“Those People” Need Christ Too

by G C Forsman

Jesus, friend of sinners, we have strayed so far away
We cut down people in your name but the sword was never ours to swing
Jesus, friend of sinners, the truth’s become so hard to see
The world is on their way to You but they’re tripping over me
Always looking around but never looking up I’m so double minded
A plank eyed saint with dirty hands and a heart divided

Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks your

 ~ Casting Crowns

As Christians, we are doing an absolutely horrible job of sharing Christ with with world. I have thought this for some time now, and a recent post (An Open Rebuke… Er… Letter to the Western Church) by my friend Daniel M. Klem got me to thinking.

Certainly there are great people that God is using to make a difference, but what about each and every one of us who claim to be Christians?  Are we doing our part? How many people have you spoken with about Christ lately? How many Gay people have you convinced that Christians do not hate them? How many times have you crossed the racial lines to show the love of Christ? Do your actions show others that Christ really does make a difference in your life? Do your actions make others want what you have, or do they drive people further from Christ?

Paula White said, “God doesn’t focus on your current state, He speaks to you from your future! He knows your potential!” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we saw the potential in each other instead of everything that’s wrong with a person. Maybe if we spent less time talking about people, and more time praying for them things could change.

Make an effort to love others through Christ as they are,
and leave it up to God to transform their lives!
~ Paula White

What is a Christian’s Role in the World

by G C Forsman

Everywhere you look, there are Christians being persecuted.

Hindu Extremists Refuse to Let Christians Buy and Sell in India

Christian Couple Attacked for Refusing to Recant Faith

Priest Beheaded as Crowd Cheers

School Shuts Off Mic as Valedictorian Voices Faith

Here in America, we know our country was founded on Biblical Principles. However, that doesn’t matter to people today. The church has always been persecuted. Jesus said “Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20, NKJV)

Murder is being committed in incredible numbers and justified a choice.

Doctor Found Guilty of First Degree Murder in Philadelphia Abortion Case

Second House of Horrors, Abortion Clinic is Investigated in Texas

“You shall not murder.” (Exodus 20:13, NKJV)

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you.” (Jeremiah 1:5, NKJV)

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.” (Psalm 139:13–16, NKJV)

Gay Marriage is Accepted and Glorified

College Professor Demands Students Support Homosexual Behavior

Franklin Graham: No One is Entitled to Rearrange God’s Divine Order

The Homosexual in America

Selling Homosexuality to America

Gay Marriage Ruling Already in Use in Other Cases

State , Gay Couple Sue Christian Flower Shop

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22, NKJV)

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9–10, NKJV)

Where Does That Leave Christians?

How should the Church respond to a culture that seems increasingly hostile toward Christianity and Christian principles?

We need to stop trying to inform people about the past, and start making an impact for today. As we see our culture, and the world, deteriorating into a moral-less ball of confusion it is our job to point the world to Christ. Resist the idea to run away from the world and cry “poor me.” We cannot seek special protection as a persecuted minority.

We seem to forget that right after God listed all of those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God, He added, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, NKJV) We need to engage the culture in a different way, our authority and power as Christians is not derived by any government institution; it is a gift from our Father in Heaven, The Almighty God. We must defend the truth lovingly, cheerfully, with a child-like charm and innocence.  Allowing others to see Jesus in all we do and say.

In a 2000 sermon, John Piper draws out six truths from 1 Peter 2:9-17 about how Christians should be involved in society and culture.

________

1. We were once all in darkness, along with the whole world.

Notice the phrase near the end of verse 9: “Him who has called you out of darkness.” We were once in darkness. The darkness of sin and unbelief and ignorance about God and his ways. It was the darkness of deadness in sin, as Paul says in Ephesians 2:5. This is the condition of our culture and our society. And we were once a part of it by nature. Why are we no longer?

2. God called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

This truth comes from the same phrase in verse 9: “Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” We are not by nature smarter or wiser or more courageous than those who remain in darkness. The difference is that God exerted toward us an absolutely undeserved and compelling kindness: he called us. Paul put it like this in1 Corinthians 1:23-24, “We preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” It was the omnipotent call of God that wakened us from the spiritual sleep of death and opened our eyes to the power and wisdom of God in Christ. Let us never forget: Free and powerful grace alone is the decisive reason that we are able to see the darkness of our culture and be free in some measure from it.

3. God’s aim in calling us out of darkness is to send us back to (but not in) that darkness to “proclaim his excellencies.”

Now all of verse 9: “But you are a chosen race, A royal priesthooda holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” That is why you have been called out. That is why you are God’s people, a chosen race. We exist to display with word and deed the excellencies of God. This is the way God’s call came to us. Freely we received, now let us freely give. Our witness is not the same as the call of God. But God’s call happens through our display of God’s excellencies. When we speak and show God’s excellencies to others, we provide the truth that God may grant the blind to see. If we say nothing, they will see nothing. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). And new birth is “through the living and abiding word,” the gospel (1 Peter 1:23-25).

4. God’s aim is that the way we make his excellencies known to the darkened culture around us take place both by avoidance and by engagement.

This is very crucial to see. Some err here by stressing one to the exclusion of the other. One group is swept away with social action. Another is absorbed in personal holiness. The Biblical way is both/and, not either/or.

Notice verse 11: “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.” This is the avoidance ethic. And it is absolutely right and necessary. There are things in our culture that we should simply avoid and abstain from.

But notice verse 12: “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” Here we are “among the Gentiles.” Here we are going on display to the Gentiles. Here we are not just avoiding their effect on us, we are aiming at having an effect on them with positive action. “They observe your good deeds and glorify God.”

Over and over in the New Testament the writers stress that we were created and converted to be engaged relentlessly in a life of public good deeds. Indeed, Titus 1:14says that Christ died to “purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” The term “good deeds” does not mean sitting at home watching wholesome videos instead of going out and watching dirty movies. Good deeds means designing ministries for caring for AIDS orphans in Africa, and feeding the malnourished, and housing the homeless, and teaching the illiterate and ignorant, and freeing the addicted and fighting crime and visiting the prisoner and befriending the lonely, laboring in the cause of protecting the unborn and relieving the crisis of unexpected pregnancies, and a thousand other visible ways of doing good to others in the name of Jesus (see Titus 2:7-8;3:8Hebrews 10:22Matthew 5:16).

My point here is that, in relation to our sin-riddled culture, we should pursue both avoidance and engagement; both purity of heart and merciful involvement, both personal holiness and public justice. In short, we should with the mind of Christ be both culture-denying and cultural transforming. The transformed mind steeped in scripture will discern when and how.

5. Submission to cultural institutions (like the state, and places of employment and family) is not canceled out by our freedom in Christ (and our citizenship being in heaven, and our being “strangers and exiles on earth), but our submission is put on a whole new footing of submission to God.

You see the call to submission in verse 13: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution.” Christians are not self-assertive rebels who kick against the pricks of regulations in government and business and schools and home. We are eager to be supportive and compliant wherever it does not compromise our commitment to Christ our king.

But notice the words in verse 13, “for the Lord’s sake.” Or: “On account of the Lord.” Once we may have been submissive out of fear, or out of conniving for advancement, or out of greed, or out of laziness, or because we believed that these earthly institutions really were our master. But that is not how Christians submit now. It is for the Lord’s sake.

Verse 16 is Peter’s interpretation of those crucial words: “Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.” We are free. We are not slaves to any human institution. So why submit? Why not drive at any speed we want? Why not pay whatever tax we feel like? Why not come to class late? Why not wear perfume to the first service and park in the most convenient place for ourselves? Why not come in at whatever hour you please as a teenager? Why submit to a hundred rules and laws and guidelines in our culture and work places and schools and homes?

The answer is, God freed us from these institutions as masters, and then sent us back into them to declare his excellencies as his servants, not the servants of man. We submit in freedom, for the Lord’s sake. Everything is on a different footing. All is from the Lord and for the Lord. Christ died to purify us for good deeds and we enter the world and the culture with a view to displaying the glory and the excellency of this great Christ.

6. Finally, Christians honor all persons, and seek to do it in different ways that are not the same for each, but appropriate to their roles in life.

Verse 17: “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” There is a special kind of honor for the king. There is a special fear for God. There is a special love for fellow Christians. But there is an honor for all persons, including the wicked.

Matthew Henry wrote:

The wicked must be honored, not for their wickedness, but for any other qualities, such as wit, prudence, courage, eminency of employment, or the hoary head. Abraham, Jacob, Samuel, the prophets, and the apostles never scrupled to give due honor to bad men (Commentary on the Whole Bible [Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., n.d.], 1019).

So in conclusion, let us not simply be a passive and apathetic people priding ourselves in our avoidance ethic. Let us live in the power of the grace that called us out of darkness into light and let us turn back to that very dark and dying culture and declare the excellencies of the One who called us, and let us be rich in good deeds, so that people might see the kind of Master we serve and give him glory on the day of visitation.

SUPREME COURT: GOD & BIBLE ARE IRRELEVANT

A great article from Jay Younts at Shepherd Press
June 26, 2013

supremecourtmain
In two 5-4 decisions, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the person of God and his Scripture are no longer relevant with regard to the institution of marriage. In the place of God, the Court has ruled that the will of men determines what constitutes marriage.

The court’s decision is built on a moral foundation less stable than quicksand.

Let’s be clear, these verdicts are more about the failure of the church to be salt and light than they are about the failure of the Supreme Court. For at least three generations the church has allowed her children to be taught that God has no part in the educational process. It began by teaching that God has nothing to do with math, science, economics, literature, or civics. This soon spread to the teaching that God has nothing to do with morality and history.

The court majority swept aside the view of marriage that has been upheld throughout recorded history. The court’s replacement view was not even a consideration twenty years ago. Arrogance moves with astounding haste and lack of caution.

[Read the rest of the article at Shepherd Press.]

Read more: http://kirkcameron.com/2013/06/supreme-court-god-bible-are-irrelevant/#ixzz2XTfXBmP2

Where’s The Love

by G C Forsman

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39, NKJV)

I have been debating whether or not to comment on Exodus International shutting down.  However, it seems to me that when Alan Chambers recently apologized to the gay community, and announced the closure, many in the Christian community seemed offended. For nearly 40 years, Exodus chose the mission to minister to the gay community and offer the opportunity to meet Christ and receive counseling designed to repatriate homosexuals to the heterosexual community.

Of course there is much debate as to whether or not this conversion from gay to straight is possible, and that is not what I’ll be discussing here. My take on this situation is simple.  Alan Chambers admitted not that the Biblical stance on homosexuality is wrong (as many contend) but that the methodology of Exodus was flawed.

Too often we set out to change the world for Christ, but end up doing something that does not reflect Christ at all.  The gay community by and large believe that Christians hate them.  This is our fault as Christians.  Where is the love?  Jesus did not say love everyone except homosexuals.  The treatment of the gay community at the hands of us Christians has been deplorable.

We should be loving them, inviting them to our churches, and allowing God to work on them as He works on us. It is not our mission to judge or change people.  Our mission is to share what Jesus has done for us, and to invite others to have similar experiences with the love of God.  The fact that many gay people believe we hate them speaks for itself.  If we as Christians do our jobs, everyone should feel loved, not hated.

Where is the love?

Nursery Worker Teaches Toddler About Gay Marriage

A 3-year-old boy has been taught by his nurseryschool teacher that when he grows up, he will be able to marry a boy or a girl. The boy’s identity is being protected, but one of his parents wrote a letter to a local newspaper about the incident.

The letter said, “Many of your commentators have speculated as to what the wider implications of allowing same-sex marriages will be on society. I was given a stark illustration of this at the weekend. In response to my three-year-old son’s question as to what marriage was, I told him that it was when a man and woman loved each other very much and wanted to spend their lives together. My son then told me that ‘boys’ could get married, too. As he doesn’t read the newspapers, I was keen to understand how he had formed this view. Apparently, his carer at nursery, a homosexual, told the entire class that he had great news: when they grew up, they could get married to a girl, or a boy. Surely, my son is too young to have this discussion? If I were to complain, however, I would be labelled a bigot.”

Legal experts have warned that, if same-sex marriage is introduced, there would be a legal duty to teach its importance in sex and relationships education. The experts also say parents would have no legal right to withdraw their children from curriculum lessons that promote same-sex marriage.

And teachers who disagree with endorsing same-sex marriage could face legal action. A bill to legalizesame-sex marriage in England and Wales is currently being considered by Parliament.

Retrieved from  http://www.charismanews.com/world/39861-nursery-worker-teaches-toddler-about-gay-marriage

SBC Adopts Boy Scout Resolution

By Staff Writer

Retrieved from http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/168287-sbc-adopts-boy-scout-resolution.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=clnewsletter&utm_content=CL+Daily+20130614b

During the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Houston this week, messengers approved a resolution expressing their “opposition and disappointment” in the decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow homosexual members. According to The Baptist Press, the resolution affirmed individual churches’ ability to determine whether or not they will maintain a relationship with the BSA.

The resolution says the BSA’s stance puts them “at odds with a consistent biblical worldview on matters of human sexuality” and “has the potential to complicate basic understandings of male friendships, needlessly politicize human sexuality and heighten sexual tensions within the Boy Scouts.” The resolution also voiced gratitude to those who expressed opposition to the BSA policy change and called on the BSA to remove leadership who sought to implement the change.

The resolution concluded: “… we declare our love in Christ for all young people regardless of their perceived sexual orientation, praying that God will bring all youth into a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said the Boy Scouts made a decision they believed to be “some sort of compromise that has really pleased no one in any place in American culture.”

“I don’t think it’s going to stay there,” Moore said about the policy decision. “I think instead what you are going to see is a further evolution into another step, and congregations are going to have to be ready to address that. … Once you take sexuality and the expression of sexuality and politicize it in the way the Boy Scouts have done, you change the nature of that moral education in a way that Southern Baptists, most of us, have grave concerns about.”

Passing Judgement

Quite some time ago, a reader named Alex Haiken asked me to review his blog and keep an open mind regarding what the Bible has to say on homosexuality.  Alex had done some extraordinary exegesis, but I failed to find the logical trail from the interpretation to his conclusions.  Alex concluded that since homosexual acts were only discussed as part of pagan rituals, and gay people are not participating in the rituals of the past, present day gay relations are not against Biblical teachings.  The Bible clearly states  “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman.  It is an abomination.” (Lev.18:22, NKJV)  But let us not stop our discussion with this statement.

When it comes to the topic of homosexuality, or any sin for that matter, what is the role of a Christian?  Certainly, if we are discussing the topic and asked what the Bible says, we should quote Leviticus 18:22.  But what if we know someone who is gay, and they don’t ask our opinion, or what the Bible says?  What if they don’t believe in sin?  What does Jesus ask us to do?

Jesus told His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35, NKJV)  Jesus did not say love everyone, but sinners.  In fact, Paul clarifies this a bit in his letter to the Corinthians “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this?” (1 Cor 5:1-2, NIV)  Paul was a bit upset.  Even the pagans were upset, no one does what these “Christians” are doing!

But wait, how many times have we heard ““Judge not, and you shall not be judged.” (Luke 6:37, NKJV)  It seems that Paul is judging the offender.  In fact, he states that he is, “For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit.  As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this.” (1 Cor 5:3, NIV)

Confused?  Paul clears up the confusion when he goes on to say, “I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters.  In that case you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler.  Do not even eat with such people.”  (1Cor 5:9-11, NIV)

So let’s see.  Basically, if we were to stay away from all sinners we would have to leave this world.  Since we are here, and we are all sinners, Paul further defines his statements.  Stay away from “brothers or sisters” (fellow Christians) who claim to be disciples of Jesus but live in open rebellion to Him.  But what about those who are not Christians?  What is our role there?

Paul continues, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?  Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside.  Expel the wicked person from among you.” (1 Cor 5:12-13, NIV)

Our responsibility is to be a disciple of Christ.  As a disciple, we are known by our love for each other.  Our actions should point others to Christ.  We should be loving and helping our fellow disciples to adhere to the Biblical principles we have agreed to adhere to.  If a fellow disciple should decide to live in open rebellion and will not repent, then they should be cast out as Paul stated above.  But for those outside the church… they have not agreed to live by Biblical principles, and we should not be attempting to make them adhere to them.

Granted, we are called to be the salt and the light, and to go forward making disciples.  But let us not do this by condemning others, but by bringing Jesus to them.  If they cannot see Jesus when they look at us, maybe we should be examining ourselves closer.