It Takes All Kinds to Reach All Kinds
Since I wrote the article, Today I was Reminded that I Have a Sin Nature, I’ve realized several things and I’ve highlighted them repeatedly in the series “Christ, Our Righteousness” and “Christ, Our Fellowship.” There are – in point of fact – two “levels” (if you will) of Christianity. The first “level” is the one in which we initially become born again or gain salvation. This act changes our legal standing before God from unrighteous to righteous. It is an undeniable fact from Scripture that once a person truly and authentically receives salvation made possible because of the atonement that Jesus Himself provided on our behalf, we become and remain a “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). All of our sin – past, present, and future – is forgiven and forgotten by God.
It’s important to understand that many of the changes that happen to us due to our salvation means there is no going back. We cannot be unborn again. We cannot be unsealed by the same Holy Spirit who seals us. We cannot be removed from the heavenly realms since we are seated there with Christ now. We cannot be unbaptized by the Holy Spirit. We cannot be unindwelt by the Holy Spirit. We cannot have our names unwritten in the book of life (yes, I know how people believe our names can be removed). There are many things that cannot happen to us once we are authentically saved, chief of which is that we cannot lose our salvation.
As I’ve tried to bring out, salvation is the starting point for the Christian. From that point onward, each new Christian is expected to push on to become mature in Jesus. This happens when we take seriously our privilege to fellowship with God in Christ. Our fellowship can only occur at all because of the new life we have in Christ. Whether or not we actually enter into fellowship with God is another thing altogether and is primarily up to us. This is why – I believe – so many Christians spend what remains of their lives either overshooting or undershooting things with God. Because of it, they’re often dissatisfied with their relationship with God. It is because they lack fellowship because they don’t “enter” into it with Him.
I say this all to get to my main point. What I’ve come to realize is that people can be truly saved and live as though they are not. They can be saved and be immature, worldly, or what Paul might call “carnal.” I’ve provided numerous examples from the Bible in other articles to prove this.
The other thing I’m learning is that there are some authentic Christians who take their relationship with Jesus very seriously and yet make their living in a world that most of us shy away from for its vanity, immorality, and self-indulgence. I’m talking about individuals who are Christians and who remain involved in the music and/or acting world. Might as well throw politicians into that mix too.
I think most of us would completely agree that being a musician in a secular band or an actor in Hollywood ranks pretty low on the totem pole as far as commitment to Jesus is concerned. In fact, many people who become Christians while actors or in bands usually come out of those venues. They move away from it because they recognize there are only so many cesspools that a person can walk through without taking on the stench of those cesspools. Because of their new life in Jesus, they naturally want to avoid those cesspools.
But what if God wants them there for His purposes? What if God wants to use them to reach people who wouldn’t be caught dead in a church and who otherwise might never see a Christian live the Christian life? Is that all right with you (not that it should matter)? I can relate to that thinking because I’ve thought it many times. As a musician (and someone who has done his fair share of acting), I know what goes on in that realm and I know how perverse in many respects life in the “arts” can be. It doesn’t mean that a person needs to succumb to the pressures and temptations, but too many do. I never did, but that doesn’t mean the temptations weren’t there. It’s simply easier to move away from it to avoid the temptation to be caught up into it.
But here is a good question: is it possible for God to have people – musicians, actors, and artists – whom He deliberately places in situations where their artistic talents are used but who also provide a real testimony for Jesus so that others they work with hear it and are impacted by it? I used to think if that happened, it was a complete accident and God was simply making a bad situation good because He promises that His Word will never return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11). I had serious doubts about God’s choice in deliberately putting one of His children in situations like that even if it was to spread the gospel.
I am now reconsidering my position based on the fact that more than anything, God wants people saved and He is very willing to use some of His own children in specific areas – music, acting, arts, and politics – in order to introduce people to salvation available only through Jesus. What I’m saying is that why should all Christians flee from being an actor, musician, politician, or artist? How will people in those realms be reached if there is no one to tell them (and prove it with their lifestyle) since we know that folks in those industries won’t go to church or if they do go to church, it’s a church that doesn’t preach the true gospel?
According to the testimony of the following individuals, they are sold out to Jesus. They seem sincere and I believe it is certainly possible that God has them where they are for the purpose of introducing others to Him. Here are just a few examples.
Really? Alice Cooper, the guy who has his own head chopped off during his show? Yeah, that guy. Here’s what he has to say about his own walk with God in Christ.
Being a Christian is something you just progress in. You learn. You go to your Bible studies. You pray…it’s real easy to focus on Alice Cooper and not on Christ. I’m a rock singer…I consider myself low on the totem pole of knowledgeable Christians. So, don’t look for answers from me. I’m a new creature now. Don’t judge Alice by what he used to be. Praise God for what I am now.
McBrain is the drummer for Iron Maiden. He’s also part of the worship team at the church he attends in Florida. Following his “intense” conversion to Jesus, he stated that he started “…this love affair with Jesus going on in my heart.”
Spitz is the guitarist for Anthrax. Nice name, eh?
In 2000, Spitz, who was raised in a Jewish home, became a Messianic Jew, a religious blend that upholds Jewish customs while acknowledging that salvation is only possible by accepting Jesus as one’s savior.
Welch (known as “Head”) is one of the co-founding members of the heavy metal/alternative rock group Korn.
In 2005, Welch found God. He was baptized in the River Jordan in March 2005. As he later explained in a Full Armor of God radio interview. “I was walking one day, just doing my rock and roll thing making millions of bucks, you know success and everything, addicted to drugs and then the next day I had Revelation of Christ and I was like, everything changes right now!”
Taking time to get straight and clean up, Welch eventually rejoined Korn. One might ask, “what is he thinking?” Welch would simply point to what he does now. He “regularly meets with fans after concerts to pray for them and lead them to Christ.”
Memphis May Fire
This is a metal-core band that my son pointed out to me, where some of the band members are Christian. In fact, their songs have overtly Christian lyrics to them. They believe they are reaching an un-churched group of people and they have quite a following. The Christian tone of their lyrics is especially seen in the release of their 2014 CD titled “Unconditional.”
There are others, many of whom I was not aware existed. The question I have to ask myself is how else will these fans hear about Jesus and hear it in a way that meets them where they are now? If you’re like I have been, this is a difficult question to answer. It’s easy for me to simply shrug all of this off and condemn their efforts as being materialistic and reducing Jesus to a level He should not be reduced to all so that these people can continue doing what they did before they were saved.
Here’s the reality though. I don’t know their hearts. Certainly, as I read the information about their conversions and their current commitments to Jesus, they strike me as being real. But guess what? They don’t answer to me. They answer to God. What if God is using them to make a difference for Him? What if these people will have an impact of people that neither you or I could ever impact for Jesus?
The first and primary job for all of us is to introduce people to Jesus by making them aware of their need for salvation. Once they become saved, we need to encourage them to begin the process of being and remaining in fellowship with God in Christ because of our salvation, but we cannot force that upon them as we cannot force salvation on them. We also need to remember that the Holy Spirit indwells each and every believer and is very capable of teaching, guiding, and chastising each believer in a way that proves God’s love repeatedly and best for that specific individual. At best, my acts of “encouragement” might come across as very condemning or judgmental and that is something I need to be extremely careful about, don’t it? There are times I need to step aside and give room to those who speak another person’s cultural language and can relate to where they are right then and there.
I’m glad God loves us, aren’t you? I’m glad I don’t have to rise to your expectations and you to mine, aren’t you?
As I’ve said before, I fully believe that there will be multitudes of people in heaven who have salvation and little beyond it. They will not have known fellowship with God in this life. For some reason, they will receive salvation and spend the remainder of their lives living for self and failing to enter into fellowship with God. But, they will have salvation and for that, the angels rejoice (Luke 15:10), and we should too.
We cannot force a person into fellowship with Jesus anymore than we can force someone to receive salvation. We cannot impose our will onto their lives. Too often, we condemn. Too often, we fail to reach out. Too often, we fall short by not even wanting to try to reach people who live on the fringes of society. I am thankful that God has placed people like the ones mentioned in this article in those realms because they have something to say that others like them will be far more interested in listening to than if I were to say it.
God wants no one to perish (2 Peter 3:9), and because of His love and grace, now is the time for salvation. First and foremost, this is His desire, that all should come to Him for the free gift of salvation. That is the first step. We need to get with God’s program and let Him worry about what happens after a person has received that salvation. Yes, we should certainly be encouragers and yes, churches need to have guidelines and even rules regarding measures of discipline for those believers in that church who go beyond the boundaries set by God Himself.
But I believe our first priority as Christians should be to love the lost; to love them so much that the love they see from us pushes them right into the Kingdom of Heaven where salvation is available to all who believe.
Entry filed under: christianity, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: alice cooper, brian welch, dan spitz, korn, memphis may fire, metalcore, nicko mcbrain.