This is a good video from Pastor Michael Durham of Real Truth Matters. It should be watched and considered by anybody who thinks that good deeds will grant you any grace before God. Modern American Christianity has been redesigned in a way that seeks to make you feel good about yourself, but it does not match up with true Biblical Christianity.
Recently I saw a video taken at the Bank of England in which a gentleman had the privilege of being able to view rooms full of real gold. The gold was stacked from floor to ceiling with about 1 ton of gold on each shelf. The narrator commented that the total amount of gold was worth about $315 Billion at current prices and that the total amount of gold ever mined would equal about 60′ cubed. Again, according to the video, this is an amount that would easily fit under the legs of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
While it was a staggering amount of gold, one comment the man made really made me pay attention. He said, “If I was actually worth my weight in gold, I would weigh about the equivalent of 6 bars of gold (28 lbs. each = 164 lbs.). This means I would be worth a little over $4 million dollars.” His next comment was even more astounding – “I was a bit disappointed because I thought I would be worth more.”
This brings us to the question of what are we worth. Unfortunately, many have taken the worth of our lives and translated this to something called self-esteem. This is supposedly a term used to indicate that we have intrinsic value within ourselves. The psychology of self-esteem continues to be taught and drummed into our heads and the heads of our children on a daily basis. For example, you go to make a purchase and the salesperson will comment, “You should go ahead and buy this because you are worth it. You owe it to yourself to treat yourself nicely!” Sadly, this then is translated in the church that you should think more highly of yourself because you are worth something to God. Multiple books, videos, seminars, etc., etc., etc., are then offered in our so-called Christian bookstores to feed the same thought process that we are to love ourselves because of our own self-imposed self-worth.
Of course, there are major differences between a human and a bar of gold. From a metallurgical standpoint, a bar of gold is definitely worth more than the elements found in the human body. From a financial perspective, gold has more buying capability as one bar of gold is worth about $768,000. You cannot take 28 lbs of an arm and a leg and make any purchases.
The purpose of this post though is not to dwell on those aspects as much as it is to consider what our worth might be from a spiritual perspective. James 4 makes it clear that our life is actually like a vapor that is here for a short time and then vanishes away. In other words, your life and mine is nothing more than a puff of steam from a kettle filled with boiling water. While down through history, people have bartered their lives away to pay off debts, there was never any guarantee that the life of the individual would even be present at the end of the day. An interesting note was that the oldest bar of gold in the Bank of England is about 96 years old. The narrator noted that gold never changes. It does not go through a process of oxidation. It has no smell and certainly does not rust. That old gold bar looks exactly the same today as it did when it was first minted in 1916.
As much as we are taught to think highly of ourselves and to love ourselves, the sad and very biblical reality is that our lives are not worth what we think they are. This means further that any value attached to us can only be found outside of ourselves.
This is a special time of year in that many are celebrating Xmas, but they are not celebrating Christ. Purchases are being made to satisfy greed and lust, but little to no thought is being made of Christ. “X” is used to indicate an unknown quantity. People today are purchasing what they cannot afford to appease people who will never be happy with money they do not have in order to celebrate what they cannot understand. There is an unknown quantity that is missing in the lives of billions of people around the world – that quantity is not the element AU, more commonly known as gold. This rare element was discovered approximately 5,000 years ago and has been used in a variety of ways down through the centuries.
The element that is missing though is the Lord Jesus Christ. Say what you will about Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or Winter Festival, these are not the original reasons why people celebrated this time of year. While Jesus was not born on December 25 or even in the wintertime, He did lay aside His glory and came to earth to be born in a manger. He left a place that uses gold as street paving material in order that He might be robed in human flesh. But His purpose for coming was not to live, nor was it to make all humans worth their weight in gold. After approximately 33 years, He laid down His life and died for a special group of people, namely, His elect Bride. This was not done because of their intrinsic value, but simply because He chose them from among the children of men. He set His love upon them and upon whosoever will may come. Jesus Christ came to atone for our sins and to suffer the wrath of God the Father on our behalf.
So, while our life may never be worth a bar of gold on this earth, our lives were purchased with the blood of the spotless Lamb of God. In the light of eternity, this means that our value is found in Jesus Christ alone. It has nothing to do with us, and it certainly has nothing to do with the tons of gold that will one day melt away with a fervent heat. What a marvelous thought!
1 Peter 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
In conclusion, each gold bar that is minted is marked with a specific identification marker so that it cannot be mixed up with any other bars. The identification tag stamped into the gold bar tells exactly how much it weighs down to the 1000th of an ounce. It also tells where it was minted and where it came from. How much more special the thought that each child of the living and thrice-holy God has marked each of us as His own. He has given us a new name and clothed us with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. One day, He will allow the trumpet to be sounded and we will rise to be with Him forever. Heaven will resound with the praises as we sing glory, praise and honor to the Lamb that was slain! Amen and amen!
What is more important? What you think of yourself, or what God thinks of you? In our current culture, how we view ourselves is considered of the utmost importance. In fact, many believe that the single greatest thing that we can do for ourselves is to perfect our self image. The greater and more positively we view ourselves, the more likely we will be successful in life. The more negatively we view ourselves, the less likely we will be able to cope with life’s difficulties. On the surface this sounds very compelling. When there are so many people and events that attempt to make us feel like we are worthless or failures, thinking positively seems to make sense so that we can avoid the inevitable depression that would come. Looking at all the positive aspects of our lives, seeing ourselves as good people in the midst of difficult circumstances, would seem to help us because we are not dwelling on the negatives. We are not being drug down emotionally, but we are able to keep our minds free and clear. Thus, it is argued, self image is far more important that anything else.
However, there is an aspect to this that is rarely considered. Self image addresses our perceived needs in the here and now. It concerns itself with how we feel at this moment, how we perceive ourselves in the present. While self image does claim to look back at past mistakes to learn from, and makes the additional claim that it benefits for future life decisions, it primarily concerns itself with our life in this world, at this moment in time. It does not, in fact cannot, deal with what comes after. It can only address how we exist in this life. So, if there is a life yet to come, one which God has much to say about, does it not conclude that solely concerning ourselves with how we feel about ourselves excludes a major aspect of our existence? And if it is how God perceives us that determines our eternal existence, then focusing solely on how we feel in the here and now could well prove detrimental to us. For if we concern ourselves with only how we view our life, then we could well neglect God’s view of us and, by natural extension, live in such a way that brings us into conflict with Him.
We are God’s creation. When God made the universe (see Genesis 1-2) He designed it to declare His glory and majesty (Psalm 19:1). But to whom did it declare? On day 6, God made man. Man was created in God’s image. He was created with the unique breath of life, the awareness of himself, the ability think and perceive outside of basic animal instinct. Man was created with the unique opportunity to understand he was created by God, to be in fellowship with God, to worship and obey God. Man, being God’s unique creation in the universe, finds his being and purpose in loving and worshipping his Creator alone. However, it was in chapter 3 of the book of Genesis where man turned that purpose on its head. At that time, man chose to seek his own purpose, to determine for himself what was right and wrong. In that moment, when man ate of the forbidden fruit, he actively chose to place his desires, his own feelings, over that which God had designed man for. In that moment, man chose how he felt about himself and forever changed his standing before God.
SInce that time, mankind has lived in a state of rebellion against God. Every thought, every word and deed, has been tainted by this desire to satisfy one’s self. And while man does often demonstrate an ability to show mercy, kindness and even love, it is all affected ultimately by the self centered sinfulness that first manifested itself in the garden. If you doubt it, then ask yourself this: who among us can ever say that they have never lied? How about theft, and the value of the stolen item is not the issue. The willful taking of that which is not yours, the depriving of another’s property, ideas or livelihood is theft. What about lust? Some may say that lust is what drives mankind’s ability to reproduce. But is also a demonstration of one’s inability to control the emotional and hormonal drives that God gave us to be used for our spouses alone. The inability to simply bring our thoughts under control when we look at another person again demonstrates how far we are in bondage to sin. What about how we view God? All one must do is look around at the various world religions to realize mankind has failed to acknowledge God as He truly is. From Buddhism to Islam to Catholicism and all points in between, mankind has designed “gods” that resemble the desires of its own heart. Every world religion establishes as system of “good works” that can appease its “god,” hopefully to the point of atoning for the very sins we just looked at. Yet, this demonstrates the fallen nature of man for it demonstrates a “god” that can somehow be bribed or cajoled into ignoring the guilt men have when they sin.
The point of all this is to say that God designed us to be in loving fellowship with Him, yet we have rebelled against Him. Our Creator is now not just the loving God who made us, but He is also the righteous judge who must hold us accountable for the sins we have committed against Him. Where we were once to be ushered into a beautiful, eternal existence with God, we are now barred from such a paradise. Where we were once in a state of being children of the King, we are now condemned criminals, traitors against our sovereign Lord. God cannot view us as positively as we hope to view ourselves. We were created to worship Him, but we have chosen a life of sin against Him.
So we come back to our original question: what is more important, our view of ourselves, or God’s view? If we only were ever to exist in this life, we could say that how we viewed ourselves was very important. But we were created by a being who exists outside of all space and time. We were created to love, honor and worship Him alone, yet we have sinned against Him. The end result is that, when this life ends, we will stand before that Creator, and he will be our Judge. The books of our lives will be opened and every sin we have ever committed will be judged. And like any good judge, God will find us guilty, condemning us to an eternal torment that justly fits our crimes. So the answer is simple, yet very profound, it is God’s view of us that has the greatest importance. And no matter how positively we view our own life, God sees it as utter rebellion. It is not a positive ending we are headed for, but one of eternal suffering.
So, we now ask, if man cannot appease God, cannot atone for himself, what do we do? Should we just “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die?” If we are honest, we have to admit it would seem that if we are to be condemned, should we not just “live it up?” If that were the end of the story, perhaps that would be the answer. But it is not. Remember, God made us to be in fellowship with Him. It is our sinful nature that keeps that from happening, Therefore, God made the way for that fellowship to be restored. We cannot make ourselves “un-guilty” of our sins, Nor can we convince God to simply “forget about it.” So, the only possible means of addressing the consequences of sin was for God to pay the price for it Himself!
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, second Person of the triune God, fully God and fully Man, came to this world approximately 2,000 years ago and did what we could never do. He lived a perfect life, free of sin in every aspect. He perfectly obeyed the will of His Father in every single moment of His life. Then, despite His being innocent of any offense, He willingly, voluntarily placed Himself in the hands of sinful man, endured an unfair trial, was humiliated, beaten and tortured. All the while, He could have called down legions of angels to rescue Him, yet He remained silent and received it all. Then Jesus allowed Himself to be placed on the cross, an instrument of cruel execution. He suffered and died, all the while being reviled by those He came to save. In doing so, He took upon Himself the punishment due for all our sins. The perfect, sinless Son of God took on the righteous and holy wrath of the Father so that the perfect law could be satisfied. We have earned eternal death from God, but the eternal Son died in our place. Then, on the third day after His death, Christ rose Himself from the grave. In doing so, Jesus proved that He had defeated sin and death. His own death paid the price for us, His resurrection secured life for us.
Today, that forgiveness of sins and promise of eternal life is available to us, but there is only one means by which it is obtained. We must acknowledge our that our life is one of wretched sinfulness, and is deserving of the judgment of God. We must turn away from that life of sin and commit ourselves to a life that is pleasing to the Lord. We must trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone, knowing that no work we could ever do would satisfy the law of God. Having total and complete faith that Christ has paid that price and devoting our lives to Him alone.
The question was who’s view of us was more important, our’s or God’s. Clearly, God’s view is the supreme view we must submit to. Yet, God’s view of His own Son is one of perfection and righteousness. If we will humble ourselves, repent of our sins and trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus, then God’s view of Christ is placed on us, rather than his view of of our sins. Place yourself in the hands of Christ. Trust not in your view of who you are, but trust in the holy and righteous God alone for salvation.
Original article posted here.
Are you happy being who you are?
Do you have good self-esteem?
Does it really matter?
Are you comfortable in a room full of strangers or do you compare yourself to everyone; focusing on your flaws?
I think many of us struggle everyday with who we are. I’m not talking about how we wish we could lose 20 lbs or how I wish my hair hadn’t started falling out in my mid-twenties. Those are minor cosmetic issues. I’m talking about the big stuff that becomes chains and shackles binding us to the walls in the dungeon of depression.
We are going through many trials in these difficult times. Many are losing homes and jobs, going bankrupt and feeling like failures.
Do you feel like a failure?
Do you feel not good enough?
Are you jealous of those who seem successful and have it all?
Do others have better jobs?
Are others more attractive?
Do they have better clothes?
Is their house, or wedding ring, or motor home that much bigger and better than yours that you feel insignificant around them?
Do you ask why them and not me?
These thoughts of discontentment will eat away at our self-confidence and self-worth. But what is self-confidence and self-worth? Where does self-confidence and self-worth come from?
We need to start by peeling our eyes away from the mirror for a change and look up. We need to look up toward our creator and savior Jesus Christ. We spend so much time looking at ourselves and comparing ourselves to other people that we don’t have time to look at God…and when we look at God we feel the weight and disgust of our sin and we turn away from God. Encouragement for our lack of confidence can only be found in the Word of God:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
Each one of us is uniquely and specially made in the image of God, which means we each carry unique attributes of God. We are all different, but equally made in God’s image.
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
God crafted our bodies, minds, and spirit in our mother’s womb in a unique and special way. We are wonderfully made in an awe-inspiring and fearful way. We are no accident. We are different, but each one of us is formed by the hands of the living God, who is infinitely holy, perfect, and good…every time…God doesn’t make mistakes and he certainly doesn’t make such thing as an economy version.
Isaiah 43:1-2 & 7
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine… 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
God is very serious about these facts: He made us in His own image. He uniquely formed us from the inside out in our mother’s womb. He made us for His glory – for His purposes. Based on these scriptures (many others tell the same story), we should be able to deduce that we are not a freak occurrence of nature or an accident. We were not the results of strange biological evolutions or random chemical combinations. Each and every one of us was uniquely planned, creatively designed, precision engineered, and delivered with a purpose. God made us the way we are for a reason…for his glory. God made us just as we are for his purpose and his glory alone. There is nothing more valuable or perfect in the universe than God’s delight, purpose, and glory.
I hope you find comfort and confidence in this. We cannot compare ourselves to others when we know we are unique for God’s purpose. We should instead search out where God has gifted us and apply our lives fully to those gifts and let God do the rest.
But why has he made us this way or that way?
But, if God makes us in His image, why is everyone else more interesting, more desirable, more rich, more important, more everything?
Is it not enough that you are the image of God?
Two of my favorite passages in scripture finish the story. These verses add power to our created nature and they describe the scope and depth of the power of the God who created us.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will…
These two phenomenal verses show that God’s will and purpose rules our existence. All things work for good – good in God’s eyes, not our own – and He works all things according to his predestined purpose. We and our lives are chosen and planned before time began in order to fulfill God’s ultimate design, purpose, and pleasure. This is good news. There are no mistakes and no failures…ever. Everyone has a purpose.
Not only do all things work for good, but all things are being maintained and held together by Jesus Christ. Right now, Christ is holding the stars in place in the sky, choosing the exact amount, size and speed of the rain drops falling in another part of the world while He is orchestrating the events of your life. I’d even argue that He is beating your heart to keep you alive.
…and he [Jesus] upholds the universe by the word of his power…
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
The best part is that it is all good. It was all planned to be this way. You were planned to be this way. Have hope and have courage to serve your purpose to God’s glory. Find your purpose and work it out.
If, however, you are not encouraged and you still want to complain to the all knowing living God, I would caution you. We must be careful in complaining to the creator. Gratefulness and thankfulness should rule our hearts. We in today’s society have lost the healthy respect for God. We need to know our rightful place in the universe. This verse helps keep perspective:
20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”
Do we have higher standards than God? Or should we find peaceful contentment in how we were molded? Should we change our self-consumed focus from what we don’t have to God, His purpose, His glory, and His genius? I’d say so.
There are many mission organizations in the world today. In fact, we are currently visiting the Colorado Springs area where there are several hundred para-church organizations based. What is the purpose of these groups? They are involved in medical work, education endeavors, humanitarian aid, etc., etc., etc., but are they truly accomplishing the Great Commission? What happens if they are not?
Lives are being spent across the world for many causes. People have been willing to leave the creature comforts that they have been used to all their lives and continue to move to the far-flung reaches of the world. They are involved in many different mission endeavors, some maybe more questionable than others. Are these “missionaries” truly accomplishing the Great Commission? What happens if they are not?
Churches are spending portions of their general and mission budgets to support the works that are spread across 6 of the 7 continents. Seeking to fulfill their part of the Great Commission, their money is being given and being spent with the purpose of supposedly reaching 7 billion people, the vast majority of which have never heard the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Are these churches truly accomplishing the Great Commission? What happens if they are not?
Part of our problem is seeking to define exactly WHAT the Great Commission is. When the Lord Jesus Christ left His disciples, His command was to “go into all the world and PREACH the gospel to every creature.” After they have been PREACHED to, they are to be baptized and discipled in all the things that the Lord Jesus Christ taught His disciples.
So, our next questions should be – What part of the Great Commission have we failed to understand? What part of “preach the gospel” have we failed to comprehend as being a command from God?
By no means do I seek to demean the work being done in the name of Christ, but it is important that we give due diligence and see if the work being done in the name of Christ is actually what Christ commanded us to do!
For example, there are many who would throw verses from James around as though it is our responsibility to alleviate the poverty of the world. Verses from Deuteronomy or Isaiah somehow are twisted out of context to show how it the responsibility of every Christian and every church and every pastor and every missionary to “do their part” to rid the world of the evil blight of this disease called poverty that racks our world.
So, what happens when we provide clean water, solid nourishing food, a basic education standard, improved medical conditions, new buildings, properly built homes, good sanitation systems, commercial endeavors in the area of agriculture to all the nations of the world – yet fail to follow the Great Commission to PREACH the gospel?
1) We will have raised the living standard of the poor around the world.
2) We will be able to feel better about ourselves.
3) We will have raised the self-esteem of those who do not have the “privilege” of living in our exalted conditions here in the West.
4) We will be able to sleep better at night knowing that we have “done our part” in making the world a better place.
1) We will have forgotten that the root of the problem is NOT poverty.
2) We will have turned a convenient blind eye to the depravity of mankind.
3) We will have failed to understand that this world is NEVER going to get better until the Lord Jesus Christ returns and establishes His forever kingdom.
4) We will have missed the cry of the damned as they pass into eternity with full stomachs, nicer houses, educated, and in good health.
This will be information for a later post, but I would like to encourage our readers to give Biblical consideration to the message of the Gospel as well as to the purpose of the Gospel. People who live in a stone age existence continue to die, but those in poor villages who die without all the conveniences that we insist they MUST have but who have heard the gospel and accepted Christ as their Saviour die rich beyond compare.
What happens if….you could ask those in hell whether they are happy because they received medical support, a longer life expectancy, good education, better food, clean water – ALL AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GREAT COMMISSION??
The Great Commission is NOT a social gospel. It is a gospel that proclaims Jesus Christ came to a sin-cursed world to atone for the sins of mankind. He left His throne in glory not to make this world a place with better living conditions. He came because the wrath of God had to be turned aside and because sin’s penalty had to be paid. He came to redeem us from the bondage of sin, and one day He is coming back for His spotless Bride.
Everything else is but a facade covering the face of the broad road to destruction in hell if it is done at the expense of the Great Commission. Selah!
In the First Century AD, Cerinthus was a well-known heretic, being one of the early leaders of the Gnostic movement. John opposed him as fiercely as a man possible could (thus giving us a better example of how to deal with heretics than the many modern-day milquetoast “pastors” who think we need to buddy-up with heretics and call them “brothers in Christ”). In fact, the story goes that when John and some of his disciples (possibly Polycarp) were about to enter a bathhouse, and John heard that Cerinthus was inside, John fled the building with his disciples, shouting
“Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
If only that which calls itself “the church” in America today would follow John’s example, we might not need a site like this. If the quote-unquote “church” would rise up and flee, flee, flee! Flee swiftly from those institutions that teach things that are contrary to the Word of God!!
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Roman Catholic idolatry, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Emergent “Christianity”, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Purpose-Driven™/Seeker-Driven™ egocentrism, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Prosperity heretics, those enemies of the truth, are inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Robert Schuller, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for self-esteem, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
- “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Compromise of all sorts, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”
That which calls itself “church”–if only they would adopt the attitude of John the Apostle, and “Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for [fill in the blank], the enemy of the truth, is inside!” Remember these words which our Lord Jesus spoke to this one who fled from Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth. Listen to what He said to these gatherings that claimed to be of Christ–but which allowed Satan to enter through the front door, all the while claiming they did it “for Christ”:
Revelation 2:12-16—“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write…I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.”
Revelation 2:18-23—“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write…I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts.”
These were churches that were “doing good things.” They went around preaching “Love!! Love!! Love!!” They had all kinds of faith. But what did they do? They brought the enemy inside. They brought in Balaam, and they brought in Jezebel–and by doing so, they brought in all of their destructive heresies.
- Did Jesus say, “Oh, I’m so proud of you!! You’re using Satan’s methods to bring people in the doors! How wonderful!!”
- Did Jesus say, “It just thrills my heart to see you joining the worship of the true God with those who teach false Christs and bow down to worship statues!!”
- Did Jesus say, “I love how you guys are engaging the culture around you!!”
- Did Jesus say, “That’s the way to do church!! After all, who wants to sit there for a half an hour and just hear about…Me? Bring in more games!!”
Look at the warnings Jesus gives the church at Pergamos, and the church at Thyatira. Notice how they compromised with the world, and notice the rebuke from Christ. Then ask yourself: Would your church receive a “Well Done.” Or would He rebuke you for flinging wide the front door and inviting Balaam and Jezebel inside?