Fools: Defending and Offending God.

Who’s more irrational, man who believes in God he can’t see or man who’s offended by a God he doesn’t believe in?

-Ben Stein

“If you hear a man rail at the Bible, you can usually conclude that he never reads it.”
-C. H. Spurgeon

PSALM 14 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.”  They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,  there is none who does good. The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man,  to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers    who eat up my people as they eat bread  and do not call upon the LORD? There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge. Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion!  When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.
Crossway Bibles (2011-02-09). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (Kindle Locations 21988-22001). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.

There has been and will for so long be a struggle in our culture that raises itself against the knowledge of God. It is important to recognize this, that we are not alone. Many have gone before us in the faith, (just read Hebrews 11), and they have suffered greatly for the cause of Christ. That suffering is not full blown here in the U.S. but it is in many places of the world, and I believe is not far from us. We must entrust ourselves to our faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:12-19). Living godly lives will to lead us to suffering, but we are not alone! The world will act irrationally as they preach tolerance, but practice intolerance. But, oh Christians, let us not point the finger at them, thinking, “Oh Lord, thank you for not making me like that tax collector,” or that lost person, and pointing the finger of condemnation. Self-righteously thinking we are better, is a deadly poison that will infest our words and actions. They already stand condemned, it isn’t our job too. We have the same carnal pagan mind as a lost person, the only difference is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We can’t take credit for that my friends. This blog post is a plea, to look at the insanity of how foolish the lost world acts and have compassion and be broken over them. Remembering we were once just as heavily broken, but now we are being conformed to the image of the Son, day-by-day. Still broken, but being restored.

We are becoming who God wants us to be, and along the way, we are to be faithful in presenting Christ to others, so that they can be who He wants them to be.

Last week, something really rattled me, I wasn’t planning on posting this, but I really sense the Spirit of God leading me to share this through my blog. I have a friend that who I go back and forth with speaking of spiritual things. From the get-go on meeting this guy, I didn’t think he was a Christian at all, as a matter of fact far from it, (I still know he is not, because of what i discover later), but a little while after him getting to know me, he discovers I am a devout Christian. Then it is like, his whole demeanor changes, I barely hear the guy cuss anymore, its a miracle, lol. Nah, but seriously, he began speaking with me about the things of God, but something seemed really off about him. I couldn’t seem to put my finger on it for the longest time, but he would always be very controversial, I really believe he is a manifestation of this passage of Scripture:

22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

At first, in talking with this guy, this is how I acted. I would occasionally walk away from talking to him, because he would just bring up foolish stuff. I wanted to be gentle with him, so I would just end the conversation and walk away  until he would calm down. You could tell he either didn’t pull ideas from Scripture, or that he totally twisted a text of Scripture out of context. It would frustrate me, but I would keep my cool. He is a man who breeds quarrels, even over very miniscule tasks, that have nothing to do with discussing spiritual things. Quarrels were his drug. He often spoke of his family and how he didn’t go to church because of them, and every time I said the name Jesus, he would correct me and say, “No sir, it’s Yeshua,” I would be like, ” Jesus is the English translation of that name!” It was quite annoying, because he knew who i was talking about but had to be right and controlling. So i just ignored it after a while of seeing how tightly he would cling to his little things, and how I would almost succumb to acting just as foolish over it just being the English translation. I saw it more important that he bask in the grace of God, rather than argue and argue and argue, I would gently try and try to just get him away from controversial things, and to something that may encourage him or get him to think without hostility.

This is the part that rattled me, the part of my story with this guy, that God has used to sharpen me, it even made me leave work in tears, broken over my own sin and helplessness before God, I left in a rage against lies and against his sin and the greatness of my own sin and who I’ve sinned against.

The discussion began as it normally did about some spiritual things, this time about the end times. And he begins quoting the Gospel of Matthew. And says from it, “Since Yeshua, does not know the day or the hour, that the Father will have Him return, He is not God. He is merely the Son of Yahweh, but definitely not Yahweh.” I have finally discovered what was so off about him. He denied the deity of Christ!! Which is a huge problem! For anyone who holds to such a view they deny the whole of Scripture. For the Scriptures testify about Jesus being the Christ, the Son of God. John 1:1-5, 14 How did the Triune-Creator God exist, before EVERYTHING ELSE EXISTED? and Then make his home in flesh and dwell among us? It truly is miraculous, but miracles are not irrational. The need for a perfect sacrifice for our sin, CAN NOT come from humanity, for we are all fallen, we are all sinners, in need of redemption. We need someone to redeem us, to purchase us. To pay our debt. Colossians has some of the most beautiful texts on Jesus’ Deity.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. (Colossians 1:15-20 ESV)

And you who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (Colossians 2:13-15 ESV)

“A Jesus who never wept could never wipe away my tears.” – Charles Spurgeon

Jesus is as the Nicene Creed says of the 2nd person of the Trinity:

“I believe . . . in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.”

Now i may be quoting a few sources and pointing out the deity of Christ as it is affirmed throughout Scripture and sources outside of Scripture, but there is more to the story of the rattling of myself as I interacted with my co-worker further. I immediately saw where this man was off and was urgent to share with him truth. To sternly warn him of that very destructive heresy. As I began to weaken the foundation of his own beliefs, only a few sentences in he would say, “Prove it to me! there is nowhere in Yahweh’s Word that says, Yeshua is equal with Yahweh!!” As I took him to the gospel of John, I wanted to walk him through the “I Am” Statements of Christ, but when i would begin reading the paragraph, in order to give him the full context, instead of just plastering a verse in for my argument, I would to be text-driven and just give it to him with a fuller picture. But after reading one verse, he would just interrupt and be like, “SEE IT TOLD YOU!” I would look at him with growing irritation, but also with this confused look on my face, saying, “Let me finish, I’ve only read, “The Jews answered him, ‘Are we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?'” You have to let me read the full context!” lol it is ridiculous looking back on it. But he wouldn’t let me get a word out. But this is about the time, where the reality that my sin nature is there and is strong began to come out. I began to raise my voice and get shaken up with anger, not because he denied the deity of Christ, but he would ceaselessly interrupt me. I couldn’t get more than a sentence out. It was very rude and disrespectful and repetitive. He began to notice my impatience, and railed at me, “Ah I have shaken you up! You see, you are doubting what you believe, because you are angry that I am right! hahaha!” It was quite frustrating hearing that too, because that is no why i was even angry! I was angry at the disrespect, the lack of friendliness, but how did I return it? With the same! How hypocritical of me!

We went back and forth in frustration for a bit and then he said, in vehement rage, “It is because of people like YOU, that I do not go to church!” Now that was a sword thrust to my own heart. I stood there feeling foolish, because I argued with a fool and acted the fool, joining him in his folly, but by doing so, pushed him another step further from ever coming to Christ. Yes, he has made his own choice to deny the God who made Him, and came and died, then rising again to save him. But I wasn’t helping. I wasn’t emulating the love of Christ, the patience of Christ in those moments. I didn’t practice self-control or gentleness.

I left work that night, and got into my car. I started tearing up. I was so ashamed of how I had not acted out the gospel. How i pridefully tried to be right. To do what I accused him of. How I tried to be controlling. I have heard a man once say, “You know a man really believes his theology, when his theology results in humility.”

let me says that again, “You know a man really believes his theology, when his theology results in humility.”

I left work crying out to God for forgiveness, Broken over this man’s lostness and my own self-righteousness. I was the pharisee, looking and saying, “I’m glad I’m not like that man.” Thinking I am better than him. BUT APART FROM CHRIST I AM NOTHING. I am dust. All I have is from God. I am a desperate beggar, daily trying to be sensitive to my need for Jesus. I often fail, but His love never fails!

Dr. Thomas White, the new President of Cedarville University preached a sermon on Pride in chapel at Southwestern last week. The Spirit of God used that sermon in my life, literally a day after all this transpired to convict me of my foolishness. I went back to work that next day and didn’t renounce truth, but graciously asked for His forgiveness and extended forgiveness to my co-worker. Now he kept wanting to argue, but I told him, no because it is too tempting for both of us to disrespect each other. So we don’t discuss the things of God for now. Because he likes to make it controversial, it is like his drug. But my own drug, is my pride. I am just as in need of Christ as this man. Thankfully, only because of the blood of Jesus Christ poured out for me. I am HIS. I am sealed with the Holy Spirit. A co-heir with Christ. And that is not from me. “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

I offended God by acting so unlike Him, when trying to defend Him. This man offends God, by denying the Son and therefore denying the Father. I pray for him often. Will you please pray for me. Friend, pray that I would boast only in the Lord, and not be filled with such rebellious attitudes toward my Father, that my first father, Adam, has caused me to inherit. I am plagued with this flesh, but oh that glorious day is coming, when sin will be no more. When every tear will be wiped away, when the memory of sin will only be known by the fact that Jesus paid for all my sin, so all that attention will be on Jesus, the Lamb of God, that Lion of the Tribe of Judah. My Savior, Redeemer, and Friend. Until that day, especially in this country where we are increasingly receiving more attacks, we must stand as Russell Moore puts it, as the Prophetic Minority in a culture that is hostile to the truth of God’s word. Not afraid to speak the truth, even though it is treated as trash, and display it’s beauty to the world, not only in word, but in deed.

“Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms.” -C.S. Lewis

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6 ESV)

 

The Fools Face

 

 

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