Archive for May, 2016
Were the Israelites right in thinking that the land was quite rich when God used the term “milk and honey”? Was it okay for them to conclude that all their provisions would be met while living on the Land (provided of course, they continued to worship and obey God), or was God merely exaggerating? I think most would agree that their expectations related the Land God was giving them were quite accurate and did not rise above God’s intended expectations. In that way then, they understood the meaning of God’s language about the Land flowing with “milk and honey” quite literally.
Over the years, there have been many televangelists who have made a name for themselves because they have deliberately co-opted Christianity for their own benefit. Certainly, not all televangelists are guilty of this, but too many of them are and it is aggravating to say the least. I’m really not sure that the average non-Christian actually sees the difference, yet it some ways, it’s very clear that these non-Christians have far more common sense than many who call themselves Christians and get sucked up into the morass created by con artist televangelists.
However, in today’s world, it has become very difficult in some ways to minister to other people. I wrote half in jest on a social network the other day that there are essentially two types of people in this world, those who agree with you and those who don’t. That’s essentially it and when we are talking with folks who do not agree with us, the conversation can come to an abrupt end. We saw this during Paul’s ministry as he worked his way through Asia Minor. In Acts 17, Paul is at various places and tries to reason with the individuals there. In general, he was laughed at and called a “babbler.” He and Silas were chased from one place to another.
The world is going to hate us. If you – as a Christian – have no enemies, you are either living in a cave, hiding your “light” in a cave, or you have tried too hard (and succeeded) in catering to the world’s attitudes so that they will “like” you. I’m certainly not saying we should go looking for trouble (although some Christians do) because trouble will eventually find us. Satan knows we’re here. He hasn’t lost sight or track of us. God will at various points allow him to stoke the fires of hatred, animosity, and persecution in our lives from time to time. This is for our growth as well as His glory and it is oftentimes how He brings people to Him.
As soon as God birthed the Church in Acts 2, Satan lost no time dropping into each generation tares that would look, talk, and act like Christians. These tares would be used by Satan throughout successive generations including this current one to throw monkey wrenches into the works in attempts to derail God’s plans. Satan has never been successful in the long run and will not succeed. While it may appear that at times, he gains the upper hand, he is always on a leash and it is that simple. His defeat is accomplished and his ultimate doom is certain.
Being issue-oriented has pitted Christians against the world so is it any wonder the world hates us? When we see groups like Westboro Baptist Church with their signs filled with vulgar language stating God hates certain groups, this furthers the problem. It engenders hate and the world couldn’t care less about trying to distinguish between Westboro and other conservative or even authentic Christians. Interestingly enough, they can do this where Islam is concerned and we’ll talk about that later because it indirectly ties into the second and third reasons for why the world hates us.
Once a person becomes a Christian (having been made a disciple), the obligation is to do the next thing. New converts were to be baptized and taught what it means to be and live as a Christian. Being baptized with water does not save a person. It publicly signifies to whom that person is affiliated. This should be done publicly as a testimony to all that the new convert to Christianity is claiming association with Jesus (which is why one is baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), to separate them from other religions, sects, and cults that existed then (and now).