AMEN, But Carefully!

There isn't a day goes by without thousands of people posting something about Jesus Christ on Facebook in some form or another. Expressions of all kinds are rampant, as are the belief's and ideas behind them. Let me be clear, I for one appreciate that people choose to post things they believe are Christ centered, and I appreciate when the name of Christ and encouragement to follow Christ are in the forefront of people's thinking. I'm glad people put these out there. I appreciate when people try to do the right thing for the right reasons.

To me, this proves there is still hope in the world, and that a good number of people still want to pursue Christ. We see so much anti-Christ activity, anti-God chatter, push-back against anything remotely called religion, that when we do see something for Christ, we welcome it, and I don't think that's wrong as long as we use some Biblical caution. We would likely benefit by being reminded of scripture's warnings that not everything which appears to be religious is something we can hit the share button on. From an appreciation standpoint of people desiring to promote Christ, we say AMEN. We must however, as true children of God, be able to discern if the material is true, and whether or not it conforms to scripture. All of us sometimes see graphics or articles that suggest ideas that scripture doesn't support.

We must be careful that we don't get into the mindset that everyone who is not a professed enemy of Christ must be a brother ally. While that might seem logical on the surface, Jesus doesn't promote that idea. Some use Mark 9:38-40 to suggest that Jesus accepts everybody and everything that isn't directly opposed to Him, but that's a mis-application of this scripture, it has to be, because so many other scriptures are crystal clear, such as Matt 7:21ff. A lot is done, taught and practiced that is not authorized or approved by Christ, and we must be a people who compare everything we read and ponder with the standard God has provided, His written Word. We have that responsibility (Acts 17:11). (2 Cor 6:14, 1 Cor 1:10, 1 John 4:1-6, 2 John 1:9-10)

In Phil 1:15-18, Paul has some words about the motives of people teaching and preaching Christ, and sums it up this way, "The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice." Note first here that Paul addresses motives, but acknowledges that it was Christ being preached, not some message foreign to Christ. Do we ever see Paul anywhere in his writings condoning false teaching? Does he ever say we can pick and chose what doctrine to follow other than the one true Gospel? Do we not instead see Paul spending most of his time trying to make sure preachers and churches "get it right", rejecting strange and false doctrine, false practices, and false teachers. Paul is very clear that only the Gospel that he was commissioned to teach is acceptable. (Gal 1:6-9)

The thought today is simply this. Let us appreciate the zeal we see in people to stand up and promote Christ, but cautiously, so as to not compromise the truth of scripture if their message and the Bible don't agree. Let us be glad that they are not opposed to the message of Christ, and let us be encouraged to stand up ourselves, and use the talents and opportunities given to us to get the message out about our Savior too. Meanwhile, let us study and work with them to understand and teach the "one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph 4:4-6) Let us encourage all to study, learn and teach "[the] one [Gospel] we preached to you" Gal 1:8.

Jesus said "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." (Matt 12:30) It is possible to be "for" Christ and not "with" Christ. Let us make it our mission to be both!