What Will They Say About Me?
One of the most powerful forces facing each and every one of us happens when we allow others to steer and/or direct our course through life. A similar event was recorded in the gospel of John.
John 12:42-43 "Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God".
We may not have the court of the Pharisees casting their judgments upon us today, but we still have the court of public opinion.
Back then, the sect called the Pharisees had publicly announced that anyone turning and following the man called Jesus would be cast out of the synagogue. Synagogues were very similar to today's churches. They were places where people came to socialize in the name of religion. As we go around town, we see people gather at Wal-Mart, Shoppin Baskit, and DQ. Yet their purpose is not of a spiritual nature. But occasionally you see cars outside some churches and perhaps see people going in and out. While they may not be doing anything different than the other places mentioned, this socializing is somehow connected to the sign on the door, and given a religious significance.
But focusing upon our scripture from John, notice that many people were starting to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah; the One to come. This is the One which John the Baptist had announced just prior to Christ coming on the scene. For many, there was no doubt that Jesus was the promised Messiah from God because of all the signs and wonders He was performing. Not only that, His message and preaching was something that they had not heard before from any man or prophet.
The focus of this passage is that the leadership who supposedly had been preparing the people for the Messiah had different ideas about the Messiah than what actually happened. While they should have been the first in line to bow before the Christ and acknowledge Him as their Lord, He did not fit their idea of what a Messiah should be. Because of this, they rejected the Messiah of God, and even began to conspire to have Him killed, imprisoned, or just gotten rid of.
Many in the world today are of such nature. While they should be preparing people to follow the Messiah, they are upset because the Messiah is not really what they want Him to be.
Their problem lies in the fact that Jesus as already come and spoken His words. They do not find His words palatable to their tastes. So the scenario plays out again. When they are doing what they want to be doing, and someone challenges the authority for what they are doing, the only recourse is to kick this person out of the assembly or congregation. "After all, we cannot allow people to have different understanding about what we have said that God said". That was a sarcastic sentence that makes a point (just in case you missed it).
Often, people create in their own minds, and others of like understanding to do things which have no Bible authority. Often, when people challenge this they are warned that they will be put out and separated from the rest of the group.
These groups have their parties and fun and will basically do whatever they want in the name of religion. And when someone compares their actions with the scriptures, someone just might bring it up and say that the Bible teaches otherwise. Anyone who does not go along with the leadership has been warned they will be put out. So if people do not want to be expelled, they just compromise what they know to be true and go along. I would imagine that this would make them miserable. Knowing that your church does things contrary to scripture yet all the while not willing to give up the social relationships that have been built up over many years.
The hope of this article is that you will examine what your church practices in view of the scriptures, and that you will have the courage to bring this up to your brethren. After all, you do want to see them go to heaven also. So what happens when you try to get them to observe Bible authority and practice the words of Jesus? You will not be thanked for helping them see the error of their way. No! You will be ostracized and possibly put out if you do not give in.
Well, there are churches that operate under the authority of scripture and the teachings of the Bible. These are the groups that are described by the example of the New Testament. They put God's word as more important than human understanding, and the "I think so's". However this does not make them popular in the eyes of the religious community. These groups are made fun of and sarcastically derided. Yet when it comes time for judgment, the members will be able to stand up proudly and say that they did not compromise scripture for their approval.
What many people think as to how to be accepted of men, comes from base desires. Many just assume that if you are a goody-two-shoes, that you have no fun, and that you will be made fun of your whole life. Well, that is the life some actually adopt. One should seek approval from God and not man. So when we let man dictate how we live and behave, we are just like those of Jesus' day. They love the approval of men rather than the approval of God. The choice to serve God or compromise is in the balance. How do you measure up?
By Carey Scott.
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