January 9, 2011
HOW GREAT is THAT DARKNESS by Coach Dave Daubenmire.
“But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness" -Matthew 6:23
Okay Lord, I’ll write it. But I really don’t understand why you give me these dirty jobs. Why haven’t you anointed me to write about the evil Democrats, or say, those God-haters who want to take Manger Scenes off of the courthouse steps? Why can’t I be like Ann Coulter and just expose liberals? Why do I always have to write things about folks who are supposed to be on my side? The liberals hate me enough…why do I have to keep poking “conservatives” in the eye?
It won’t be long before I won’t be welcome anywhere in Christian circles. But I promised you years ago that I would be faithful to write and speak what you put in my spirit. As President John Adams famously said, “Duty is ours. The results belong to God.”
So, I’ll lay it out there and trust you have a reason for putting the words in my heart.
Most Christians are not really disciples of Jesus. As I go about my work, I have become more and more convinced of that truth. The American Experience is in trouble because those who claim to be followers of Jesus really don’t follow Him.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, they “go to church,” and most “believe in God,” but they are not followers of Jesus. They don’t even know what that means...to follow Jesus…even though they are “Christians.” In fact, I doubt whether the Apostle Paul, or any of the first-century believers, would even recognize the “religion” that we call “Christianity” today. Just wondering….was Jesus a “Christian?”
Jesus hated religion. It was the “religious” folks that He tried to free us from. “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."
Read Mathew 23 to understand better what He had to say to “religious” leaders. He stated it better than I can.
Look. Christianity is not a religion, it is not “going to church”, it is not a set of rules and regulations after which you pattern your life, it is not a crutch for the weak, it is not an answer on the US Census, and it is not a home business designed to increase one’s earthly possessions.
Christianity is the life of Jesus living through you. It is an exchange of your life for His, a living out of His nature instead of yours, a “putting on” of the life of Jesus, not a process where you “accept” Him, or “receive” Him, or “come” to Him. It is a death process…a dying of you and your old nature…a transformation really…out of an old life to a new one. “Christ In you, the hope of Glory.”
Most folks who identify as Christians claim to know Jesus as Savior. Very few know Him as Lord.
That’s why Christianity is so shallow in America. We love the “Savior” part of Jesus, but aren’t quite ready to bow to that “Lord” thingee. Most are interested in having “their Savior” bless their endeavors, but few are willing to “lay down their lives” for Him.
Everyone wants to “follow Jesus” until they find out where He is going…He is heading to a Cross…and He asks you to take up yours and follow Him. This flies in the face of popular Christianity and its “felt needs”…
The hearts of Americans are hard to pierce. Stephen called folks like us “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”
How did the religious folks receive Stephen and his honest rebuke? “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him…”
Here is what I am getting at. Most “Christians” are not open to the true Gospel because they already think they have it. They have learned to compartmentalize it, to compromise it, to hang it on the coat rack. But they have heard a different Gospel. They have been taught to follow Christianity, not Jesus.
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” -Jude
Do yourself a favor. Take the time to read the book of Acts. It is a record of the “Gospel” being lived out by those who were most familiar with the Savior. You will look long and hard, far and wide, to find anything even remotely resembling the modern-day Humanistic, self-serving, Jesus-wants-me-to-be-happy-and-rich-Gospel belching out of the pulpits today. Would they invite Paul, the greatest evangelist the world has ever known, to appear on TBN? Would Rick Warren and Joel Osteen allow him to stand in their pulpits? Can you picture him “dancing with the stars?”
Americans are following a “different” Gospel, which is "no Gospel at all."
“Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”
Permit me to state it more succinctly so that there can be no misunderstanding of the point I am trying to make. Most church-goers are not followers of Jesus. They are merely members of a social club called “Christianity”. “Membership has its advantages….”
How do you heal someone who doesn’t know he is sick? How do you save someone who doesn’t think he is lost?
“If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness…”
Americanized Christianity has everything backwards. Somewhere along the line the life-denying-Gospel has morphed into a life-enhancement Gospel. Instead of us giving ourselves for the advancement of the Kingdom we have been fooled into believing that Jesus gave Himself so we could be masters of our own kingdom.
The idea of sacrifice and suffering is anathema to modern, Americanized Christianity. How else can you possibly explain the calloused attitude that most “Christians” have towards the “increase of His government and peace.”
Read Mathew 13. It is here that we read of the wheat and the tares which GROW UP TOGETHER. That’s right. When you go to “church” on Sunday it would behoove you to look around. Many of those sitting beside you are destined for the bon-fire. They look like Christians, the sing like Christians, and they speak the Christian “language”, but they are not children of the Lord.
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” -Mathew 7
Could it be that many are getting the wrong answer because they are being asked the wrong question? It is not “do you know Jesus”, but rather, “does Jesus know You?”
In recent polls 85% of all Americans self-identify as Christians, yet this nation has become a moral wasteland. “Christians” complain about others “shoving Christianity down our throats.” “Christians” declare that “religion” is a “private matter” while atheistic teachings swamp their children in “public schools.” “Christians” have abortions and vote for “pro-abortion” candidates. “Christians” embrace homosexuality. “Christians” fail to keep their marriage vows. “Christians” ignore the precepts that Jesus taught.
How do you rescue someone who doesn’t think he needs rescued? How do you bring sight to one who thinks he sees? How do you bring knowledge to one who thinks he knows? How do you bring truth to one who doesn’t know he is deceived? How do you bring light to one who doesn’t know it is dark?
America is the most “Gospelized” nation in the world, but my dealings with Americanized “Christians” have convinced me that the greatest mission field in the world is inside the four walls of most American churches.
The darkness thinks it is light.
“And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?”
“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”
Most “Christians” don’t know enough about Jesus to tremble.
How great is that darkness…