James Gray lived and served the Lord at a time when what is now known as “liberal theology” was on the rise. There have always been those who denied that Jesus Christ was anything more than a man — but those who made such claims didn’t pretend to be Christians.
In the last half of the nineteenth century, though, a movement among those who called themselves Christian theologians began to increase in numbers and influence. They taught that Jesus was not God, but He was special. He had come, they said, not as the Son of God, but as an example, the “ideal” of what a man should be. They usually denied His miracles, claiming that their importance was not whether they actually happened, but rather that the stories of miracles helped us to see Jesus as a model to follow.
Mark Escalera at Defending. Contending. ran (with permission) my post, “OMG” — and Other Ways Christians Take God’s Name in Vain (this continues to be, by far, my most shared post). In the comments at DefCon someone said she has tried to break the habit of saying, “Oh my goodness!”
The kind of thing that happens when God’s people don’t listen, don’t obey, don’t trust Him:
Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate,
Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah, that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them.
The kind of thing that happens when a faithful God keeps His promises despite the sin and unbelief of those who should follow Him:
O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof:
Today, my text was Isaiah 40:3-11. Verse 11 says:
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
…are our family, friends, neighbours, and co-workers ready to face eternity?
Have we ever said anything that would let them know we have the answer to eternal destiny?
Do our lives give them evidence that our faith is real, or make them think Christians (and Christianity) are frauds? Are we true, pure, and kind? When we speak truth that is uncomfortable for them, do we have compassion on their discomfort and speak it with gentleness, or do we speak in harshness?
What if it DOESN’T become a world-wide epidemic, if rather than real danger for most of us it is a lot of scare-mongering? Shouldn’t we be asking these questions anyway?
It’s been a while, but I’d like to return to my “Passion Tuesday” series on the Tuesday before Christ’s crucifixion. If you missed them, I’d recommend hitting that link for a quick read of at least the two articles on the Parable of the Husbandmen and the two on the greatest commandments. They give important context for this article.
Jesus’ answer on the greatest commandment pointed to the source of their problem — indeed, everyone’s problem. We don’t love God, and we don’t love our neighbours. To solve that, we need a new heart, a change worked by God. He showed the religious leaders the need for the Cross, but now having answered questions, Jesus asked one, the last question of the day.