Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Even Demons Believe..........

Do you know what the difference between an Atheist and a Demon is?  Demons believe in God.  

Let's look in the book of James for proof.  James 2:
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 

But let's not let the believers off so easy either.  It reminds me of a story by John Wesley. 

Being much concerned about the rise of denominations in the church, John Wesley tells of a dream he had. In the dream, he was ushered to the gates of Hell. There he asked, “Are there any Presbyterians here?” “Yes!” came the answer. Then he asked, “Are there any Baptists? Any Episcopalians? Any Methodists?” The answer was Yes! each time. Much distressed, Wesley was then ushered to the gates of Heaven. There he asked the same question, and the answer was No! “No?” To this, Wesley asked, “Who then is inside?” The answer came back, “There are only Christians here.” (1 Cor. 1:10-17)

Well if all those Baptists are in hell, why then is just being a good person not enough to get you into heaven? 

The problem is that most, if not all, religions are ethically based. Islam, Judaism or just plain old humanism all teach that to get to heaven you just have to be a "good person".  Follow the Ten commandments if you are Jewish, The Quran if your Muslim or just follow the "Golden Rule" to get to that Stairway to Heaven.  

I know a lot of people with "servant hearts".  People that do blood drives or others that are there for you any time of day rain or shine.  Many truly believe that this will get you into heaven.  They feel and many times rightfully so, that they do more good work than many so called Christians that they know. 

A big part of the problem here is what many nonbelievers see in believers.  They don’t see anything. I totally get it.  My mom wouldn't go to church because she thought the church goers to be hypocrites.  She said she drank beer with them on Saturday night and then they go to church on Sunday and act like goody two shoes.  And a lot of those beliefs that nonbelievers have about believers is true.  

James 2:1-7 says it best.  

The Sin of Partiality
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
I am not trying to take up for my mom.  Bless her heart; she really didn’t know what Jesus was about, much less church. But make no mistake, church is full of sinners.  Churches and the people in them should not judge people, just help broken people and we are all broken. Every Christian is a broken person.  
It’s actually taken me a long time to figure out church myself. 
I kind of thought that having good music and listening to good sermons makes everything good.  In reality, we miss the mark entirely if that’s our goal.  A real church attracts broken people with the truth and unconditional love. We share the grace of God with all.  That’s what a real church looks like.
My wish for you is that you find a church that “gets it”.  A church family that has real faith not a dead faith.  A church that shows no partiality and loves everyone without judgement. I am afraid that many of our churches and many of those sitting in the pews have a "dead faith".  
My next post will be about faith and works.  Christians and nonbelievers alike argue over this all the time.  It’s really quite simple when you get right down to it.  

I love to add a song at the end of a post that best demonstrates what I have been talking about.  I think Johnny Paycheck's Outlaw's Prayer fits today.   This song tells about a church at shows partiality and not loving all people.  It also tells where Johnny Paycheck stands in his faith.  Feels like the "living a good life"   way to heaven and at the end, says that he hopes he gets to see Jesus one day.

People with real faith are secure in their knowledge of their eternal life with Jesus. For those nonbelievers, I just want to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation or whatever other way you want to classify people.  He shows no partiality, he loves everyone.  And just know that a true believing Christian believes this too and won't judge you.  

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