as such will change certain truths about God in order to retain some ability. That is precisely what those who assert free-will do. That is precisely what those who will not teach the absolute inability of man in salvation and in doing spiritual good are doing. They are wavering on the truth of who man is and the selfish heart loves it so.

The selfish heart is at war with the true God and since it must always be in control it must change the truth of who God is in order to retain control. The selfish heart will gather all it can around it and take its aberration and make it the orthodox view. The selfish heart, whether religious or not, will always be at war with the truth of God. This is an absolute truth that each person must recognize about him or herself and about others. The truth of God is not just set out in Scripture and all we have to do is read it in order to discover that truth, but the truth of God is set out in a way that God alone can reveal it to men. Those who do not have it, regardless of how smart they are, cannot discover it apart from grace. Ministers and professors at colleges and seminaries cannot understand the truth of God apart from grace showing them. The selfish heart hates that and will fight that so self will have some control in its own eyes.

It is not always a crass and weak view of God that is preached in order to tickle the ear of men, but it can be a strong view of God but a god that allows men freedom and a god that allows men to have control. The selfish man hates the true concept of a sovereign God and will fight that truth of God tooth and nail. The selfish man can be a very religious man and be a stalwart of conservatism and yet hate the true concept of the sovereignty of God. The selfish man may be a very religious man and a stalwart of orthodox theology and be a professing Calvinist and yet at the same time that man can be at war with God over who is truly sovereign. Oh how easy it is for the logical mind to grasp some of the great truths of God and use that to climb denominational ladders or to go from small churches to bigger ones. However, that does not make the heart any less selfish. In fact, it can be exactly and precisely what a selfish heart will do.

This is what we must be brought to see. This is not just some theoretical truth that we can accept as true in theory. This is what is true of each of our own hearts unless God is pleased to give us new hearts. Each heart is born dead in sins and trespasses and by nature a child of wrath. Each heart is selfish, proud, and does all from self-love apart from the new birth. Each heart longs to be as God and lives as god to itself. Each heart is at war with God and is at enmity with Him over who will reign over “me.” The selfish heart will love false gods and false theology, but it will never love the true God unless it is born from above. The selfish heart is diametrically opposed to the sovereign God of reality and will gather all others that it can to be on its side.

Going back to the original question in the first paragraph regarding Luther, I would assert that we are far from following Luther on this gigantically important point. It may be that we are as far from Luther at this point as the Roman Catholics were in his day. Is it that big of a deal to be that far from Luther? Perhaps not, because the real issue is over the truth of whom the real God is. However, if Luther was right, then our day is dead wrong and we are for from the biblical truths that Luther set out. We must also remember that a true Reformation and true Revival happened when God opened the eyes of Luther to the great truths of man’s inability and His free and sovereign grace. We must seek the Lord to open our eyes as only He can do so and if He does not we are lost in our selfish hearts. We must have free and sovereign grace to open our eyes and our hearts.