Are You Scared of This World, Distracted By It, or Both?June 8, 2009
As a Christian, are you scared of popular opinion? Especially when you believe something the Bible says that isn’t popular according to popular opnion? Why? Do you have it on your to-do list to “make sure the world approves of me”? Are you afraid that people will be intolerant of your intolerance of silly and evil beliefs? If so, why? Either way, someone is being intolerant, and the truth is always more liberating and freeing. Have you spent any time learning about why only the Christian worldview makes sense so you can be more confident about what you believe and sleep like a baby? If not, why? Let Jesus be the hero of every sermon, the point of every text of Scripture, the answer to all the questions, and the focus of all the lives.
Consider Mat 7:13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
I have often thought this verse taught that many wont be saved, which seemed in direct contradiction to Heb 11:12 which says that in the end there will be countless believers when all is said and done. “And so from this one man (Abraham – the Father of the faith which justifies the ungodly (Rom 4:5)), and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”
However, here is what I believe to be an excellent commentary on Mat 7:13-14 which takes into account the entire context of the passage, as there were no chapter and verse divisions in Scripture until the 11th century (which can make this passage misleading).
“These verses lead into His teaching on false prophets. From its context, it appears that Jesus says that false ministers will neither acknowledge or teach the narrow way that leads to life, the narrow way that leads to persecution. Instead, they will do just what God shows the Old Testament false prophets did: They will teach “peace, peace”—the smooth, easy, and broad way.
In other words, they will teach that Christians need make no sacrifices in their obedience to God. It is so interesting that, in the last few years in the church, so many things have been liberalized. Are we getting away from the straight and the narrow, the difficult and the sacrificial way?”
~ John W. Ritenbaugh
What is the answer to our world’s problems? Is it Christ doing away with sin and Him reigning, or is it keeping our sin and trying to find a way apart from Christ? People say that Christianity is the way of an old system which hasn’t worked. We are supposedly so advanced now because people have college degrees, can be little Socrotes’ running around, and have ipods. But doing away with Christ IS an old system too which hasn’t worked. The real matter at hand is, “what is truth?” Christ says “the truth will set you free”. He also said “I am the way, the truth, and the life”.
So many Christians today are increasingly backing down from the truth. We are more prone to impress the World then impress God. We fear the World and go out of our way to not offend it and be approved by it, rather then God. The thing is though, God’s ways are good, right, true, and God is the final Judge in the end. He gets the last word and the last laugh. Why would you want to be on the team that will get put to shame in the end? Even if it is popular right now. It’s not popular in Heaven where the God of the Universe rules, and it eventually wont be popular when He fully rules here. Who is God to you? Is it a God-hostile college professor, a non-God fearing politician, or Jesus Christ who is returning to judge every thought, action, and motive?
On the other hand, are you too distracted by the World to be of any Christian good before you stop sucking oxygen here and die soon?
Check out this other commentary following Mat 7:13-14 by Martin G. Collins:
“The thorny ground symbolizes those who become consumed by the anxieties of this physical life and the deceitful enticement of wealth. The constant pressures of everyday life, providing sustenance, maintaining employment, seeking education, performing social duties, etc. can be distracting, causing Christians to ignore God and spiritual growth.
The desire for wealth magnifies this distraction. It is enticing but yields the expected rewards: It promises to make us happy, but when gained, leaves us spiritually empty (I Timothy 6:7-10). The temptation and pursuit of wealth produces bad fruit: dishonesty, stealing, oppression of the poor, and taking advantage of others.
The good ground corresponds to those whose hearts and minds are softened by God’s calling and receive it genuinely. They are a rich and fine soil, a mind that submits itself to the full influence of God’s truth (Acts 22:14; Ephesians 4:1-6). The called of God not only accept His Word, the message of Jesus Christ, as rich soil accepts a seed for growth, they also bear much fruit (John 15:5, 8).”
~ Martin G. Collins
What is distracting you as a comfortable American to not be about doing God’s will and serving His kingdom? Are you witnessing to anyone? Do you even know how to? Are you helping those in need? Do you even want to? Are you contending for the truth and standing strong on God’s Word? Even if that means you wont be approved by a deranged popular opinion? I find myself along with others far too distracted by the American lifestyle. Even in this time of economic uncertainty we are distracted if not more distracted with our own problems.
Our attention is focused too much on our jobs, our pleasures, our hobbies, our needs, our wants, our pointless plans, etc. We must deliberately make time for that which is most important, God’s kingdom. It’s all about me, me, me, and the person in the mirror. No, it’s about God’s will and His kingdom. What we do now counts for eternity. Your luxuries and your avoidance of being inconvenienced and irritated at all costs is not most important. What about God and His kingdom and His righteousness and His truth?
And in case you’re looking for more meaning, fulfillment, and adventure in your life like everyone else is, then start being about these things.
So what can we do? Be about God’s kingdom at your job, at your home, and wherever you go. Who can you share the good news with? What is the good news? What is the bad news? How can you help someone in need? How can you become more like Christ? How can you contend for Christ and stand for His truth? How can you love fellow believers and enemies today? How can you do so while being clever, innocent, and loving, even if you’re hated like Jesus for it? You can’t avoid persecution like Christ, and you can’t out give Christ. You can keep on giving and giving until you die – in some way.