Friday, December 03, 2010

Faith Worth Building

A few days ago I posted an article called "Faith Worth Sharing" and it is not surprising that, as of the time of this writing, no one has commented on it. Isn't it a strange and sad thing that it doesn't matter that the Lord Jesus Christ commanded the Church to preach the Gospel to every single person on the planet - nearly none of us actually try to do it?

So are we all "false converts"? The Lordship Salvation (LS) proponents are all to glad to have us "examine ourselves to see if we're in the faith" by seeing if we obey Christ's commands or not... well how are we doing with the test? Depending on who you listen to there are some 2 - 5 % of us who actually do regularly share our faith. So 95-98% of "Professing Christians" (to use the LS phrase) do not obey the command of Christ to preach the Gospel.

I could just jump on the LS bandwagon, declare us all unsaved and start preaching about how we must be sharing the Gospel!!! Of course.. here's a thought... if you (and I) aren't listening to the Lord Jesus Christ on this one what are the chances you're going to shape up and flight right because someone like ME tells you to? Would we be any more saved if we started sharing the Gospel? Oh I could have some fun with this... but what I REALLY want to do is HELP!

I've been around the block on this topic, so to speak. I've helped local assemblies learn to step out in obedience to the Lord and really work at having the Brethren sharing their faith regularly. I've created tools, lesson plans, teachings.... Many things really.. to help people do this. Some of these have been helpful, but to be honest (as some of you may know) they were missing something important and so became most useful to those who would work by their own effort instead of working by the effort of the Spirit.

The faith that is worth sharing, is also worth building. Why are we not sharing our faith? Because we haven't built it up. Truly. Obedience (or the lack there of) is not the problem, the problem is we are distracted by the world! We have left our first love!

Revelation 2:1-5  
1. "To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, 'these things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2"I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary.

Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place - unless you repent.
These words may be hard to hear, but I pray from the mouth of the Lord to our ears!! So what was that first love?
Acts 2:42 sums it up very well.
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Our faith is built the same way the Early Church was built. We begin at the beginning and get grounded in the truth, then as we grow up our faith becomes a gushing fountain that pours into everything else. We become like the 2 - 5% who are even now sharing their faith; so unable to stay quiet that we tell everyone!
Oh but what about the woman at the well? She knew just about nothing and yet she ran off to tell everyone about Jesus Christ right? Yes she did. However, she didn't have the full story and the Lord had to fill in what she didn't tell the people. Further we have no indication from the Scriptures that she continued in this behavior. The blessed truth is that when we are first saved we are most often overtaken by the joy and want to give that to everyone; but this quickly dies down as we get rejected and find we don't have all the answers.

I'm not making excuses for not sharing your faith, Heaven forbid!! I'm telling you why we're not sharing our faith. We have not built it up. We have left our first love.

It is the purpose of the gifted offices of the Church to build the Believers up so as to equip us all for the work of ministry!

Ephesians 4:11-16  
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
 Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers all have one mission - to build up the Believers for the work of ministry.  If the Believers are not working, it is because they have not been built up.  


Look up said...

You want comments, here they are:

I have always taken issue with the term “share your faith”. ‘Your faith’ is worthless to me. It has no inherent value, and you can share it until the cows come home, but it won’t do me any good. Now if you were to say that you were to “share the object of your faith” or maybe “share the reason for your faith”, you would be getting closer to something of value, but a simple sharing of your faith only causes me to do what you do in hopes that your faith will be imparted to me. I don’t want your faith, I want Christ, so share Him.

Next, I am quite glad that so few actually do “share their faith”. There is so much nonsense out there, and if more people “shared their faith”, there would be even more to battle against with the truth. Unfortunately though, very often the loudest “sharers of their faith” are the biggest heretics, so it is hard to hear the voice of God over the uproar against it. But I am thankful that God still speaks in that still small voice, and those who are seeking Him will hear it. People void of the Spirit are forced to choose quantity and volume over quality. The more words they can spew louder, the more likely they will be heard. This is how error propagates.

The reason are silent is not fear or anything like that. The reason is they place little or no value in the person and work of Jesus Christ. He is not relevant to them, and they have no particular system of religion to substitute in its place. In the midst of this great apostasy, those who are bold enough preach something, usually preach their system of religion (LS, FG, RC, JW, all isms etc.), and their way of seeing things, in essence, ‘their faith’; but ‘their faith’ does not do an ounce of good to the hearers.

Keep your faith for yourself, share the object of it and reason for it, and leave it at that. In essence, preach Christ in spite of your faith.

Kevl said...

Hey Look-Up, I only have a moment and have only read your first two sentences.

Good thoughts (thus far) and it's interesting I was thinking about much the same thing early this morning.

More later,

Kevl said...

Hi Look Up,

While there are certainly points of value in what you're saying I think it's pushed a bit too far.

Yes the point of "sharing your faith" is not to share your religion, or your view, but truly to be a witness of The Christ. Therefore others will put their faith in Him.

I've decided to know nothing among you but Christ and Him crucified - that much of what you're saying is very true.

As for sharing systems of theology... as much as I have distaste for "systems" they do have value in helping to explain the big picture for people who don't yet see it.


Kevl said...

Hi Look Up,

Submit that comment again without the link so I can post it. I checked out the website and among other things it claims that one must be baptised in order to be saved....


Look up said...

"Systems of religion" are different from "systems of theology", which are different again from that which is of utmost importance.

'Systems of theology are attempts to explain HOW I see,

And systems of religion are attempts to make you like me.

But a thankful heart is taken up with about WHO/WHAT I see,

There is all the difference in the world of the three.'

At the particular moment Wesley preached at Whitefield's funeral neither a system of religion nor a system of theology was considered very important to either of the men involved. What was important was WHO/WHAT both of them saw.

[link removed for John Wesley's funeral sermon for George Whitefield]

How one comes to have faith is a question that be argued about till Christ returns, with none of us being any the wiser.

What matters is that we see Him as He is, we see ourselves as we are, and go to Him because of these two things.