Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Return.3

"Do not believe those who tell you: "I have found one like Christ." For there will arise many deceitful imitators, and false prophets, exhibiting “signs” and “wonders,” so that even the elect will be deceived.

Some among you will say, "Behold, one like Christ is in the desert.” Do not hurry out looking for me. Or if they say, "Christ has come, and is in a secret location that I alone know of," do not believe it. 

One Like Christ

In Escape From Reason, Francis Schaefer points out that the Anti-Christ is not the Anti-Non-Christ.  It is vitally important to understand that Jesus was and is the ultimate

expression of humanity, i.e., God's "logos" or idea of the qualities it takes to be fully human; a being in his image who is like God in nature. Therefore, any imitation, any being like Him, would have to have some of those qualities in order to attract other human beings.  

Thus, the disturbing trend in society of accepting ideas, "lifestyles", and practices that have been, historically, considered vile, obscene or worthless are esteemed and promoted because they are inoculated with terms like "tolerance", "love" and "civil rights" that let them pass through truth, reason and sensibility -- the guardians of civil behavior. 

Signs & Wonders

The movie, The Illusionist, gives a glimpse into the craft and effort it takes to deceive people into believing something that isn't.  The Prestige, demonstrates the awful means men will go to achieve their deceptive ends. In total they demonstrate the capacity humans have for deceiving and being deceived!

Deceitful Imitators

Jesus' words on the cost of discipleship sets a very high bar for commitment and obedience. Consider anew that we are to:
  • take up our cross
  • follow Him
  • love him more than self
  • be fit to plow
  • decry earthly possessions
  • obey all that He commanded us
  • baptize and teach others to obey Him
  • go the second mile
  • pay the last penny
  • give freely as we've received
  • plant and sow His word
  • seek the lost
  • lay down our lives in love
  • heal the sick
  • feed the hungry
  • clothe the naked
  • visit the prisoner
  • forgive as we've been forgiven
The only way to truly know a counterfeit is to truly know _
-- in intimate detail -- the Original.  The only way to know the True Jesus is to live our lives in absolute obedience to His commands.  He never asks us to do what He has not already done.  When we give ourselves to obedience we are giving ourselves to know His heart, the things that make it beat for the things He truly loves!

Militant love.

Sometimes I wonder if the Islamic "extremists" who live out their deadly beliefs are closer to the kind of passion Jesus requires of his followers then most of His followers are willing to live out?

Sometimes I wonder if any kind of passion for Christ that marks a person as peculiar is just too much for most of us.

Sometimes I wonder if our commitment to "bible study" is more important than our commitment to do all that Jesus said.

Sometimes I wonder if we understand that our "bible studies" are often no more than paper shuffling exercises that make us feel we are accomplishing something significant for the Kingdom of Heaven but have little productive value in changing lives; our own or others.

Sometimes I wonder if our struggle to live out our faith is because we know in our hearts that these paper shuffling activities can't really teach us His heart anywhere close what actually putting His words into practice will.  But due to fearfulness --whether to actually DO what He asks or fear of what others will think-- we don't even make baby steps of obedience.

Sometimes I wonder if we confuse obedience with perfection.  Obedience is not perfection, it is trying.  Trying then Trusting that the Perfect One will coach, strengthen, discipline, teach and help us eventually get it right!