Division Has Its Place

John 9:16 and John 10:19 were brought up by Davy the other day in the comments about Jesus being an agitator. Jesus Christ came to bring division and He succeeded tremendously!

When Christ gave up the ghost on the cross, the veil in the temple was “rent” from top to bottom. The word “rent” means the act of cutting or dividing. It is the verb form of the noun “division” in these John passages.

In John the word can also be translated “rent” as in referring to the actual cut, the division, a noun, rather than the act of dividing. I doubt my explanation has cleared up my point.

God’s first several acts in creation were to divide. The Word of God is quick and powerful and divides asunder soul and spirit. Division is often seen as a horrible thing, “Can’t we all get along?”

Languages had their origin because men had united and come together to accomplish great and wonderful humanistic dreams. God’s answer? Separate ’em!

Division is one of God’s most important acts. There are divisions because there is Truth and there is Deceit. Order implies division. God is a God of order, therefore, God is a God of division, He wants to show who is approved.

You’re right Davy, there is a sermon in here!

The House of Mourning

It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

I am doing a funeral today for a great man who has a great wife with grown kids who like each other. It is a pleasure to do funerals for people you can say plenty of good things about.

Funerals are rarely seen as regular activities to attend, especially the younger you are. But I believe they should be attended more often than you go to theaters, ballgames, bars or concerts.

Generally, we are all dumber for having attended those events, whereas funerals make you wise. The next time you have opportunity to attend a funeral, please make time to do so and lay it to your heart that this is your end too.

Then live a life that makes it easy for a pastor to compare to the Gospel.

Thanks Herbie.

Jesus the Agitator

Jesus Christ is often seen as a teacher, a religious guru and sometimes as just a really nice guy. He certainly was these things, but He was probably most well-known for being an agitator.

Jesus was a prophet and prophets tend to agitate as a main function. Jesus did quite well at it, even to the point of being killed by those He agitated.

Ultimately, Jesus did not come to bring peace but a sword, to cause division even among family. This is agitation.

Agitators seek to stir up the people against the status quo. It seems fun, until you realize how lonely it is. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

Most agitators are doing it for themselves, for the glory that comes from leading a revolution. Jesus did it as a representative of truth in a world of lies and deceit. Jesus did not go out of His way to agitate; it was a natural result of being The Truth.

Truth agitates. The more deception has taken over, the more agitating truth becomes. Most people avoid God’s Word because they want to avoid being agitated so they can continue to slumber through life.

Jesus Christ is an agitator; as the believer becomes like Him, that believer becomes an agitator. We don’t agitate for the sake of agitating nor for our own glory and attention-grabbing. We shine the Light of Truth and agitation happens.

6 Ways Marriage Teaches Gospel Truths

Ephesians 5 says that marriage is a picture of the Gospel.

Husband loves his wife as Christ loves the Church, He gave Himself for it
Wife is to reverence her husband as the Church reverences Christ.

Marriage can teach us about some argued over points of the Gospel.

1) Getting saved is not based on words you said. Taking vows during a wedding means nothing. If a couple is fighting and the hubby says, “Hey, woman! Get off my back, I told you I loved you at the wedding.” I doubt this will cut it. Saying vows does not mean a couple will love each other–loving each other means you will love each other.

2) Salvation begins at a point, but is only truly seen and known in its continuation. Anyone can get married and claim to love each other. Where true love is marriage lasts and flourishes. Weddings are a beginning; marriage is an ongoing, living reality.

3) Trials test the legitimacy of our faith. Marriage will throw all sorts of stuff at you to test your vow of love. Easy to say vows; trials test whether that love is real. If a couple quits and divorces, they show they did not have love.

4) Faith means obedience. The reverence a wife has for her husband is demonstrated by how well she listens to him and respects what he says. A wife who never listens to her husband shows she has no love for him.

5) Salvation experiences should not be emphasized over daily faithfulness. Relying on a one-time experience of a wedding to substitute for true marital love is a disaster. In the scheme of things, how nice your wedding was means nothing.

6) Salvation results in a new life. Marriage crosses two single people over to a new life–the two become one. They leave father and mother and cleave to each other. If single life prevails, you aint married!

Disney movies are about a man getting his woman and they end at the wedding. Most people’s conception of the Gospel ends at salvation. The wedding is just the beginning and so to is salvation!

These are a few thoughts about marriage and the Gospel. Any you’d like to add?

Cute Jonah Video and Correct Jonah Message

Not long ago there was a video going around the internet showing cute little girl with a bow in her hair retelling the story of Jonah. I watched it and became annoyed.

First, because there is a very fine line between cute and annoying and I think she crossed it.

Second, she completely botches the story of Jonah and has a cute little, humanistic spin on it that completely undermines and misses the point of the book.

This past Sunday I arrived at the Book of Jonah, working my way through the Old Testament. I am not as cute, but I am more correct.

Unfortunately, cute sells, so many folks will be led astray by cute kid and my biblically correct and yet odd-looking and sounding message will, no doubt, flounder in the backwaters of internet oblivion. Such is life.

Fear of Man and Faith

Basing the actions of your life on how it plays before others will not allow you to exercise faith in God.

–If you can’t speak because you’re scared of what the response will be
–If you can’t help someone unless there’s an audience
–If you can’t help someone because there is an audience
–If you can’t rejoice with those who rejoice or weep with those who weep because it might ruin your credibility
–If you can’t open your mouth against sin to sinners
–If you can’t give to the poor because you can’t go without the new gadget that “everyone else has”

Then you’ve experienced the triumph of fearing man over fearing God. Fearing man keeps you from faith, this is not a theory, this is the point of Jesus Christ in John 5 where He said:

How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?”

It is impossible to believe if your motivator in life is what others think of you. It may reveal itself in what appear to be inconsequential ways, yet its results are eternally devastating.

Rise above the need to receive honor from men and rest in Christ.

The Fear of Man and Sin

It is my contention that most “good” people have not sinned because they were too chicken. Sin takes a certain amount of aloofness to really thrive.

Unfortunately, the church has jumped on our inate fear of man. The Church tries to convince people not to sin because “people are watching. You represent the Gospel, imagine how much damage your sin can do to Christ.”

Now, this is certainly true! Even Paul tells guys not to give offense in anything so the ministry is not blamed. But the Bible clearly teaches that victory over sin does not come through guilt-ridden peer pressure!

Victory over sin comes through faith, by being crucified and resurrected with Christ and made a new creation, yielding ourselves to the mortifying work of the Spirit and being led by His Spirit.

Pride is nothing more than living for applause. Christianity can dump tremendous amounts of peer pressure on folks, which again is not all bad, but can be if we convince men that salvation happens by “being like us.”

The fear of man is not to be our main motivator for refraining from sin. I think it can healthily fit in, but if maintaining a reputation is our sole motivation for refraining from sin, we are missing a remarkable amount of joy and freedom.

We are also missing true victory over sin, because instead of following the Author and Finisher of our faith in His perfection, we begin to follow other sinners and will merely strive to be a sinner on par with them. This is the root of Pharisaic hypocrisy and is to be avoided like rotten cole slaw.