Summary: Three things Christians cannot be - using various Scriptures and illustrations.
You have heard me say on many occasions that there is a difference between churchgoers and true bonafide Christians. The difference is not in how often they attend church or even how involved they get within the church. The difference is where their hearts are.
The bonafide Christian’s heart is focused intently on the desires of Jesus in their life. Everything they do revolves around what Jesus wants from them, not on what they want for themselves. They take the time each day to open their Bibles and read. They will make notes and then try to figure out how that passage should fit into their lives. They take the time to think about and ponder what God’s will is for them. That is what the bonafide Christian does.
How do I know that? Because that is what I have learned to do from many other mature people of faith. I learned from men I respect, and I respect them because of the emphases they place on God.
On the other hand, the churchgoer’s heart is always concentrating on what they want; what makes them happy; what they need. But their heart never truly weighs what Jesus may want in their lives. They never read the Scripture with an inquiring mind and they never spend any time in spiritual prayer, trying their very best to find out what God’s desires are. No, they base their Christianity on what they might do for the church or how much they attend.
I know this, too, because I used to be one of them. And that is exactly what I did – all the while believing I was a very good Christian.
What is the basic difference? That difference is one of them has a relationship that is very personal and dependent upon Jesus, while the other has never felt anything like that in their heart. I blame much of this on the devil, of course, as he likes to keep our eyes blinded, but I also blame much of this on the church. For about 40 years now, we have all but stopped preaching about sin and the brimstone it brings. We have stopped telling people the whole truth of the Scripture and have concentrated on giving them only one aspect of God’s Scripture, and that is how much God loves us.
Well, I got news for you. I was very blessed to have the good Christian parents I had, and I know they loved me more than life itself, but I also know that I had to tow the line or I would get punished. Looking back on it, I see that they were only following the model that God laid before them.
In GENESIS, we see where God created man and was pleased. Oh, how God must have loved Adam and Eve. But what happened? The serpent came and, even though he deceived Eve, she made a choice to go against God’s wishes, and when she offered the fruit to Adam, he made the same choice. They sinned against their creator. How did God react? He showed His wrath.
He cursed the snake, and then He told the woman she would henceforth have much pain in child birth, and He told the man that he would work from the sweat of his brow from there on and then he kicked them out of the plush paradise known as the Garden of Eden.
God does love us. And, God punishes us. We must never forget either one of these Godly traits for one moment. Too many people have forgotten the fact that God punishes. Too many people have ignore the fact that there will be a price paid.
There are three things that Christians must not be.
1. WE CANNOT BE COMFORTABLE
Everything in America is built around personal comfort. We have beautiful designed cloth on the seats in our cars; every piece of furniture we buy is made with comfort in mind. We have chairs with built in heaters and massagers; even many of our churches are beginning to have those comfortable seats that tilt back like in the movie theater. Whenever I have flown in recent years, I have noticed that the airlines are concentrating on comfort, too. Everything is comfort.
There are two kinds of comfort. One is TEMPORARY COMFORT.
This type of comfort is fleeting; it does not last long. It is here one moment and gone the next. At the Post Office, they would hire temporary Christmas help. They were with us for about two months and then they were gone. They were temporary and the very nature of temporary means it will not last very long.
What astounds me is that most of the things we try to find comfort in are those things of a temporary nature. We need something to lift our spirits, so we go out and get our hair done and maybe buy a new dress or outfit. Within the week, the hairdo starts to lose its pizzazz, and after the first time you wear the new outfit, it becomes old and goes into the back of the closet.