It is easy to point the finger at the false prophet. It is easy to smugly blame the preachers for the worldly weaknesses of the church. But chapter 30 of Isaiah points also to the rebellious children… the “believer” who relies on anyone that will tell them to do what they want to do anyway. If we did not listen, these false prophets would not prosper.
Sometimes when a passage of Scripture is so familiar that it no longer impacts me, I try reading it from a different translation. "For unto us a Child is born..." is one of them. Today I read it from the Complete Jewish Bible, a translation that re-injects the Jewishness of the manuscripts back into the words, and from this gleaned a little more of Jesus' ultimate purpose in being born a man. Merry Christmas.
Increasingly in the African-American church we see a pulpit that no longer teaches doctrine, but rather proclaims politics dressed up in the Word of God. From the mouths of preachers and the classrooms of teachers, the President is mocked and a political agenda is preached.
Enter the politically-correct Christian, whose gospel is to campaign for social change, rather than proclaim the Word of God. We are on a mission, but we are no longer missionaries.
My fellow preachers and teachers, we need to be careful, for we answer to God for our words more than any other. We have influence. Many there are in the kingdom of God who, instead of searching the scriptures for truth, accept our words as coming from God himself!
When we bring hatred for the current administration or the “other” political party into the church, when we join the world in tearing down and mocking, rather than building and encouraging, we pollute the gospel.
Do we not know, and should we not teach, that we are mandated to respect those who God has given rule over us?
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” (Rom. 13:1-2)
“Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s.”
Do we not know that social change is not brought about by the passage of laws, but by the changing of hearts? Teach doctrine, that the people of God will be able to discern right from wrong, and will be able to choose the right.
Jesus asked the questions which should cause us to re-think our strategy in how to respond to our enemies.
If we love only those who show love to us, what thanks do we have? Even sinners do that.
If we do good only to those who do good to us, does that not show our standards for righteousness is no higher than that of the world?
If we are generous only to those from whom we hope to receive a return, what thanks do we have? Sinners eagerly lend to sinners in order to receive something back.
Go ahead and show love to those who detest you. Be kind to those who are trying to drive you and your relationship with Christ out of the public eye. Not only will God himself reward us (don’t expect the world to), but we will show ourselves to be children of the Highest.
God himself is kind to those who are unthankful. He extends grace to those whose thoughts and actions are evil. Didn’t he show such kindness and graciousness to us when we were among the heathen?
The Father is merciful. Should not his children be also? (Luke 6)
Valerie R Jackson is a slightly off-kilter Bible instructor and disciple serving the Most High God from Louisa, VA.