Is it not enough?

January 18, 2010 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Christianity | 2 Comments
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As I continue to hear about the church in America, I am struck by some things that I just don’t understand. I keep talking about the church “in America” because it looks different from the church outside the US. The problems that American churches face are nothing like the ones faced by the churches in other countries. While American churches worry about new “growth” methods and how to better entertain churchgoers, Christians in other countries are hiding in basements worshipping God with the single page of scripture that they’ve been able to smuggle with them. While American churches work on “branding strategies” and marketing efforts, Christians in other countries are dying just for naming the Name of Christ. Is it just me or is something out of whack here?

God has set aside His church to accomplish certain goals the way He wants them done. When the church fails to do this, they are in rebellion to God. I was reading in Numbers 16 this morning and it brought all this together. In Numbers 16 Korah, Dathan, and Abiram as well as 250 others go up before Moses and Aaron and express their anger and frustration. They accuse him of “exalting himself” as their leader when “all of the congregation is holy”. These men who accused Moses weren’t just any men though. They were men of renown, chosen from among the assembly. Korah was a son of Levi, the tribe who was set apart for service to the Lord as His portion. This wasn’t enough for them though. They wanted the same prestige that Moses had. They wanted the power that he had without the burden or the approval of the Lord. They felt that they should be just like the priesthood and decided to tell him boldly and arrogantly. They told Moses that he had “gone far enough” in exalting himself over the people. 

Before we get to Moses’ response and the Lord’s action, it’s important to look at what has happened just over the last couple of months to this same people. The Israelites had just left Mount Sinai and had been travelling for three day’s journey. At this point, the people started complaining about their adversity. When the Lord saw this, He consumed some of them in fire on the outskirts of the camp. Moses prayed to God and the fire subsided. And yet, the people still complained. This time it was about how they had fish, cucumbers, leeks, melons, onions and other things to eat in Egypt. Now, all they had to look at was manna (which God had graciously provided them). Because of the grumbling of the people, Moses cried out to God because of the burden they had become to him. God told Moses to find 70 elders who could help him bear the burden and He would put His Spirit on them as well as Moses. The people cried for meat as well and when God heard it, he told Moses that He would provide it to the point that “it comes out of your nostrils”. He caused a wind to bring quail in from the sea. There is some question as to how many quail there really were, but the Bible says that they fell beside the camp a day’s journey on all sides. Some of the “rabble” who were complaining (Numbers 11:4) were so greedy that they gathered 10 homers of quail (this is about 40 gallons dry measure)! Because of their greed, God sent a “very severe” plague against them. Then, Miriam and Aaron spoke out against Moses for marrying a Cushite woman. Miriam contracted leprosy and was unclean for 7 days. After this, Israel sent 12 spies into the Promised Land to check out the land and 10 of them came back with a bad report while Joshua and Caleb gave a good report. Again, the people grumbled against Moses and Aaron for taking them out of Egypt, even to the point of choosing another leader to take them back to Egypt. They sought to stone Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb for saying that they could take the land. Moses interceded for the people and God held back his pestilence. God Himself says that since Israel left Egypt they’ve tested Him ten times (even after seeing His wonders). Because of this, everyone twenty years and older would not see the Promised Land. The people then repented and decided to go into the Land on their own and they fell by the sword.

All of this happened prior to Korah challenging Moses. When Moses heard the challenge, he told Korah and those with him that they were to prepare their censers with incense and fire and that the Lord would choose who is holy. He then asked them “is it not enough that the Lord has separated you from the rest of the congregation of Israel, to bring you close to Him, to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the congregation to minister to them”? Korah was of the tribe of Levi and was one of those who served in the tabernacle, although he didn’t share in the priestly duties. This wasn’t enough for him though. He wanted more. Datham and Abiram were even more defiant and ignored a summons by Moses. All of those against Moses met with Moses and Aaron at the door to the tent of meeting with there censers. When all were assembled, the glory of God appeared. God spoke to Moses and told Him that he was ready to comsume the entire congregation for Korah’s sin. Moses again interceded and then called the congregation to move away from the tents and belongings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Moses then spoke to the congregation and said, “By this you shall know that the Lord has sent me. If these men die the death of all men or if they suffer the fate of all men, then the Lord has not sent me. But, if the Lord brings about an entirely new thing and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned the Lord.”

As soon as Moses finished speaking, the earth beneath Korah, Dathan, Abiram, their children, their livestock and all other belongings opened up and swallowed them alive. When they disappeared, the earth closed back up over them. All of those who were around them fled saying, “The earth may swallow us up!” Fire went out and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.

There are some glaring points that need to be said before I continue. First, these men were well aware of who God was and what He had already done for them. They were there when the plagues of Egypt took place. They were there through all of the plagues, trials, tribulations, and other events (including the golden calf!). They bore witness to the miraculous ways that God had provided for His people throughout the entire time that they had been travelling. They knew that God meant what He said and that He should be trusted to keep His Word. They were privileged to be part of the tribe of Levi and serve the Lord in the tabernacle.

Ok, so what does all of this have to do with the New Testament church in America? I think that it has a lot to do. 1 Peter 2:9 says that we are a “royal priesthood” and a “peculiar people”. Has the priesthood in America kept up it’s duties? Or, have some in service to the Lord decided that they know what is better than God and gone off to do their own thing? Sadly, I believe it’s the latter. If you disagree with me, just look around! Take a good, hard, honest look at the church in America without any preconceived notions about your church or denomination and see if the church in America is doing what it is called to do. I would again say no. There are entire denominations that have not only openly embraced sins like homosexuality, but they’ve attacked those who have faithfully stood by the truth of God’s Word. There are churches who preach a materialistic message based on the love of money and greed. There are churches who push for ecumenical ties with other faiths that openly deny the Lord Jesus! There are those who call themselves Christians who preach that “all roads lead to heaven”. No longer is the church in America (as a whole) concerned with the fate of the souls of men. No longer is the preaching and teaching of the truth of the Word the main concern of most churches. Instead, “pastors” and “preachers” spend their time twisting the scriptures to appeal to the tin ears of the congregation so that their coffers will be as full as their pews. This is no different than Korah. Instead of accepting the way that God ordained things to be and accomplishing His desires, Korah defiantly stood in rebellion to God. Instead of preaching the truth of the gospel and sending people out to the lost with the words of life, the church in America has insulated herself in cozy complacency and deluded herself into thinking that she’s doing God’s will by being busy with conferences, classes, and special events.

Is it not enough, Christian, that we’ve been saved by the God of the universe? Isn’t it enough that we have the extreme privilege to speak His Words? Isaiah said that he was a man of unclean lips when he saw the glory of the Lord. Are we any different? And yet, we have the words of life with us and in us to give to those who are dying and going to hell. Not only that, but we can give them freely and in abundance, just as our Lord has done for us. How can we say that we are effectively and honestly acting as the church when we look so much different from the bride that scriptures describes? Is it enough for you to be called a Christian? It should be. If Jesus Christ is the One that calls you a Christian and not you yourself. To be separated by God (consecrated, holy) means just that. We are different and separate. We are not excluded from the world, but we are to be different. Are you?

At Ease Tees

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  1. Folks we should work to reach to truth.Truth is available, it may be hidden.We have to look.So many faiths came and all changed in time by the people who found hard to self control.
    I have read about Islam,it is the only religion that is very unique.It is the only faith that is not named after any man or place.It is the only religion that was preached by all prophets since Adam to Muhammad.It comprises of two points,belief in One God and self control and doing good deeds.It is the only religion that has a system of cross checks so no one can add anything.Quran the word of God,Hadiths sayings and doings of God and biography of Muhammad.All supportive of each other.Quran is the only book that is in the original text,live language and the only for all sects every where.Can we boast that for christianity.
    Read Islam.there are some good sites,www.gainpeace.com., http://www.thedeenshow.com, http://www.bridgetofaith.com.
    Knowledge and truth deserves to be propagated and only concious of being on error fear it.

    • Tony,

      I apologize for the late reply but your comment was lost in my spam box.

      While I agree with you that truth is available and that we should seek the truth out, I disagree with everything else you said.

      You said that all other faiths changed because people couldn’t control themselves.

      Can you provide proof? Where has Christianity changed? I know that Muslims believe that the Bible is corrupt. Could you provide proof?

      You say that Islam is the only religion that is very unique.

      I have to disagree here too. Especially when you say that other faiths are around (whether or not they’ve changed). Also, Islam is not unique. It is one of a large number of religions that say that you have to work your way to heaven (more on that in a minute).

      You say that Islam is the only religion not named after any man or place.

      While this may sound like nitpicking, that’s not true either. There are many religions that are named for something other than men or places. The problem is, what they are named for has nothing whatsoever to do with whether they are true or not.

      You say that it is the only religion that was preached by everyone from Adam to Muhammad.

      Again, I am going to ask you for proof. Could you show me where in the Bible it says that Adam, Abraham, Moses, or David preached about Islam? If you can do so in Biblical context it would be a first.

      You say that it is comprised of two points: belief in One God, self control, and doing good deeds. (That’s three but I’m nitpicking again)

      Again, this in no way shows that Islam is true. It does show that it is not as unique as you say. Other religions share at least one of those qualities. Buddhism says that you have to have self control (to get rid of your desires) and do good deeds. As a matter of fact, doing good deeds is the main way that man tries to reconcile his sinfulness with himself. He uses good deeds to justify his bad and tell himself that they will be enough to get to heaven. Hinduism calls this karma…

      You said that it is the only religion that has a system of cross checks so that no one can add anything.

      Could you explain where in the Quran this system of cross checks exists? I’ve not seen anything to date that shows what you are talking about.

      You say that the Quran, Hadith, and biography of Muhammad all support each other.

      Again, I find myself disagreeing with you. There are numerous contradictions in the Quran itself as well as between the Quran and the Hadith. This includes things like whether or not there is compulsion of Islam, the place of Muhammad in regards to other prophets, and dealings with women, pagans, and the message to be written down.

      You said that the Quran is the only book that is in the original text and language and that it’s the only one for all sects everywhere.

      Claiming that the Quran is the only book in the original text and language brings up certain issues. First, I’ve read the Quran in English and I know that’s not the original language. Second, the idea that the Quran has been preserved and there has never been any changes to it is blatantly ignoring history and the hadith. In Bukhari: vol. 6, hadith 514, p. 482; book 61, Muhammad himself says that the Quran was given to be recited in seven different ways and that the two men in question should recite whichever is easiest. The single text that Muslims today read is the result of the compilation of ‘Uthman. Before this there were at least two or three versions of the Quran. When ‘Uthman compiled his single text, he had all the other copies and versions of the Quran burned.

      You then ask if we can boast of this for Christianity.

      Actually, there is great harmony in the scriptures that Christians have. Christians believe that the scriptures are inspired by God. The copies that we have today are not the original autographs though (just like the Quran). However, this doesn’t not take anything away from their validity. Of all the manuscripts that we have of scripture, there are no major errors found in any of them. There have been minute errors in numbers or something like that, but none of these things affect the doctrine of Christianity. Not only that, the sheer number of manuscripts that Christians have have been shown to not contradict each other.

      I have read about Islam and I don’t find it to be a religion of peace. I see Muslims killing Christians in Uganda, Iraq, India, and other places around the world. Then, when I look at the Quran and see things like Suras 2:191,2:193,2:216,2:244, and 5:33 which all talk about killing infidels (Christians, Jews, and other non Muslims) and wonder who really is following Islam.

      I agree that the truth deserves to be propagated. The truth is that while Islam is pushed as being a religion of peace, it’s not. The Quran doesn’t purport this idea. And while we could talk about problems with the Quran or the Bible, that’s not the crux of the issue. The bottom line is this: What will happen to you when you die? In Islam, there is absolutely no guarantee that anyone will make it to heaven, even if they follow the five pillars, do good deeds, and jihad. The god of Islam is known for many things, but he is capricious and unreliable. The God of the Bible is completely different. While being just and holy, He is also forgiving and merciful; to the point that He sent His only Son to earth to die for the sins of others. Jesus Christ is not just a prophet, He is the Son of God. He is not a partner with God and is not God’s Son in biological terms. He is fully God. Jesus lived a sinless life, something that no one else in history (past or present) has ever done. He was pierced for your sins and mine. All the lies, stealing, lusting that man has committed was reconciled by Jesus. He made the only way for mankind to be saved. Nothing that any other holy man or prophet has done can ever compare with what Christ did. And the most amazing thing is that He did it while we were yet sinners. The forgiveness of sin is available to all of those who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ. It’s something that Islam doesn’t offer because it can’t and it’s available to you too Tony.

      God Bless


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