Fair Is The New Good

“Great writing is the creative use of words. It comes from reading, writing, failing and repeating.

It takes time to become a good writer. Since few have the time, fair is the new good.”

This was the last two lines of an editorial I happened across in the Tulsa World newspaper.  The article was entitled, “Graduates commence to join the real world” and for the most part, at least to me, it wasn’t an article I was impressed with, until the last two lines.  For some reason, it really made me think about what passes for modern Evangelical Church today.  Have we become so busy in this world that we no longer expect “good” from the Church?  It seems to me that all we want to do is show up, spend 45 minutes having a “worship experience” and then go on about our lives, happy with the fact that we have punched our ticket for another week.

“Oh, preacher,” thinks the little old gray haired lady, “You preached too long and now I won’t be able to get that handicapped parking spot and a good seat at the restaurant because all the other church’s have already finished their services.”  “Man, I’m going to miss the opening kickoff if he doesn’t wrap this up soon,” is the thought running through that guy who used to be the college fullback!  “If this pastor doesn’t shut up soon, I’m going to miss DW’s ‘boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing boys,'” boogity_boogity_boogitythinks the guy who always shows up in the NASCAR hat.

I realize that some who read this might push back some, but isn’t it the truth?  For the most part, we as human beings, desire the “fair” over the “good.”  Don’t believe me, take a look at the furniture you have in your house.  How much of it came from Walmart and how much of it was crafted by true furniture maker and will be passed down to your grandchildren?  How many of us get up in the morning, turn to our Bible’s and spend an hour digging Digging Into The Wordinto the Word of God and then praying that God apply His Word to our lives instead of just getting our “fix” on Sunday?

The problem, as I see it, is that we have such low expectations of ourselves in the area of our spiritual lives, which, by the way, is the most important area of our lives, that we come to expect even our Sunday Service to be just “fair.”  That, sir or ma’am, is absolutely wrong Moral_Judgment(wow, did this guy just make an absolute moral judgement, why yes he did). We should go to Church expecting to be fed meat, and not just any meat, but the meat that has been tenderized by the study of God’s Word, marinated in days of agonizing prayer, and served up to us with the knowledge that it was God Himself that chose to allow us to hear from Him through His chosen servant.

If we end up settling for less than the best of God’s Word, then I submit that we have failed (can you believe this guy, he has committed a major faux pas by making his second absolute moral judgment).  If, as Ephesians 1:3 states, “…[He] has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,” and we blow that off by settling for less, what does that say about us as Christians.

Just a little food for thought today!

What is Man?

Paul WasherI recently had the opportunity to listen to two sermons by Paul Washer on the book of Ephesians.  As usual, they have challenged me to rethink how I think about God and who He is.  I’ve included a partial transcript I made of the second sermon.  I’ve included the audio files of both sermons and you can listen to them by clicking on the links provided at the bottom of this page.

From Ephesians 1, Part 2:

When does God get scandalous for man?  When does God become scandalous for man?  When we talk about His love? No.  When we talk about His mercy? No.  When do people get angry when we talk about God?  When we talk about His righteousness.  Now think about that.  When you say that God is righteous, men get angry.  Now why would men get angry at the idea of a righteous God?  Because man is not righteous.

What is the great scandal about the Law of God?  When I’m speaking, especially at universities, I hear people say all the time – “I don’t want to hear about the Law of God!”  “Why, I ask?”  “Because it suppresses me, it oppresses me and holds me down.”  I had a student actually stand up and say that one time.  I asked him, in front of the entire audience, please explain to me which law is oppressive?  Which one do you hate?  Is it ‘love your neighbor as yourself?’  Is it ‘you shall not lie or bare false witness?’  Is it ‘you shall not commit adultery and steal another mans wife or that you should not reduce another human being to an object to be used for your sexual pleasure?’  Exactly which law is it that oppresses you  and if God’s law does oppress you, then what does that say about you?

You see, the reason why men are hostile towards God is this, God is good, and men are not.  When we talk about this mass of humanity we are talking about a mass of people given over to corruption, hostile towards God and hostile towards His law.  But also we are talking about a humanity that loves evil and refuses reconciliation.  Now think about that, a humanity that not just loves evil, but a humanity that refuses reconciliation. 

Humanity cannot come to God.  Men cannot come to God on their own.  When I say that people respond, “Well, if men cannot come to God on their own, then God is wrong in judging them in the same way we would be wrong for judging a man who was blind for not being able to read a sign on the road.  What do you mean, man cannot come to God?”  I mean that because Jesus said that. But what is the explanation and why is such a man held guilty?  Man cannot come to God because man will not come to God and he will not come to God because he hates Him.  He hates Him because He is good.

Have you ever seen an old lady whose face is etched with bitterness and you say to her, “Ma’am, you must forgive your husband.”  She responds, “I cannot forgive him.”  Now, she speaks the same language as her husband and they live in the same house.  She is not saying she cannot, she is saying she will not and why will she not?  Because of her hostility towards her husband.

What about a political prisoner who is in chains?  The king comes down to the dungeon and says, “I will throw open the door, all you have to do is bow your knee to me and acknowledge my sovereignty.”  The prisoner leaps up, grabs the door, slams it closed and says “I would rather rot in prison than bow my knee to you.”

That is man.

Jesus said this in John 3:19-20:

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.

Light came into the world.  I’m always hearing people say that if the believers would just live like Jesus then people would be converted.  No, you would have a lot of believers crucified.  Jesus came into the world and what did the world do?  They crucified him!  Why?  He gives us the reason: 

…that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Jesus said in John 6:44:

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

In John 6:65:

And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

I want to read a paragraph that I have written here in my notes to make myself as clear as possible.

When the scriptures speak about election, it is not in the context of a mass of humanity victimized by the devil, that wants to be saved, but lacks the faculties to do so.  That is the way, a lot of times, men are presented; victims.  No that is not the context.  The context is this.  It is in the context of a mass of humanity that is morally corrupt, hostile towards God, that rejects every offer of redemption and that would rather spend an eternity given over to corruption and the misery’s of hell than to be subject to God in heaven.

One of the reasons why certain people have so much difficulty with election and they have so much difficulty with hell is because they think man is good, that there is something good in man that wants God.  There is a little spark, there is a little something, there’s got to be some goodness in there somewhere.  Therefore they say hell is immoral, how could God throw man in hell?  What you need to understand is that that is not true.  Hell is moral because man is immoral.  The only reason they may look a little moral in the context of present society is because the grace of God is restraining their evil.  But if God where to pull back, man would become monsters of iniquity.  So every time you see some vile crime that comes out on the local news, or some atrocity committed by some government that is beyond the mind to comprehend, realize that that is you apart from the grace of God.

Ephesians 1, Part 1

Ephesians 1, Part 2

Daily Roundup

Defining Religious Liberty Down – An Op-Ed Piece by Ross Douthat that talks about some of the recent controversy regarding religious views of private citizens/groups.

The Gospel:  Simple Yet Not Simplistic – The gospel of Jesus Christ is simple; yet, it is not simplistic. In other words, although it is fundamentally simple and easily understood, Jesus Christ is the “Lamb slain” from before the beginning of the world.

Is the SBC Divided? Yes and No – An article that talks about some divisions within the SBC, but more importantly, it talks about what unifies the SBC.

But God… – Have you ever noticed how brutal the Bible can be?  Ephesians 2 starts out incredibly brutal towards mankind.

The Father’s Love in the Cross – God does not love us because Christ died for us; Christ died for us because God loved us.

Doctrines of Grace: A Categorized Scripture List – Nathan Pitchford has put together an outstanding list of scriptures dealing with the doctrines of Grace

Daily Round Up

What Kind of God?  This is a brief article on the nature of God’s love and judgment by Tim Challies.

5 Messages on Ephesians by John Stott.  Classic series from the mid 1970’s by John Stott.

A Little Leaven.  A website devoted to some really crazy stuff that could be going on in a church right down the street from you.

Is Christianity a Religion or a Relationship?  A reasoned response by Voddie Baucham.  A good read.

Do Christians Need The Gospel?  A interview of Michael Horton and Rod Rosenbladt by Tullian Tchividjian

If Christ is True, Boredom is a Sin.  “Boredom is a sin so long as Christ is infinitely beautiful.” – From Gospel Deeps by Jared Wilson