“America has the most wise and just and Biblical and moral and constitutional foundation in the world—just like ancient Israel. America is one of the most religious countries in the world—just like ancient Israel. The church is big and rich and free in America—just like ancient Israel. And if God loves His church in America He will soon make it small and poor and persecuted, just as He did to ancient Israel, so that He can keep it alive by pruning it—just like ancient Israel. Consider our purity, language, watching, listening, disobeying—we are not saints—holy ones. Which is why the church is weak, and the world is dying. We are our own worst enemies, like a devil running rampant in our midst. He doesn’t make zombies and monsters, he just makes it easy to be an easy Christian—anything but a saint, which can save the world and make the church strong. This is the weapon that will win the war and defeat our Enemy: Saints—people who give Jesus one hundred percent of their hearts one hundred percent of the time, who will hold back nothing. You can’t imagine it—but you can do it…” —Professor Peter Kreeft
Shared this a couple years ago. We still need it. The world still needs it.
” ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.’* It would be scripturally false to leave out the second phrase, ‘and to enjoy Him forever.’ The men who formulated this showed great wisdom and insight is saying, ‘and to enjoy Him forever.’ Nevertheless, the first phrase is the first phrase: ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God.’ And in Christianity we have a non-determined God who did not need to create because there was love and communication within the Trinity, and yet having been created, we as men can glorify God. If we fail to emphasize that we can glorify God, we raise the question of whether men are significant at all. We begin to lose our humanity as soon as we begin to lose the emphasis that what we do makes a difference. We can glorify God, and both the Old and New Testament say that we can even make God sad. That is tremendous.” —Francis Schaeffer
Now you know why you’re here. Be significant.
*The Westminster Shorter Catechism
“There exist beings who spend more money, waste more time, take more trouble, than would be required for ten good actions, and that gratuitously, for their own pleasure, without receiving any other payment for their curiosity than curiosity…Why? For no reason. A pure passion for seeing, knowing and penetrating into things. A pure itch for talking. And often these secrets once known, these mysteries made public, these enigmas illuminated by the light of day bring on catastrophes, duels, failures, the ruin of families and broken lives, to the great joy of those who have “found out everything,” without any interest in the matter, and by pure instinct. A sad thing. Certain persons are malicious solely through a necessity for talking. Their conversation, the chat of the drawing-room, gossip of the anteroom, is like those chimneys which consume wood rapidly; they need a great amount of combustibles; and their combustibles are furnished by their neighbors.” —Victor Hugo
Paul the Apostle said, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” He even went so far to say that gossips and slanderers have a depraved mind.
Which brings us to polemics, political rhetoric and social media. Every day we have countless opportunities to build up or tear down. The kingdom to which we are citizens looks and sounds nothing like this present world. The world needs Jesus, not more ‘world’.
Use your voice. Give ’em Heaven.
“The early church didn’t have a Graham, a Finney, or a Moody. It didn’t have Promise Keepers, a Great Awakening, or user-friendly churches. Furthermore, it had no concise spiritual laws to share, no explosive method for talking to the unconverted. What it had seems quite paltry: it had unspectacular people with a hodgepodge of methods, so hodgepodge that they can hardly be called methods, and rarely a gathering of more than a handful of people. The paltry seems to have been enough, however, to make an emperor or two stop and take notice…nameless Christians [who brought] the name of Jesus Christ to the attention of pagans—not a phenomenon that filled stadiums; just enough to begin converting the whole known world.” —Mark Galli
Paltry indeed, but like the mosquito in the room, impossible to ignore. And like this paltry who simply lived Christ so long before us, we live, too. They stood, and we now stand; they led; now we lead. To the world, they had no names, but we remember them,—and we can’t think of them without thinking of Him. And that’s the whole idea. We’re the next mosquito in the room.
The world will definitely notice.
A pagan observed an early 2nd century AD church. Here is what he saw.
“They abstain from all impurity in the hope of the recompense that is to come in another world. As for their servants or handmaids or children, they persuade them to become Christians by the love they have for them; and when they become so, they call them without distinction, brothers. They do not worship strange gods; and they walk in all humility and kindness, and falsehood is not found among them; and they love one another. When they see the stranger they bring him to their homes and rejoice over him as over a true brother…
“And if there is among them a man that is poor and needy and if they have not an abundance of necessities, they fast two or three days that they may supply the needy with the necessary food.
“They observe scrupulously the commandment of their Messiah; they live honestly and soberly as the Lord their God commanded them. Every morning and all hours on account of the goodness of God toward them, they render praise and laud Him over their food and their drink; they render Him thanks.
“And if any righteous person of their number passes away from this world, they rejoice and give thanks to God and they follow his body as though he were moving from one place to another. And when a child is born to them, they praise God, and if again it chances to die in its infancy, they praise God mightily, as for one who has passed through the world without sins.
“Such is the law of the Christians and such is their conduct.”
—Athenian Philosopher Aristides, c. 101-200
How things have changed. The church might want to take a step back—way back, and ponder what it is and what it use to be—and how we got from there to here.
“How can you cope with the end of the world and the beginning of another one? How can you put an earthquake into a test-tube or the sea into a bottle? How can you live with the terrifying thought that the hurricane has become human, that fire has become flesh; that Life itself came to life and walked in our midst? How can you cope with the concept that mankind tried to kill God, but He lived and now is our judge? How can a person come to Easter services and not be profoundly transformed by the fact that once in the history of humanity a truly innocent man died in our place and rose to life never to die again and he offers us eternal life? Christianity either means all of that, or it means nothing. It is either the most profound and devastating disclosure of the deepest reality in the world, or it’s a sham, a nonsense, and just deceitful acting. Most of us, unable to cope with saying either of those things, condemn ourselves to live in the shallow world in between. We may not be content there, but we don’t know how to escape until we are personally transformed by the resurrected Jesus Christ, from mere observers to worshippers of the living God!” —Author Unknown
The Resurrection changed everything. How has it changed you?
He is risen. Indeed.
“Here from this stable, here, from this Nazareth, this stony beach, this Jerusalem, this market place, this garden, this Praetorium, this Cross, this mountain, I announce it to you. I announce to you what is guessed at in all the phenomena of your world. You see the corn of wheat shrivel and break open and die, but you expect a crop. I tell you of the Springtime of which all springtimes speak. I tell you of the world for which this world groans and toward which it strains. I tell you that beyond the awful borders imposed by time and space and contingency, there lies what you seek. I announce to you life instead of mere existence, freedom instead of frustration, justice instead of compensation. For I announce to you redemption. Behold I make all things new. Behold I do what cannot be done. I restore the years that the locusts and worms have eaten. I restore the years [that] you have drooped away upon your crutches and in your wheelchair. I restore the symphonies and operas which your deaf ears have never heard, and the snowy massif your blind eyes have never seen, and the freedom lost to you through plunder and the identity lost to you because of calumny [slander] and the failure of justice; and I restore the good which your own foolish mistakes have cheated you of. And I bring you to the Love of which all other loves speak, the Love which is joy and beauty, and which you have sought in a thousand streets and for which you have wept and clawed your pillow.”—Thomas Howard, Christ the Tiger
On this Good Friday and on the brink of Easter, pause—go quiet and listen. You may just hear Jesus speak. I wonder what He will say to you.