Life demands that we please certain people at least some of the time; our boss, our spouse, police officers… But trying to please everyone all the time is like drinking from a colander, you might get a few sips, but mostly you get all wet! Jesus, however, notices every effort we make. Even if you don’t succeed in your efforts, if you are trying to please him, he will recognize that effort.
No, it isn’t selfish to say that you only want to please Jesus because if you are pleasing Jesus you will love your family, love the sick, the downtrodden, and even your enemies. Some of those people will not appreciate your efforts, but if you are doing those things because you love Jesus there will always be one that is pleased by you.
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If Christians were simply saying that they like Christianity, the way that some people like chocolate and some prefer vanilla, this objection would be spot on. It would be silly to argue about what your favorite flavor is. One person is free to get chocolate, and the other person is free to dig into the vanilla. That is not what we are claiming, however. Christianity isn’t built around choices it is built on a moment of history. If Jesus Christ is a real person who died, and then was resurrected Christianity is true. If as the Bible itself says that if Christ is still in the ground we should be the most miserable.
Our own faith claims that it is either based on a historical fact, or it is a lie.
It turns out that most if not all religions make exclusive claims, They believe that their leader is right, and as a consequence anyone who thinks differently is wrong, and many of those claims are contradictory, so they can’t all be true. Depending on who you talk to when you die you either cease to exist, go to Heaven or Hell, get to populate another planet with spirit babies as God, get reincarnated and there are probably other opinions about what happens after we die, but they can’t all be true. You can’t both cease to exist, and go to Heaven. Serious believers in every worldview would argue with you if you disagreed with major points in their doctrine. I have had this discussion with people who thought that all religions are true, only to have them go ballistic when I say that mine is true, and someone else’s isn’t. Their mind was made up that despite their claims that everyone’s religion is right, that mine was wrong.
Truth is exclusive. One plus one is two, it isn’t three, four or five. it is two, and anyone who disagrees is wrong, no matter how sincerely you may believe that one plus one is six.
One of my pet peeves is how few people refer to Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. as a Reverend. Yes, I know that Doctor is a great title to have, but Reverend is a title that he choose for himself when he became a preacher. I may just be too cynical, but I think that many people call him Doctor in hopes of making us forget what he really stood for. He stood for Christ.
When Martin Luther King, Jr., confronted racism in the white church in the South, he did not call on Southern churches to become more secular. Read his sermons and “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and see how he argued. He invoked God’s moral law and the Scripture. He called white Christians to be more true to their own beliefs and to realize what the Bible really teaches. He did not say, “Truth is relative and everyone is free to determine what is right or wrong for them.” If everything is relative, there would have been no incentive for white people in the South to give up their power. Rather, Dr. King invoked the prophet Amos, who said, “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24). The greatest champion of justice in our era knew the antidote to racism was not less Christianity, but a deeper and truer Christianity. (Keller, RG, 64–65)
McDowell, Josh. Evidence That Demands a Verdict (p. xli). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
2 Peter 1:20-21
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Bible was a gift given to all people at all times. Some of the scriptures were meant for a particular person of a group of people, but as a matter of history, everyone needs to know about them. After the context is considered (Is it historical, future prophecy, or for all people at all times) It means the same thing as it has always meant.
If you are interpreting it in a way that is just for you, and the meaning changes when someone else reads it, you are going against this passage.
I once heard of a man that was lusting over a woman named Grace. He was already married, and so was she. One day he was praying about it and he read in the Bible something about grace, that led him to believe that he had permission from God to break up two families and marry Grace. Unless God wanted every person who has ever lived to marry a person named Grace, the Bible did not mean that. A careful study of the Bible would have told him that divorce may have been permitted at times, that wasn’t what God wanted for anyone. It can, however, tell a single man that if someone named Grace is a single Christian who isn’t related to him, she might be the one, but the meaning of the passages in question would be the same if the woman in question was named Gina, Cindy, or Sarah.
The Holy Spirit can make different passages stand out to different people at different times. I personally have read passages that I know I have read before, but I suddenly had to stop and re-read the passage several times then realize that there is something that the Lord wants me to pay particular attention too. But if the passage is about feeding the hungry, it has always been about feeding the hungry…while the application of the verse may vary from person to person, it means the same thing that it meant thousands of years ago.
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