Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
It's Springtime: Satan comes in as a lion seeking to devour, and failing that, he comes as a serpent to deceive. In Acts 8, we meet a man named Simon who "believes", but we find later his belief is skewed, incomplete or misplaced. His problem, and one we face all around us on a daily basis, is well defined in Matt. 13, vs 24 and 25. "Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares (counterfeits) among the wheat, and went his way." Once again, the seed is God's Word, and it is always good. Who was sleeping? "Men", or us. What happened? The enemy (Satan) came in and sowed counterfeits among the good wheat. Back to Simon. What was the basis of his belief? What is the basis of yours?
Nugget: It is never the volume or intensity of your faith that matters, but rather the Object of your faith. Simon's faith was not in The Person of Jesus, the Word of God or the Preaching of the Cross, but rather on the experiential (miracles). Miracles, as grand and moving as they are, are but by-products of a relationship with Jesus. In Luke 10, 70 disciples have been out on a mission trip, and return to Jesus joyfully proclaiming: "Lord, even the devils (demons) are subject unto us through thy name." Jesus redirects their enthusiasm when He says: "... rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you: but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven".
Let's turn the Spiritual Switch: Pick your favorite miracle in the Bible. There are many to choose from. Some small, some grandiose defying belief. Point is, nowhere does God celebrate over a miracle. They were to establish a point, to meet a need, or to bring verification of a source. But at the salvation of ONE SOUL, there is "rejoicing in the presence of the angels". (Back to Simon): How would Jesus appeal to these folks. They already had religion. They had priests, temples, traditions - They even served (as best they knew how) the same God. Which brings us to today. The most hated doctrine in the world is - The Doctrine of Exclusivity which is clearly taught in The Bible. "I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life and No One comes to The Father, except by Me." John 14:6 "... there is no other name under heaven, given among men, by which we must be saved." Acts 14:12 Lots of others - John 3:18 and 36 for example. Point is, something dramatic has happened. In the 70s, you might well see a "One Way" bumper sticker. Now, we are admonished - no, commanded to accept all religions as equal. If not, we are the problem. The less the world knows about Jesus, the more they like Him. They love the manger baby. They love to misquote Him; and believe He is a kind, benevolent, soft spoken do- gooder who never judges, never punishes, and when they come face to face with the Jesus revealed in Scripture, the One who overturns tables, rebukes tradition and the established religious order; the One who talks about a narrow way to heaven vs a broad road to hell, sheep vs goats, saved vs perishing, wheat vs tares, those "in Christ" and those in the flesh, not to mention a literal hell, the world collectively cries out: "No way. Jesus couldn't have said that. The Scriptures must be wrong". In John 14:5, Thomas is asking directions to heaven. Jesus responds: "I Am the Way". This does not contradict Freedom of Religion. All have the right to worship as they like w/out fear of Civil Penalty. Still, we must stop trying to win favor with a world that has rejected Christ. What are you trusting in? Is it God's good wheat - or is it a "tare"? Lots of great counterfeits to choose from. My people perish for lack of knowledge. God Bless.