Before i get started, i need to explain something. I’d already written this weeks main life after darkness post before i actually read this chapter, so i had no idea what this chapter would entail. So i have to admit, it’s quite an encouragement from the Lord that he has confirmed the thoughts i had while writing monday’s post (Which you can read here Honest Christianity. ) with this chapter, going so far as using the same passages! Just wanted to clear that up before i started, now on to chapter 5!
Within the first page i’ve already found something that i love alot, (that seems to be a theme with this book) and that’s dismissing the established idea of the “lukewarm Christian” as Francis goes on to say “To put it plainly, churchgoers who are “lukewarm” are not Christians. We will not see them in heaven” Surely it can’t be just me that reads that with a sense of heartbreak? I find that devastating, not because it’s wrong, or horrible, but it’s desperately sad. That people who are lukewarm won’t make it to heaven. And i’m sure the Lord sees it the same way
Francis goes on to quote Revelation 3 (15-18) Where jesus talks about spitting out the lukewarm from his mouth, and how they must but the gold from Christ and robes of white in order to become rich and to cover their nakedness. And raises an interesting point in the process.
He makes the point about how we as the church, get our interpretation of the phrase “lukewarm” from this passage, yet still think that this verse is Jesus talking to the saved. I agree with Francis on the point that, Jesus isn’t talking to the saved, but the church goers, as he rightly puts it:
“When reading this passage, do you naturally conclude that to be “spat” out of Jesus’ mouth means you’re part of the kingdom? When you read the words, wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked do you think that He’s describing saints? When He counsels them to “buy white clothes to wear” in order to cover their “shameful nakedness” does it sound like advice for those already saved? I thought people who were saved were already made white and clothed by Christ’s blood”
How else can i sum it up? Why would it be about the saints if we are clothed in the blood of the lamb? If we are already in robes of white? It’s something that i personally hadn’t put too much thought into until i started this book.
We move on to another quote that really caught my eye was this one
“Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: he wants all or nothing. The thought of a person calling himself a “Christian” without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd”
“Christian” is a word that we seem to throw around without consequence or conviction. It has become a catch-all term for someone who goes to church, even if they do not follow Christ, believe and trust in the Father or know the power of the Holy Spirit. But because they fit in the box of “they go to church and sing the songs” they are given this title. Really makes you think about the words that we use out of context and because they fit our view.
we then move on to Francis’ take on the parable of the soils , and how this leads on to a number of questions that we may struggle with, mainly coming back to “can i get into the kingdom without following Christ’s teachings?” and the answer is simply no. In the book of John it quite rightly says “If you love me, you will do as i command” It doesn’t say “if you love me, you will do as i command, but i’m sure you’ve got more important things to do so it’s fine don’t worry about it” we are supposed to be a people of Christ’s will, we are meant to be the body, and if we’re not loving and living out his commands, are we still Christians?
To follow-up and end this point, there’s another quote that i really like “To call someone a Christian simply because he does some Christian-y things is giving false comfort to the unsaved” Wow. That is a challenging thing to take in don’t you think? That maybe our complements and admiration for those that do well, just because it’s something that a Christian would do may be giving false hope to those that are not yet saved? It’s a powerful statement, at least i think so.
There’s much more to this chapter, but there’s one last part i want to focus on in this post. And it’s a fresh take on one of my favorite passages in the whole of the bible.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. -1 Corinthians 13 4-8
It’s an exercise to show how much we really love, and if we are living out the love that is spoken about here. It’s as simple as replacing the word “love” with your name and seeing how you measure up to these. I know i didn’t rate as highly as i would have liked if i’m honest, but this is the point that Francis is trying to make. We cannot be half-hearted when it comes to being a follower of Jesus, because if we are what’s so different between us and the lukewarm church goers?
This leads on to Francis comparing this to how we sometimes try to put material value over that of the creator of all things and how this is seen as evil by the Lord. And rightly so quite frankly. Imagine if your child, that you had raised and loved even when they turned their back on you said to you one day “i love you dad, but my car is more important” or ” i would listen to you mum but honestly i don’t feel like it because that’s hard” you’d be heart-broken or furious (if it was this reaction we know how you did on the love test!) now take a step back. This is what we’re saying to God when we put our desires and material worth over his love for us.
Honestly there’s so much more i could mention and if you haven’t read this book yet, i’m really not doing it justice so please pick it up if you’re able. You won’t regret it. Hope to consider following this series and as always.
Keep reading and May God Bless you.