The major focus in so much of what is called Christianity today (The magazine is indeed a correct representative of Christianity Today) is focused on me, myself, and I, rather than on Christ Jesus.
One of the most popular teachers / authors is Joel Osteen, whose bestselling book, “Your Best Life Now” continues to be popular on the circuit today. The book, like everything else that Mr. Osteen teaches, is a word salad composed of New Thought, Positive Confession, and a smattering of Scripture references (which are totally devoid of any context, whatsoever). Added together, they make up a dangerous concoction of positive platitudes that will make even a cockroach feel good about himself!
My sincere apologies go out to any cockroaches who may be offended by the comparison.
Earthly pleasures, earthly riches, earthly delights, earthly health, and earthly wealth are the focus of humanism today. Yet, this Humanism has a veneer of Christianity to make it appear as being something from God.
The year 55 AD was much like today. In Corinth, the true Apostle, Paul, was being ostracized by the leaders, the false apostles, and some of the people in the church. They were believing the same lies that many are believing today:
- Paul was not their Apostle
- The self-appointed apostles had absolute authority over them
- These apostles focused on earthly things.
Yet, in dealing with the future hope, rather than the temporal hope many held on to, the Apostle Paul said this:
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:19)
Many will declare that you must trust Jesus, or ask Jesus in to your life, to save you from any situation you are in, while leaving out the most important thing.
Yes, if we hope only for the things in this life, we are most miserable! What a wonderful translation we have in the King James Bible! Some translations translate the Greek word eleeinoV “eleeinos” as pitiful. Pitiful, compared to what? Miserable is a state of mind that one has when their expectations are not meant. The same meaning is found in Revelation 3:17:
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Revelation 3:17)
Christian – If you are not focused on heavenly things, even in this life, you too will be most miserable! Yet, the professing church has been moving steadily from the heavenly to earthly at an alarming rate.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:20-22)
Through Adam all have death. Through the Second Adam, Jesus, all are made alive. This is the amazing truth of the Gospel of Salvation:
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
Yes, the Gospel message is that Christ died, was buried, and rose again – according to the Scriptures! By believing that simple message one has eternal life! If you haven’t believed the Gospel, why not believe it now?
The Practical Way to being Heavenly minded:
- Realize that the old man is dead
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:1-11)
- What is our response to Romans 5:21? That is the question that is answered in the first 11 verses of Romans 6.
- Now that we know that sin reigned until we died in Jesus Christ, so that grace can now reign through the imputed righteousness of Christ. The Believer has been given that righteousness in exchange for that sin – which was crucified with Christ.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Galatians 2:20-21)
- We should not continue in sin, because we are dead, and buried with him – baptized INTO His death! We now have a choice. “To sin, or not to sin, that is the question.”
- Christ died and rose from the grave. We (the old man) also died with Him. We have become new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17). Old things ARE passed away! Gone! Kaput! Everything having to do with the old man is D.E.A.D. – Dead! All things ARE become new.
- New focus
- New life
- New future
- New _______ (fill in the blank for yourself)
The Christian ought to have the most joy of anyone on the planet. The joy he, or she, has is founded on the completeness of salvation. Complete in Him (Colossians 2:10), and because Jesus completely saves, our old man is indeed dead, so we can trust Him more each day. This is the lifelong process of sanctification.
The old man is indeed dead, but we do still carry around a bag of bones – dead man’s bones – called the flesh. Yet, we know the flesh is indeed fading away. Any time now, the Rapture will happen, and the flesh will be done away with, and glorified bodies will take its place. In the meantime:
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. (Colossians 3:5-7)