from me to you / The Mapps Quest

TBH

(That’s: to be honest, for us old fogies.)

This morning as I was preparing to go for my morning bike ride I remembered a pastor that had been recommended to me for listening. I found his page, got the first video I could find ready, and set off. I knew by the title of the sermon that I might have an issue with some of the points, but decided that I would give it a go and listen anyway because you never know what nugget you may hear. The more the man spoke the hotter my skin got. The more I think about it now, the more angry and sorrowful I become. I would like to pose some questions to you, fellow Christian:

  • What god do you worship?
  • How powerful is he?
  • Can he be defeated?
  • Does he have to wait on man before he can act?
  • Will he bow the knee to you, so you can claim victory over death?
  • Is it your work that saves you, your hand or word or deed?

As I contemplate the natural end of where these questions lead I see why the unsaved world looks at my God and wonders what’s so great about Him. What we say to people about God matters. If your god isn’t the one responsible for your salvation, if instead you were the one who decided to set the wheels into motion to be saved, then your god had to wait for you to make a decision before he sealed you for the day of redemption. So every act of salvation, and everything that comes from that act (like sanctification and fruit) are unknown to god because he isn’t sure if you will accept him or not. What a strange way to think about someone you call a god.

I thought God was all knowing, all powerful, able to create by a word, immeasurable, sovereign over the affairs of men, counter of days, creator of souls. Doesn’t He number the very hairs on your head? Doesn’t he lead us down paths of righteousness? Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Luke 12:5-7)

So your god, the one who has to wait for your answer, is trapped inside a box that you hold. The key is the moment you say: move from this box to my heart and live there instead. Why would you claim to submit to this god? Why would you say that he gave you life everlasting when he couldn’t even give you salvation without you first telling him to? Aren’t you master of your own destiny? Aren’t you the one who really created yourself? You’ve worked so hard to get this far. You made sure you were born to your parents. You made sure that you had just the right influences in school to get you to this very point in life where you were able to finally decide that this was the path you wanted to walk down. And Jesus made sure that the door was wide open for you, just incase you decided that you liked him.

Wait. Didn’t Jesus say that: “NO ONE can come to me unless the Father has ENABLED him”? Consider some more words of Jesus, all taken from the book of John:

  • 3:6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
  • 3:21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.
  • 5:21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.
  • 6:35-40 I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.”
  • 6:44-45 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: “They will all be taught by God.” Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.
  • 6:63-65 “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
  • 8:47 He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.
  • 9:3 but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.
  • 10:14-16 I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
  • 10:24-30 The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
  • 13:16 I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master.
  • 13:18 (speaking to the 12) I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen.
  • 15:16 (speaking to the 11) You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.

I ask you – even beg you – to place your god against the God of scripture. Does he measure up to the Almighty Sovereign Prince of Peace and Glorious Lord?? What will you say next time your unsaved friend asks you what is so great about your god who has no power over the affairs of men? Be ready to give an account of why you believe what you believe. You will be surprised at how the unsaved world reacts to a Christian who boldly speaks about a REAL GOD who waits for no man.

I was created to display God’s glory and immeasurable mercy and grace. I was not created to display my own glory, nor to boast in my decisions. I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance?
Who can fathom the Spirit[d] of the Lord,
    or instruct the Lord as his counselor?
Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten him,
    and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge,
    or showed him the path of understanding?

Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
    they are regarded as dust on the scales;
    he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
    nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
Before him all the nations are as nothing;
    they are regarded by him as worthless
    and less than nothing.

With whom, then, will you compare God?
    To what image will you liken him?
As for an idol, a metalworker casts it,
    and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
    and fashions silver chains for it.
A person too poor to present such an offering
    selects wood that will not rot;
they look for a skilled worker
    to set up an idol that will not topple.

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood since the earth was founded?
He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
    and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
He brings princes to naught
    and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
No sooner are they planted,
    no sooner are they sown,
    no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
    and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

“To whom will you compare me?
    Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
    Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
    and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
    not one of them is missing. – Isaiah 40:12-26

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