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You're So Vain; You Probably Think The Bible's About You

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Look at what Peter says people do with these hard to understand teachings! They twist them and other Scriptures to their own destruction! What destruction is Peter referring to here? Final judgment. Remember the preceding context is dealing with the second coming of Christ. When so many will stand before Jesus and say "Lord Lord, did I not pick up five stones in faith and slay the Goliath of my troubled marriage?" The Bible says He will respond - away from me you who practice lawlessness. What does the next verse from Peter say? We ought to take care to not be carried away with the error of lawless people. The ignorant and unstable will always seek to allegorize Jesus Christ right out of the book that is entirely about Jesus Christ. In the name of being friendly. In the name of being relevant. Anything but in the name of Jesus.

I listened to a sermon this morning from a mega church pastor who is doing a series based on the zombie apocalypse show, the Walking Dead. As absurd as it felt even writing that, the more important point was his defense of it. He said that he always found church boring. That it had nothing he needed or nothing that interested him. So he was trying to reach people by piquing their interest with the Walking Dead. How pathetically sad. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is always relevant because we are always sinners. It has not changed from the Garden of Eden and will not change until Christ returns. Now, people may not like the hard teachings of the cross. I understand that as much as Peter did when he wrote those verses. That does not mean people still do not need to hear them. It does not mean you stop teaching. It does not mean you twist what points to Christ into allegories about how we are destined to reign.

Songstress, Carly Simon once sang about someone she knew that was so vain they probably thought the song must be about them. For forty years she never admitted who it was written about brilliantly painting the subject into a corner. If they ever said they felt it was about them, then the song is proven right. We have churches across this country convincing people that the Bible was written about them and it is creating a generation of proud, vain Christians. Jesus dealt with religious people in His day that were proud and vain. He told a parable about how the proud and vain Pharisee approached God in prayer and how the truly penitent sinner did:

The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted." - Luke 18: 11-14 (ESV)

Do not dismiss this beloved. We have many people on the broad church path leading to destruction. They look the part and sound the part. They fast to appear pious. They tithe to appear obedient. They listen to worship telling them how much God loves them. They listen to allegorized sermons that paint them as the hero and over-comer and point them away from the cross. The only place they truly need to be found. In Him. Jesus addressed the Pharisees in his day in our key verses. There are three crucial lessons for us to learn. First of all, we need to approach the Scriptures correctly. If you want to use allegory as a technique in preaching it better just be a technique and not the message. The easy test is this. Who does the sermon point to? Who is it about? If it is not about Jesus then run as fast as you can to the cross.

Secondly from the key verses is a simple statement of fact - Scriptures bear witness about Jesus! That is who the book is about. That is who every story is about. It is about God redeeming a fallen people. His people. By sacrificing His one and only Son. That is love. That is God. That is Scripture. That is truth. That is the point. My pastor once told me that any sermon should come back to the cross or it is not worth preaching. There is real danger in following teachings that do not lead us to the cross. I do not want to be David cutting off the head of Goliath. I want to be David in Psalm 51, begging the Lord to not hold my iniquity against me and to not take His Holy Spirit from me. I want to be the tax collector; not the Pharisee. The Bible is not about me. It is about Him.

Lastly, from the key verses we see that despite these things being plain, many will simply refuse to come to Him so that they might have life. Think about it for a second. The Pharisees sure were not going to accept Jesus as Savior because He was a threat to the power they enjoyed and the religion they had created. In their world it was always about them. They had the best seats at the table. They were revered. Today we see the same thing. Try showing the truth of Scripture to a follower of Joel Osteen or Joseph Prince. Maybe some might be willing to see the truth but most will simply refuse to come to the cross. Because the cross reveals the truth about them and about Jesus. Once there, you are forced to realize that the story really hasn't been about you. At the cross you must come to grips with your own lawlessness before a holy God. You come to understand that in order to have this life in Christ we must first give up the one we hold so dear. The one where we are the lead character and we are writing the story. We do not want to lay down the five smooth stones and pick up the old wooden cross. We do not want to give up the crown of glory for the crown of thorns. As the Bible says; all is vanity.

Reverend Anthony Wade - November 8, 2014

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Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to (more...)
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