To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”
“Abraham is our father,” they answered.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would[c] do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.”
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
– John 8:31-47
”Our churches these days are filled (or one-quarter filled) with a soft breed of Christian that must be fed on a diet of harmless fun to keep them interested. About theology they know little. Scarcely any of them have read one of the great Christian classics, but most of them are familiar with religious fiction and spine-tingling films. No wonder their moral and spiritual constitution is so frail. Such can only be called weak adherents of a faith they never really understood.”
– Rev. A. W. Tozer, That Incredible Christian
Tozer died May 12, 1963. His description of the church of his day could fit many churches today. Okay, some are less than one-quarter filled, others more. Tozer preceded this quote by saying that the church leadership, especially the preachers of his day, were to blame and that many of the preachers were afraid to tell the whole truth.
But it is not just the pastors. Are we not guilty in reading just half of some verses or passages?
Everyone loves John 3:16, and they often continue the quote through John 3:17. But no, let’s not talk about those who do not believe are dead already (John 3:18).
Everyone wants to hear, ask anything of God, and it shall be granted, but are we really seeing a Mercedes Benz in John 4:13-14? Look again. The verses previously talk about Jesus going back to the Father and we must do the work Jesus did in His place. With that in mind, the two often quoted verses mean that asking the Father ‘in Jesus’ name’ means doing the will of God and having what it takes to do things that glorify God. I see no Mercedes Benz here. (Reference: A Janis Joplin hit, Oh Lord, Won’t You Buy Me a Mercedes Benz)
What preachers mention Matthew 10:38, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”? Some do.
We want the prosperity. We want the comfort. But we don’t want to work in the footsteps of Jesus, especially if there is cross-bearing.
Jesus offered the people of Israel the Truth. They settled for the ‘modern truth’ of their time and DNA that was stamped with Abraham. These same descendants of Abraham plotted and killed Jesus, but you just ‘can’t keep a Good Man down.’
See you at church on Sunday, and if the preacher makes you uncomfortable with his message, listen. He might be preaching on one of Jesus’ hard lessons.
Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God Alone.