Posts tagged Jesus
Posts tagged Jesus
Anonymous asked: Surrounded by sin at school, to speak or not to speak? In every class there’s just people talking about sex and cussing and all this other stuff. I don’t know if I should speak up or keep quiet like I have been. There”s never really an opening to talk about Jesus. I really realized how all of this going on today, and it was a pretty bad day. I pretty much kept to myself all day, I felt so unproductive Christian wise. What should I do…Speak? or don’t speak?
I answered: ”There’s never really an opening to talk about Jesus” there is your answer right there. That leads me to think that if you were to say something you would be trying to convict them of their sin, and that is simply not your job. That is up to the Holy Spirit.
You can’t change the unwilling. Right now, I would bet that these folks think that what they are on is working out. Hopefully some day they will see that sex, or booze, or approval of others, or whatever they are trying to fill themselves up with, is not working. That is an opening for sharing Jesus. Right now, you would just be trying to convince them that something they think is fine is evil, and that is a tough road to hoe. You are much more likely to piss people off.
One of my favorite stories anyone ever told me was a Young Life staff person said that when he was in high school, his leader asked him one day “do you tell people you are a Christian?”. The guy thought he was about to get some witnessing points, so he said yes and the leader replied “could you…not, because you aren’t helping”. I fear that snapping at classmates about being filthy, filthy sinners would put one firmly in the “people who are not helping” category.
Now if you want to spread Jesus through that school, find the people no one else is talking to, not the ones having loud conversations about how cool they think they are. I guarantee you that your lunchroom has kids who are depressed, who are lonely, whose parents are splitting up, and who think no one cares, especially not God. So you, who are part of His body, go up and strike up a conversation, listen to them, invite them out for a hamburger, that would be something.
Anonymous asked: Tell me why, oh, why do a lot of Christians think Christianity is about being far away from society as possible? Examples: “Oh, you went to the movies today? That’s two hours of Bible study you wasted.” “Jesus could come back any minute, and here you are, going to a pool party.” And my personal favorite, “Please, oh, PLEASE give up secular music! It’ll change your life!” I mean—-really? What the heck is up with that? Did I miss something?
I answered: People have said those things to you…like..out loud? That is unbelievably ridiculous. I love most of the Bible Studies I’ve been to, but 2 hours…we all have lives to lead, save something for next week. And who is to say that Jesus is anti-pool party, Jesus may be a canon ball enthusiast, who’s to say? And I love some Christian music, my Tumblr has it’s fair share of Andrew Peterson, but anybody telling me that the couple of gigs worth of Beatles on my iTunes is a sin…come on dude there are real problems in the world. The short answer is that these people are tools. But your question was what made them that way?
Romans 14:3-4 says this:
The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Which basically boils down to, when it comes to things that are a matter of personal taste, mind your business. But people who are anti-everything believe that if they accidentally hear 2 seconds of a Beyonce song, the whole world will just explode into a late days of the Roman empire debauchery situation.
So the deal that Paul describes in Romans is: if you don’t like movies or secular music, don’t listen to it. But on the flip side, those of us who dig that stuff shouldn’t make our stand on it either. Verse 19 says:
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification
So, they are failing at that but make sure you don’t. Which shouldn’t be hard because, these people don’t exactly sound like a good hang anyway.
cousined asked: Hey brother. Love your ministry. Hopefully I can come out to bridge this summer or something as a volunteer! Always praying for y’all. Anyways, I was wondering about in Matthew 5 how it says if your ticked at your brother, you leave your offering at the altar, and reconcile with him before sacrificing? Well, since he knew we’d stop offering animals, what exactly did he mean? Thanks Matt. :)
I answered: Thanks for the kind words brother.
Very cool question about the offering. The offerings were a way to say you were sorry for your sin and, as you pointed out, we don’t have to do that anymore. We do have to go to God with stuff though, and I think we can apply the same logic to that. The larger theme of that particular part of the sermon on the mount is about how anger wreaks havoc inside us. In Ephesians, Paul says “don’t let the sun go down on your anger”. So the message is don’t hold on to anger because it will cloud your mind and heart. That is not a state in which we can worship or pray very effectively. So if you have something against someone take care of it as soon as possible.
Now, that doesn’t mean you go guns blazing to deal with someone. Jesus also says you shouldn’t call someone a “fool”. So we need to deal with relational issues in a timely and gentle manner instead of letting stuff fester in our brain until we explode. A lesson a lot of church folks could use a refresher on I think.
Anonymous asked: What are your thoughts on theology? Do you think reading books by John Piper, Paul Washer, etc are beneficial?
I answered: I think it is very beneficial to know precisely what you believe and have put some thought into that. It is equally important, however, prioritize those beliefs. I have opinions on predestination and transfiguration, but I’m not going to particularly go to bat over those in the same way I would for basic ideas like the substitutionary death of Jesus.
I think theology books can serve two very healthy purposes. One is as a reference for people who prepare lessons or talks, it is handy to have a verse and definition for ideas; the other is to reinforce your spiritual B.S, detector. If you know that Jesus said blessed are the poor and that he instructed his disciples to only take minimal supplies when they went out as missionaries, then you are much less likely to fall for some schmuck in a suit telling you that you can tell if you have authentic faith based on whether or not God gives you a powerboat.
The problem is when authors or readers decide that every theological concept is of equal importance and that it is essential to be unquestionably right on ever issue. I will never understand people who assume that just because a book is sold in a christian bookstore, that means it can’t be totally full of crap (to use a theological term).
The theological books that have been most helpful to me are Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem, which is a monster of a reference book, and Basic Christianity by John Stott, which covers the basics very well and is I believe the book that the YoungLife talk progression was initially based on.
“Jesus died on the cross for you”. That is a statement is the cornerstone of our faith. As such, it is essential that we understand all of what it means. So listen up : Jesus death did more than just keep you out of Hell. It certainly did that, but when we fall into thinking that the death of Jesus was only about our eternal destiny, we are missing out.
The thinking leads down this path: “My sin isn’t going to get me condemned to Hell, but I’m still a big fat sinner so obviously I’m not someone Jesus could use or really love”. Of course when you see that typed out it is ridiculous. God has used nothing except sinners throughout history, it’s what He does. Jesus was around the tax collectors and prostitutes, and religious leaders hated HIm. But guilt and shame are such a handy door for Satan to get right in your ear and distort in your mind the most wonderful event of human history.
The death of Jesus on the cross restored a right relationship with God, which He promises to see though to completion. It means we are declared righteous in the sight of God. It makes you a home for the Holy Spirit. And yes, when it’s all over, we will go home to be with him forever.
Anonymous asked: Hiya, Matt:] I was wonderin’, what’s your opinion on Nate Pfeil’s popular YouTube video “The Fire”? Some people think it’s like, all judgmental and stuff; and other people are saying it is convicting. Whaddya you think? c:
I said: Well I’m going to be honest, I didn’t make it all the way through the video. Regardless of content, I am staunchly morally opposed to 12 minute YouTube videos.
Best I could make out, here was the dude’s point: “Christians shouldn’t sin because sinning is bad, and if other people sin you should be sure to let them know that they are bad”. Now, not taking your sinful nature seriously would certainly lead to an inability to understand the gospel. I just don’t think that happens all that much. People may deny their Sin, or try to ignore it, and in those cases, yelling at them about it will accomplish nothing.
I made it to the point where the guy in the video was talking about the place in the Gospels where Jesus says that many will say to him “Lord, Lord” and he will say “Away from me, I never knew you”. However, Jesus doesn’t say He will say “away from me, you never felt guilty enough about your sin or angry enough about other people’s sin”. In fact, in the beginning of that chapter (Matthew 7) Jesus says point blank “don’t judge others”.
My final analysis of this kind of hell fire and brimstone stuff is that it is basically sound and fury signifying nothing (that’s pretty good, remind me to TM that). It feels awesomely holy to yell about wickedness and whatnot, but it rarely saves anyone or moves anyone forward in their walk. Jesus boils it down to love your neighbor as yourself, and Corinthians says love is patient and kind. So I think we should stick to that.
(Follow up to this post about marriage after divorce)
Anonymous asked: In regards to that person’s question in “What about sins committed after becoming a Christian?”, you said you didn’t see any scriptural ban on re-marriage. I, too, was always taught re-marriage is only an option to the innocent party, not the guilty, and that the guilty party must repent and live a life of celibacy if their spouse moves on, which I believed to be true…until I read your response. Now I’m confused. Could you explain what you mean by there’s no scriptural ban? What about Mark 10:11?. Thanks (: (edited to combine 2 questions)
When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her -Mark 10:11 (NIV)
Adultery is bad, I think we can all get on board with that concept. But the question is, is it so bad that Jesus will refuse to redeem someone from it because they have proven themselves to be a dirty little sinner who is unworthy of grace? I am saying no. Looking at someone with lust is also adultery, but if everyone who did that was automatically disqualified from marriage, there would be exactly zero marriages.
And if you really want to pick through the letter of the text here: what if a woman cheats on her husband, but she wants to go to counseling and try and work it out; whereas he just wants a divorce? Technically he is divorcing her, so should he never be able to marry again? If she has already committed adultery against her husband, why not remarry? Can Jesus forgive one adultery but not two?
The situation posed in the original question was “my friend cheated on his wife, and she divorced him. Can he get married again?” Now the idea that this guy should sit in a lonely corner for the rest of his life thinking about his sin sounds a lot like punishment to me. And the Bible is very clear that Jesus took all our punishment for us on the cross. So I reiterate that there is no sin beyond the redemption of the cross. Having an abortion does not mean God will make you barren, screwing up big time in relationships doesn’t mean God will fail to address your loneliness. Having a past does not mean God will limit your future.
I really appreciate the thoughtful, insightful question, and I hope I cleared something up.
God has separated your sin from you as far as the east from the west (Ps 103:12). If you go north long enough, you will eventually go south, but you can go east forever without going west. Maybe that’s why the command of peace is to “be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). God has taken your sin so far from you, that in order to get close enough to feel guilt or shame, you have to actively chase after it. Be still, and let Him take it.