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Biblically Relevant - Arrival Series [8-9-20]

Updated: Sep 1, 2020

So what are we going to say about God? Are we going to let His Word define and describe Him for us or are we going to project our needs and wants upon Him and make Him who we want Him to be?

Let's first look at us. While we do have times of spiritual clarity and honesty, we often think more highly of ourselves than we ought. As Darrell Harrison writes, "I don't think that any of us has, or will have in this life, a full grasp of how depraved and deceitful our hearts are. Scripture declares that the one who trusts in his own heart is a fool {Proverbs 28:26}. Apart from the grace of God, you and I are capable of all manner of evil."

That's the bad news of our human condition. It plays out in so many ways. In a recent survey of regular church attenders, 52% agreed that most people are basically good. 51% agreed that God accepts the worship of all religions. And a whopping 78% agreed that Jesus was the first and greatest being created by God the Father.

Last month, CNN's Don Lemon said that Jesus wasn't perfect. Obligingly, a buttload of right-wing political commentators were outraged. It didn't raise a single one of my hackles. Everybody loves getting outraged over anything and everything these days. What a CNN talking head says shouldn't be so shocking. I am more concerned that a large percentage of professing Christians would agree with him. How many people go chasing after thoughts or ideas of their own creation? How many are conforming to the words of men and women rather than the Word of God?

How do we speak about ourselves, God, and our place in God's world? What informs our thoughts and beliefs?

What happens a lot is we go searching for a place to park our ideas or preconceived notions. If I'm conservative, I'll fashion a Biblical outlook to conform to my cultural beliefs. Back in the day, when I was pro-choice, I simply ignored how God's Word addressed abortion. Or, to put a finer point on it, I made sure God's Word conformed to my beliefs. At the time, I saw the issue through the lens of the liberal sacrament of abortion, not the Word of God. This is something people do all the time.

In order to capture contemporary culture, we sometimes trade Biblical truth for relevancy. Think about the ways churches leverage what's happening in the culture in order to attract a crowd. Or they leverage what the culture drives people to think they want or need.

The prosperity gospel immediately comes to mind. Later this month, we're going to take a look at the prosperity gospel and how it has impacted the Christian faith. Hint…it's an abomination. I'm going to try to not be too negative and grumpy on that one, but sometimes, in the pursuit of truth, you gotta do what you gotta do.

The grasp for relevancy touches how we think we need to attract a crowd. Too many churches today, in a red-hot pursuit of relevance, have turned to celebrity pastors and rock-concert styles of worship. Many of them have built windowless auditoriums with fog machines and strobe lights. Such an approach is folly. It pushes authenticity to the margins.

Back when Pokémon GO was exploding in popularity, relevant churches were devising all kinds of clever ways to ride that wave. It was hip, trendy,

and short-lived. It was a poor replacement for simply sharing the gospel in word and deed. As Charles Spurgeon once said:

"Does the world satisfy you? Then you have your reward and portion in this life; make much of it, for you shall know no other joy."

And it's not just evangelicals missing the mark. Progressives, too, have sold-out Biblical truth in order to be socially relevant. The current wave of social justice warriorism is but one example. All sorts of reprehensible actions are encouraged and/or condoned in the service of bringing about social change. Is there anymore empty gesture than standing on a street corner holding up a sign? Here's a list I came across the other day. "All the great ways the Social Justice Movement has directly helped reconcile lost sinners to God and advance the cause of Christ":

  1. {You Get the Point}

So what are we to do? We keep our focus on glorifying God and enjoying Him forever. We cherish God's Word, we treasure God's Son, and we serve Him. It's that simple. Yet as people trapped in this corrupted and corrupting culture, it's difficult as well. Are you with me on that?

Here's our closing thought. It's based on Psalm 135:1-6:

Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord,     give praise, O servants of the Lord, who stand in the house of the Lord,     in the courts of the house of our God! Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good;     sing to his name, for it is pleasant! For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself,     Israel as his own possession.

For I know that the Lord is great,

and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,

in heaven and on earth,

in the seas and all deeps.

God is not coerced. God does not need us. God is perfectly and completely satisfied in the fellowship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As Matthew 3:7 says, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Our God has always been and will always be an exuberantly happy God. He has never been lonely. The Father has always rejoiced with overflowing satisfaction in the glory of His Son. And that satisfaction is returned from the Son. Are you feeling the weight of it?

God is free and clear of us. He is not dependent on us. And yet God chose to save us. In Jesus Christ, and his death on the cross, God saved us from eternal damnation. And so we stand in awe of God.

Make no mistake. God is not manipulated. He is not mocked. God is not

some heavenly dispensary, delivering what we think we need. Even still, on

the road to the cross, Jesus said, "No one takes my life from me; I lay it down of my own accord" {John 10:18}. What he means is he lays down his life of his own good pleasure, for the joy of what the Father has set before him. At the one point in the history of the universe where Jesus looked trapped, he was totally in charge of doing exactly what he pleased…dying to justify ungodly sinners like you and me.

So today we stand of awe of our God. We tremble before Him…we stand in praise of His sovereignty, which is rooted in this:

Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,

in heaven and on earth,

in the seas and all deeps.


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