That is the name of the sermon that my Pastor gave this morning and it was a very needed word. All to often we worry about what Pastor say’s this and what movement teaches that. Instead of worrying about which one of them is following God and teaching what is the right way, it is important to make sure that it is not themselves that they are promoting. If they are giving the glory to God and what they teaches is not against what the Bible says, then does it make any real difference what they call themselves?
Pastor pointed out so many of the old jingles and commercials that get your attention and make you listen. You never see the name of the company or person who wrote it applied to the product, they are there to promote the product and not themselves. That is what we should be doing! Promoting God’s word and not haggling over who does the best job or who does it the correct way. After all it isn’t important who does what, it is important if people hear about the product and want to know more.
If we spend ourselves on God, He will get the glory and that is all that counts in the end. Everything else is just fluff that will get washed out in the rain of Jesus return. And if we spend too much time worrying about correctness, like the Pharisees, we will be trying to make things fit how we want instead of how He wants.
Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. 44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
My personal history is similar to that of the Pharisees. I was so busy with my religious checklists (keeping the law) that I missed the Savior. I did not have a relationship with Him, but I was certainly religious about Him.
For instance, the Lord’s Prayer was my checklist for “conversations” with God (a monologue rather than a dialogue, the way I did it.) Prayer time was when I presented Him with my “to do” list. On top of that, I was very critical and judgmental of those who did not take their religion seriously.
Like the Pharisees, I had missed the point.
I missed the most important list of all, probably because it’s so short. We find it in Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus states that the greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. The second greatest is to love our neighbor as ourselves. I had all the appearance of a good Christian, but I lacked love…and love happens in relationship.
Something I discovered is that I couldn’t “work up” love for others – especially certain groups of people who broke the Scriptural laws I tried to live by. To me, they were the enemy, standing in the way of what I thought ought to happen.
I’ve watched “them” dismantle the country I love one brick at a time. I tried to show them the error of their ways using Scripture, but my loveless words were a blaring trumpet and crashing cymbals in their ears. Not one of them saw a need to change “parties” and follow my rules.
I despised them for their ignorance.
Over the past several years, though, God has been drawing me into a relationship with Him. He’s been inviting me to get to know Him, not just know about Him. The closer I come to Him, the more things change in me – and not because of my own efforts to be good. The changes come naturally.
As I hear His heart for the lost, compassion for their blindness begins to grow. As I become more aware of His presence, I don’t want to do things that would displease Him. By spending time with Him and hearing Him speak to me, I learn that He is not angry with me but loves me with an everlasting love – that He is pleased with me.
To realize that I am secure in His love has allowed me to grow in grace and love for others. I don’t need to prove – or believe – myself better or more deserving of heaven than another person (a lie I believed most of my life. Which of us “deserves” anything from God?).
I don’t see Christianity as a competition anymore.
This kind of growth did not come from all the check-lists, bullet points, and “10-steps to Christian maturity” programs that I’ve followed for over 40 years. It’s new to me, and very noticeable to others, and began when I left off being merely “religious” and began to pursue a relationship with the Lord.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34 We have to know His love before we can truly love others.
I can know all the rules in the Bible and live by them, yet not know the Author of the Book.
Then I will have truly missed the point!
I will learn from Him best through His Word, as the Spirit prompts me to surrender the unholy parts of my heart to Him. The sinful areas are revealed as I study His Word.
This is not a call to dump the Bible and “feel the love.” To dismiss our Bibles is to silence the Lord’s most powerful way of communicating with us.
Does this make sense?
It is my heart’s desire to call people away from empty, vain “religiosity” and to an intimate relationship with our Lord.
Don’t miss the point!
Don’t miss Part 2 on Wednesday!
Visit my blog: Lessons by Heart
14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
16 And charged them that they should not make him known:
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.
Many tender-minded Christians fear to sin against love by daring to inquire into anything that comes wearing the cloak of Christianity and breathing the name of Jesus. They dare not examine the credentials of the latest prophet to hit their town lest they be guilty of rejecting something which may be of God. They timidly remember how the Pharisees refused to accept Christ when He came, and they do not want to be caught in the same snare, so they either reserve judgment or shut their eyes and accept everything without question. This is supposed to indicate a high degree of spirituality. But in sober fact it indicates no such thing. It may indeed be evidence of the absence of the Holy Spirit. Gullibility is not synonymous with spirituality. Faith is not a mental habit leading its possessor to open his mouth and swallow everything that has about it the color of the supernatural. Faith keeps its heart open to whatever is of God, and rejects everything that is not of God, however wonderful it may be. Try the spirits is a command of the Holy Spirit to the Church. We may sin as certainly by approving the spurious as by rejecting the genuine. And the current habit of refusing to take sides is not the way to avoid the question. To appraise things with a heart of love and then to act on the results is an obligation resting upon every Christian in the world. And the more as we see the day approaching.
Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
“The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God I thank You that I am not like other men–extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.
‘I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.
“And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’
“I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Christ Teaches on the Second Coming
“nor will they say, ‘See here!‘ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Then He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.
“And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do no go after them or follow them.
“For as the lightening that flashes out of one part under heaven shines to the other part under heaven, so also the Son of Man will be in His day.
“But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man:
“They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
“Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;
“but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.
“Even so it will be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.
“In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back.
“Remember Lot’s wife.
“Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whomever loses his life will preserve it.
“I will tell you, in that night there will be tow men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left.
“Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left.
“Two men will be in the field: the one will be take and the other left.”
And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them:
“When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him;
“and he who invited you and him come up to you and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place.
“But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you.
“For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friend, your brothers, your relative, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.
“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.
“And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”