Colossians 3:1-7 NASB
1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. 5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them.

In my past I aspired to be a computer programmer.  The work intrigued me and I thought it was a career choice ripe for future growth.  I wasn’t wrong.  But the long hours of face time with a monitor wore me down.  So I moved on to other things.  Although I moved on, I never quite lost the taste for programming.  So as I read the above scripture verses from Colossians, I instantly thought of the if/then statement when programming.  Essentially, if a condition is true then perform a certain task. It is a powerful function that directs programming processes.

That is also true of us.  As many of Paul’s letters state, if you are a Christian then either do certain things or do not do certain things.  It seems simple enough.  But we need to be reminded constantly. Paul knew that.

As Paul states in verse 1, if you call yourself a believer /if you believe you are raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above.  It is assumed that if you are a believer you sought the things above at the beginning of your new birth.  So don’t give up.  Keep it up.  You have not arrived.  You have only begun.  The end of verse 1 and the start of verse 2 states it again to set your mind on things above where Christ is seated.  If you focus up, then your focus will be away from the things of the world. The ways of the world are ” immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry” and “disobedience”. Don’t fool yourself.  To be a Christian means striving after holiness which is contrary to the things of the world. You once walked according to those things but no more.

 If you are a Christian then “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth”.  But this only works when the condition is met.  The “if” must be true.  Are  you a Christian?  If you say “Yes!”, do you have a pattern of befriending the world (James 4:4)?  Do you love the world (1 John 2:15)? Understand that you can’t love Jesus and the world. They oppose each other. Allegiance to one is to oppose the other. The answer to the “if” determines every process that follows.

2 Corinthians 13:5 NASB
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?

More Severity Than Congeniality

Jesus knew something evangelicals today often forget: Truth doesn’t defeat error by waging a public relations campaign. The struggle between truth and error is spiritual warfare, and truth has no way to defeat falsehood except by exposing and refuting lies and false teaching. That calls for candor and clarity, boldness and precision–and sometimes more severity than congeniality

The Jesus You Can’t Ignore
by John MacArthur

The President’s Proclamation

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”

Abraham Lincoln

Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day
Washington, D.C.
March 30, 1863

Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?

Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?

by Charles Spurgeon (edited)

An evil is in the ‘professed’ camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted Christian can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years this evil has developed at an alarming rate. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments!

The devil has seldom done a more clever thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church. If it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel’.

No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they confronted them? The ‘concert’ has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the apostolic Church to the world? “You are the salt of the world”, not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.

Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him,” I do not hear Him say, ‘Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!’

No! Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them!

In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the ‘gospel of amusement’. Their message is, “Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them… Don’t touch their filthy things…” Anything approaching amusement is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, ‘Lord, grant unto your servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are’.

No! They did not cease from preaching Christ. They had no time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down; that is the only difference from today’s church.

Lastly, amusement fails to effect the end desired. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts!

The need of the hour for today’s ministry is earnest spirituality joined with Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.

Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods!

A Precious Gift

Modern man is so addicted to his pleasures, his games and his entertainment that the thought that he must give them up for twenty-four hours [on Sunday] to worship and to delight in God is seen as legalistic bondage. It is a particular grief to see those who profess to love Jesus Christ shrink from turning from their own pleasures. To God’s people, who love His law and meditate upon it to the delight of their blood-bought souls, such a commandment is not bondage, but a precious gift.

Pastor Jim Savastio