Sunday, October 5, 2014
What voice should you follow?
Matthew 16, Matthew 18, Luke 9, Mark 8... Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Me... says the Lord.
Perhaps the most sinister hijacking of the church's message and mission in life has been the replacement of the cross with the goals of self-actualization that proceed from the pyschobabble of modernity, mimicking the voice of temptation in Eden which first soiled our lives with sin, defeat, and death. Do what you want, what feels right, what you love, what makes you happy.... and you will be happy and find your niche, your purpose for living. Far too many Christian churches and preachers have surrendered to the generic spirituality of a curved into self sinful humanity and raised this up as the Christian gospel. How many people have been sucked in by desire that masquerades as happiness, nobility, and truth?
The call of Jesus is not to self-awareness or to self-actualization. The call of Jesus is to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Him. Jesus did not establish the Church to be a self-help community of people who affirm one another in the pursuit of desire, passion, pleasure, and happiness. Yeah, it sells books and may get you on TV right next to the likes of Oprah or Dr. Oz or Dr. Phil but it leads astray the people who have falsely believed this fake gospel and who will be left empty inside, captive to their disappointment and guilt, and with all their shame exposed in judgment. Nope, there is nothing Christian about following desire or the pursuit of passion and there certainly is no realization of purpose promised to those who unleash themselves from all constraints of conscience and Divine revelation in order to seek unhindered where their desire and passion leads them. But there is something about self-control and godliness that leads us to the holy purpose and high calling of our daily lives as the baptized children of God.
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. (Titus 2 ESV)