Moving forward now, I thought I would share some of the things I'm learning about through my Bible Reading. I know I mentioned a few posts ago that I started a new Bible Reading plan. It's super intense and a little hard for me to keep up with at times, but it's good. I'll be sharing the details on that later. That's not the purpose of this post. As I've been thinking about where God is leading me later in life, I've begun to think about some views that I have about ministry. As some of you know- I have some radical views on topics (in all areas of my life- from politics to religion). While I'm still digesting them, and I try not to judge people that don't interpret things the way I do, there are some things that I believe are non-negotiables. These are things that I believe should not be argued about within the church and should be accepted as fact. Some other things I believe are a little bit more open to personal interpretation. I've really begun to see the roots that universalism has sown in our Christian culture. And frankly- it scares me. I see it in my own life when I don't want to tell people that what they are doing is wrong. And while I believe that judgement is reserved for God, I think it is your duty as a Christian friend to tell your friend when they are doing wrong. When you have a relationship with someone, you also have a responsibility. Ezekiel 33: 12-16 says:
The righteous behavior of righteous people will not save them if they turn to sin, nor will the wicked behavior of wicked people destroy them if they repent and turn from their sins.When I tell righteous people that they will live, but then they sin, expecting their past righteousness to save them, then none of their righteous acts will be remembered. I will destroy them for their sins. And suppose I tell some wicked people that they will surely die, but then they turn from their sins and do what is just and right. For instance, they might give back a debtor’s security, return what they have stolen, and obey my life-giving laws, no longer doing what is evil. If they do this, then they will surely live and not die. None of their past sins will be brought up again, for they have done what is just and right, and they will surely live.It's not just saying the words. It's living the life. All the good things you have done in the past can save you if you turn your life over to sin. In the same way, no one is too far lost in sin to turn away from sin and turn towards righteous living.
Another thing I found interesting in my Bible reading is the fact that God calls us to not only evangelize, but also to tell people to change their ways. As I said earlier, it's not just saying the words, it's living the life worthy of the gospel.
If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to tell them to change their ways, then they will die in their sins, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. But if you warn them to repent and they don’t repent, they will die in their sins, but you will have saved yourself. - Ezekiel 33: 8-9
As surely as I live, says the Sovereign Lord, you abandoned my flock and left them to be attacked by every wild animal. And though you were my shepherds, you didn’t search for my sheep when they were lost. You took care of yourselves and left the sheep to starve. -Ezekiel 34:8If we don't tell the people we know about how they are dying in their sin-- WE are the ones responsible! The whole "Go and make disciples" thing isn't just in the New Testament. The whole evangelism thing isn't just Jesus and Paul. It's a God thing in the Old Testament prophets, too!
Another little verse I thought I would end with. At the end of Deuteronomy, Moses is about to leave to go die. It is time for the Israelites to enter the Promised Land, but Moses is not allowed to go with them. Before Moses leaves his people, God tells Moses about what is going to happen in the future. How Israel will turn away from God and worship other pagan gods. How they will abandon Him. So, God gives Moses the words to a song to give to the people. It's a song of warning that is echoed in the prophets of the latter part of the Old Testament. He gives Moses this song to give to the people so that it can be passed down and maybe someday they will learn the error of their ways and turn back to God.
But Israel soon became fat and unruly;Does this not sound like us in America today? We are so prosperous on our own, that often we feel that we don't need God. Like the Israelites, we forget that God brought us out of slavery and to the prosperity we enjoy today. We didn't make our lives by our own doing. We are where we are because of God. He's the one that brought us here. Are we abandoning Him by the way we are living our lives?
the people grew heavy, plump, and stuffed!
Then they abandoned the God who had made them;
they made light of the Rock of their salvation.
So, that's where I'm at. Figuring out where I lie in the spectrum and where that is in relation to God. I'm not perfect at any of this- so please don't take this as judgement. I'm just passing on the truth and spreading the Word that I've found. :)