Quarterly Journals
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Saved By the Gospel

“Be Ready Always to Give an Answer to Every Man that Asketh You a Reason of the Hope…” 1 Peter 3:14-15 KJV

I have not vetted the facts, but I recently read somewhere that based on present growth rates for the world population and religious groups, in roughly 180 years, half of the world’s population will be Muslim. It was stated that if the growth rate continues as it currently is, in 80 years Islam will surpass Christianity and become the world’s largest faith-based group. It stated that Islam’s rapid growth is mostly the result of a higher birth rate among its followers, and that Islam also wins more than it loses through conversions. I don’t know if this is true or not, and I only mention it here because I wonder if the face of Christianity is changing.

At this point in my reading, I was challenged to write down the number of people I had talked to one on one about salvation in the past 12 months. I wasn’t embarrassed to write down my numbers, but I was embarrassed that they were so low. The book that I read alluded to the possibility that the message of soul saving salvation has become a thing of the past for the Christian church. It talked about how Sunday School is not like it used to be and Wednesday Night Bible Study and Prayer Meetings are grossly unattended, in comparison to Sunday Morning Worship. The writer went on to say that because of the declining two-day dialogue about the Word of God, ignorance is growing at an alarming rate amongst Christians, and that many Christians struggle to articulate sin vs. sins; reconciliation vs. redemption; and law vs. grace. He said that like the 9-month bulge in the belly of a pregnant woman, we too are about to give birth to a new offspring of Christian believers, but the coming generation bears no resemblance to God, the Father, or Jesus Christ, His Son.

I guess I was a little bothered by it all, because on some level it seemed to ring true; and I wondered what has changed about Christianity; Jesus is the same! I was forced to ask, “Are we spending too much time on Church Programs, and not enough on investing in the Kingdom of God? Are we truly about our Father’s Business? And do we really know what His business is? Are we doing His Will?” I know that individually some of us are doing great things, and if asked to write down numbers of those whom you have talked to about salvation in the past 12 months, the numbers would be great; but the real question is, what have we done with Jesus? Is it just enough that you have your ticket to Heaven, and everybody else can get there on their own? While I may have my questions about the direction that the Church is heading, I know this: Christianity is not for weaklings, or the faint of heart. It takes courage to follow Christ, especially in the silent repression that we face every day as our culture becomes more secularized, and anti-Christian. Could it be that we have become less vigilant to take the Kingdom by force, because the World system operates on individualism (love of self); Secularism (god is not necessary); & Relativism (making oneself the standard)? I fear that the world has lost respect for what the Church has to offer due to growing compromise within and it is my sincere prayer that we do not shift our focus from the Great Commission, for it was the preaching of the gospel that saved me.

 

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon



Don’t Judge Me!

Every so often a new expression is borne out of our culture; a catchy phrase that almost everyone adopts and uses. Some popular ones are, “How U Doin’?” from Wendy Williams (Radio/Talk Show Host); “Bye Felicia”, (Nene Leakes) is another one. Other’s escape me now, but when you can hear them, you know exactly what they mean. Because when spoken they define themselves. Lately, I’m hearing “Don’t Judge Me!” a lot. When spoken, it is an emphatic reprimand – meant to establish one’s right to do whatever they deem necessary for them – even if you don’t agree. While “How U Doin”, has become part of my repertoire depending on who I’m talking to (mostly my daughter), I have not yet used, “Don’t Judge Me!” I guess, because when used, it’s always in the context of justification for questionable choices; and then implication is while it may not be right for me, the choice is subject to the discretion of the other. And truthfully, in every case that I’ve heard it used, it is the opposite of what God’s Righteousness is.

The word “Righteousness” is used hundreds of times in the Bible. The Bible teaches that God loves righteousness, and that God is righteousness. It teaches that one day God is going to judge the world in righteousness.

According to Psalm 23, God leads us in the paths of righteousness. While in our simple language, we are emphatic that we don’t want to be judged, simply stated, righteousness means being right with God. And while we may not want to be judged, God has a standard.

According to Romans 1:17, the good news is that God made us right with Himself through Jesus’ death as payment for our sins. It is because of Jesus’ death, that we can have a right relationship with God. But righteousness is also a life-style. It means living right according to God’s standard. Being right with God is the best way to live, and it’s the only way to Heaven. We spend our lifetime acquiring things, or racking up accomplishments, but life without Christ, is an empty life. You’re not really living until you’re right with Go, and that means in relationship and fellowship with Him, and making Godly choices. “Don’t judge me!” may just be an expression, but the next time you caution someone not to judge you, just remember that if Christ chose you, He declared you righteous, and His standard will be the judge.

“God’s Way of Putting People Right Shows Up in Acts of Faith, confirming what Scripture has said all along: ‘The Person in Right Standing Before God by Trusting Him Really Lives.’”  – Romans 1:17 MSG

 

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon