Friday, August 10, 2007

Sometimes we need to reawaken...

So many people, young and old, profess to be Christians. Many deceive themselves into thinking that, because they accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they are therefore "saved." They get caught up in the emotionalism of their "salvation" but never truly show the change that comes with being a child of God. Their lives reflect what they've had before their "conversion", a life without the fruits worthy of repentance. They are "saved" but dishonor their parents. They are "saved" but continue to dress in a manner that dishonors God. Some claim to be "saved" but abuse alcohol and drugs. They are the ones found in churches lifting their hands in praise on Sunday and living like the "unsaved" on Monday. They profess that they "gave their lives to the Lord", but it is clear that all they did was mentally assent to a notion that--by saying a small prayer--they are somehow miraculously "saved." The life of repentance is lost under the delusion of their prefabricated assumptions about salvation. Only Christ is able to bring convinction of sin. Only Christ is capable of saving the sinner. Only Christ is capable of bringing a change in the sinner because He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), we are unclean, thus the only righteousness God will accept is the righteousness of His Son.

Pastor Paul Washer of HeartCry Missionary Society, who has worked in a variety of missions, such as Romania, Peru and Zambia, preached an eye-opening "in your face" sermon before a gathering of 5,000 people. It is a sermon which speaks to all. It is a cry for repentance in the church. Please listen with an open mind and an open heart. For those with slower connection speeds, you can download the mp3 file via Sermon Audio here: A Shocking Message to the Church

(*Before viewing the video, don't forget to turn off the music. You can do so by going to the bottom of this page and clicking the pause button)

4 comments:

Albert said...

Churchmouse,

You mentioned "They are "saved" but continue to dress in a manner that dishonors God. Some claim to be "saved" but abuse alcohol and drugs." How about smoking?

I asked this because I read an entry post from a certain Reformed blog apparently saying that smoking is not an issue at all. Christians here in the Philippines have taken a total abstinence position on smoking. What about Christians there in the US?

Thanks.

Your student in the Bereans Forums,
Albert

Churchmouse said...

Hi Albert,

Nice to see you here :-) I got your PM's at the Bereans and I'm a bit saddened to hear that you won't be participating as much, given the fact that you are one of the more intelligent participants there. I will get your PM's just as soon as I can.

As for your question, there are no specific verses that condemns smoking, BUT there are verses which speak of the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:15-17). Our bodies are not our own (vs.19). The verses speak in the context of sexual immorality, but there are other principles which can be gleaned from it. 1 Peter 2:11 speaks about "fleshly lusts which war against the soul." Anything which causes dependency can rightfully fit the verse. Nature itself shows us the harm smoking can do to the body and then there is the expense, the money we MUST use to support the habit. Yet, overall, we ARE responsible for EVERYTHING God has given us, including the body He's given us. Again, there are no specific verses regarding smoking, but one's decisions in life may cost one in the end.

Let me tell you my own personal experience with smoking. I had started at 15 years of age. I was hanging with the wrong crowd of people and, due to peer pressure, I started doing what they were doing, including smoking. It was an enjoyable habit, especially during a conversation, after eating, etc. Needless to say I thought I was "cool" because I smoked. When I became a Christian, I continued to smoke, but always felt convicted about doing so. The more I smoked, the more I felt condemned for doing so. No one ever told me anything that would influence me one way or the other, but I knew the danger and the damage I was inflicting on myself. I would cough quite a bit and I was prone to bronchitis, yet I continued smoking. One day I decided to quit and went eight straight months without a cigarette, but I had cravings especially when others would smoke around me. Eventually, I succumbed to smoking once again and, once again, the convictions were back full force. One day, I asked the Lord to deliver me because I was weak. The harder I tried, the more I smoked (I was up to a pack and a half a day). I asked Him to take it out of my life because He is the only One who could do it. Now here's the funny thing, the next day I went to work, went to play basketball with some friends, took dinner at a restaurant and finally went home. When I got there I saw a pack of cigarettes, that I forgot to take with me, on top of my dresser. It was then when I realized that I had gone the entire length of the day WITHOUT A CIGARETTE! I was dumbfounded! I totally FORGOT that I smoked. The Lord, literally, performed a miracle in my life. Not only did it stop, but I had no cravings and haven't touched a cigarette in about 23 years.

Now, there are many who would fight me to a "T" regarding smoking and its implications in Christianity, but all I can do is cite some Scriptures which probably won't do the trick. Ultimately, it is between the smoker and God, not to mention what Scriptures say about some things being a "sin" to an individual. God may convict the individual about smoking and the individual may know it. As a result it may become sin to him.

Anyway, I didn't intend to go this long, but considering my own experiences, I take this issue a bit to heart. As for being my "student", I'm flattered but I'm just as much a student as you are :)

Peace,
Ray

Steve Martin said...

I think these 'holiness' preachers wouldn't know the gospel if it hit them in the face like a brick.

What about all his sins? His secret sins?

We all have em'.

We have a Savior who died for all of it.

Churchmouse said...

Hi Steve,

I think we can both agree that it's all about the message and not the messenger. I'm sure that Washer is just as sinful, recognizes himself to be as such, and wouldn't pretend to be otherwise, yet I think his message isn't lost and very valid in a world where "Christian" seems to be a byword and "quick-fixism" the norm, such as you see with the "salvation prayer" and the lack of repentance amongst those who claim to be followers of Christ.

Peace,
Ray

 
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