I heard someone pray the other day and it made me sad. They reached into 2 Chronicles 7:14. This is some of the worst theology that American Christianity pushes on people. This is usually pushed by people that lean to the “health wealth and prosperity gospel”, which is no gospel at all really. We are not Jews; we are Christians, read Matthew 24 and 25. This is what Jesus said.
This is the same problem I have with people surfing their spirituality on the “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord …” passage from Jeremiah 29. It’s just sad to see Christians grasping at a self absorbed spirituality that promises them everything, which is no spirituality at all.
STUDY TO SHOW YOURSELF APPROVED
When a person begins studying scripture, seriously studying I mean, you learn that context is the most important aspect of study. In this case, God was speaking through his prophet to the nation of Israel, not to individuals. Before you go all wanky on me, here is the proof. Jesus actually said “Sell everything give to the poor and come and follow me.” Jesus said that. Most Christian people will write that off because it doesn’t apply to them. They will say that he said that to an individual man not to everyone. Then they turn right around and lay hold of the claims that were made to a nation as if God were telling them all of life and spirituality is all about them. So they prove that context is crucially important and then ignore it, why, because the OT passages don’t cost anything and promise everything. Greed, self-absorption, narcissism, call it what you want it is our sin nature.
WHERE DOES THAT EVEN COME FROM?
As I listen to people quote these prosperity passages I hear them screaming for comfort and convenience not sacrifice and sacred living. (anyone that knows me knows that I do not think it is possible to be perfect, I’m not saying that. I’m saying live for Jesus by Jesus’ teachings) Somewhere down the line we have been fed a spiritual line of theological garbage, that following Jesus was going to make us rich and comfortable and free in this political world. I actually heard one guy say that prosperity was a sign of God’s favor, America is the new Israel because the Israelites rejected Jesus, and our nations historical prosperity was the evidence of that. Where does that even come from?
That would make most of the music industry stars, movies stars, drug dealers and what not the new religious leaders of the church? Again, that is some pathetic theology, but it is evidence that our sin nature, that nature that we are born with that says, “I want what I want, when I want it and how I want it and I want it now” is still alive, even in the church. The real church stands against that.
The problem is, that prior to Malachai God was dealing with Israel as a people group, a nation. He made promises to them as a nation that are in fact still in effect today, as a nation not as individuals. Gentile Christians (regardless of nationality) get included in, but we do not supplant Israel as Israel. We are grafted in as adopted sons and daughters.
No, when we surrendered our lives to Jesus we gave up our lives and our inalienable rights. We said, “No more me”, “Come God and live through me.” So it is imperative that we stop and ask ourselves what it is that we “signed up” for? The answer is, what did Jesus say?
What did Jesus say about how we are to live in relationship to those around us? What did Jesus say about how we are to love those around us, even our enemy?
What did Jesus say about how we are to give, seek, call down and present the kingdom of God to the world that He placed us in.
You see these are the things that make us Christians, when you obey my (Jesus’) commands. That’s what Jesus said anyway.
Jesus also said in Matthew 7:21-23 that there would be people that did religious things, spiritual things, churchy things in his name, but he will not be welcoming them into Heaven because he does not know them: no matter how much they throw his name around. He said “Only those who do the will of my father in heaven …” That means we have to be in communication with God daily, like he was. We should not just be doing good things, but we should be doing what God is asking of us today. What is God asking of you today?
Jesus said in John 8:47 “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” When was the last time you heard from God? At the end of our lives we will look Jesus in the face and he will ask us what we did with what HE said, what did we do with the commands he gave us. To those who choose to bend his teachings and use it to find comfort and wealth, he will not welcome them, to those who let go of this world and followed his teachings, he will welcome them. He said so, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.” What does that mean to you and I?
No, instead of quoting 2 Chronicles and Jeremiah 29, maybe we should be reading Jesus’ words to his followers in Matthew 24, and 25. No matter what, it is not going to get better, but worse. We live in a time when the love of most is growing cold. This is the latter age, Peter said so at Pentecost when he quoted Joel. (Acts 2, Joel 2)
I think that instead of getting everyone together, legislating morality and spirituality and praying, we should be doing what Jesus said and making disciples. Have you EVER made a disciple? Making disciples is the one thing that Jesus said to DO when he left. It is our last marching order so to speak. It is what the gifts of the Spirit, the organization of the local church, the compassion of ministry, preaching, teaching, baptizing and growing a church are supposed to be all about. He said so.
Maybe, just maybe, it is time to put down your comfort and convenience and pick up his cross: his teachings. So put down your rocks, you are not invited to condemn this world or the people in it. It is time to shine a little brighter by loving a little deeper. Take hold of the gift of the Spirit that is in you and make a difference in this world that is growing darker.
You who have ears to hear ………………