paintings by L.S.J
Just like the previous weeks when a message of convenience was preached to frisk the flock for causes that the secular fare better, last Sunday featured one that testified of a different gospel (2 Cor 11:3-15; Gal 1) to propagate The Church of Good Deeds: another fallacy that replaces the preaching of the Gospel for the salvation of sinners!
That nice boy at the pulpit, if all but Christian, seems spiritually bankrupt! He speaks on behalf of an attention-seeking generation of wannabes in the guise of Christianity. One can hardly detect any of these boy scout profiles among Jesus and the Apostles, the early Church Fathers, the Reformation, etc. Its a message that nonetheless stokes Arminian belief that one’s salvation can be lost apart from good works; and Roman Catholicism and her seven sacraments that secures one’s salvation if not a shorter sentence in purgatory. Just observe the ‘good deeds’ movements evidenced by Confucianism or World Aid initiatives or Al Gore or the discerning air hostess and her compassionate family doctor. What if all these uploaded their acts of righteousness on YouTube (etc), seek media coverage to make a difference for mankind and score points with man and God? Even Lassie can be canonized!
So, is God impressed? On the contrary!
The message (and the lives) may have missed the mark partly because of Jesus’ unlikeable truths:
Matthew 6 New International Version (NIV) Giving to the Needy
6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) How to Give
6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of people, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 So whenever you give to the poor, don’t sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be applauded by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! 3 But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6 Amplified Bible (AMP)
6 Take care not to do your good deeds publicly or before men, in order to be seen by them; otherwise you will have no reward [reserved for and awaiting you] with and from your Father Who is in heaven.
2 Thus, whenever you give to the poor, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets like to do, that they may be recognized and honored and praised by men. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already.
3 But when you give to charity, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 So that your deeds of charity may be in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly.
5 Also when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already.
6 But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open.
Matthew 6 New King James Version (NKJV)
Do Good to Please God
6 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
The pulpit ministry has the high call to preach the Gospel, not merchandise it! Its been a damn sham thus far.
The Just Live by Faith
Romans 1:15 So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
An early Christian creed is set out in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” This article of faith declares the bare essentials for saving faith in Christ. ~ S. Michael Houdman, Q What are articles of faith? ebible
1 Corinthians 15 Amplified Bible (AMP)
15 And now let me remind you [since it seems to have escaped you], brethren, of the Gospel (the glad tidings of salvation) which I proclaimed to you, which you welcomed and accepted and upon which your faith rests,
2 And by which you are saved, if you hold fast and keep firmly what I preached to you, unless you believed at first without effect and all for nothing.
3 For I passed on to you first of all what I also had received, that Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for our sins in accordance with [what] the Scriptures [foretold],
2 Cor 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!
..12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
16 I say again, let no one think me a fool. If otherwise, at least receive me as a fool, that I also may boast a little.17 What I speak, I speak not according to the Lord, but as it were, foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. 18 Seeing that many boast according to the flesh, I also will boast.19 For you put up with fools gladly, since you yourselves are wise! 20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. 21 To our shame I say that we were too weak for that! But in whatever anyone is bold—I speak foolishly—I am bold also.
Suffering for Christ
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.32 In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascus with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.