Monday, April 11, 2011

What Does God Require?

One of my favorite contemporary praise hymns, "The Heart of Worship", acknowledges our failure to attain that which our Lord requires. The refrain declares, “I’ll bring you more than a song, for a song is not what you have required. You search much deeper within, through the ways things appear, you’re looking into my heart….I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made, when it’s all about you, it’s all about you Jesus.” Our faith is all about Jesus. For without His death and resurrection our faith is meaningless. 1 Corinthians 15:14-17, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” When we accept Christ as Savior and Lord, we are made new. Our lives are indelibly altered. We are no longer content to please only ourselves, we want above all else to please our Lord. It is when we continue in our selfish ways and fail to place Him first in our lives that trouble befalls us. We are sinful, selfish creatures that continually fail our Lord and the reason we fall short of God’s expectations, is that we continually place our needs ahead of our Lord.

Our God requires that we worship Him above all else, that we hold Him above our possessions, our identities, our family, and above even ourselves. Our God is a jealous God and when we place the things of this world over Him we do not worship Him, we worship ourselves. Taken from one of the Books excluded from the revised common lectionary; Nahum 1:2-3, “The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies. 3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.” What of those that see their sexual identities as all important, so important that their identity as LGBTQ takes precedence over our God? What of those misguided churches that betray our God’s law and accept what He has prohibited? Scripture is clear in these matters. When we have the audacity to challenge our God’s law and to place our own opinions above His, we commit the gravest of all sins. We place ourselves, our possessions and our identities as our god. We indeed worship ourselves. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, “So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

We will all be called to testify and stand ready to accept the just reward or punishment for our deeds. 2 Peter 2:4, 9-10, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.” The leadership of the ELCA apparently despises the authority of Scripture, since they falsely proclaim that God is telling them a "new thing", and rewrite God’s law to satisfy their worldly desires. This "new thing" that places love of self over love of our Lord is simply a recipe for disaster. Since the ELCA began promoting love of the secular world, concentrating on social justice instead of the Gospel of Christ, over 1 million have fled this misguided denomination to join churches that place our Lord first in their ministries. The tsumani of congregations leaving continues as the leadership of the ELCA complains that we must remain in fellowship, since our diversity makes us stronger.  When diversity and the things of this world are favored over our Lord's will, it is time to walk away.  We must make certain that the Truth is proclaimed, so that those deceived by these false teachings will have their hearts and minds opened and find their way to the path that our Savior is leading.

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