It has been about a week since I have shared anything in my blog. To be honest, I haven’t had any time to devote to writing in the past week. But today, I want to share a few things with you that are on my heart. I want to talk about I am committed to.
As a pastor of a local church, there are many things that grab my attention. Many times I have to guard myself from things and always reiterate in my heart what my priorities are.
I am committed to the true Gospel. I am not about bringing everyone together. I received an invitation in the mail recently from the YMCA which said, “With a desire for the Christian community to gather in an ecumenical group representing the rich diversity of our community, The YMCA of Florida’s First Coast request the pleasure of your company at the Inaugural ‘Celebration of Prayer’ Breakfast...In this spirit, and as a natural outgrowth of such gatherings, many residents throughout the First Coast are finding through the Spirit of Christ a fellowship that is helping to build true community.”
Guests to this “ecumenical” gathering make up Baptists, Episcopalians, and Charismatics.
I am not interested in an “Ecumenical” gathering where we all come together with different beliefs. I am interested in Jesus who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6) and the call of a narrow gospel. Paul warned the Galatians about another gospel when he said in Galatians 1:6-9: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” To the Philippians he said in Philippians 1:15-18 that he could rejoice in a gospel preached out of impure motives as long as the true gospel is preached. He said: “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.”
There is no rejoicing when the true gospel is perverted and another gospel is preached. I agree with Geneva not willing to lower their flags to half mast in honor of the Pope’s funeral. Someone on SermonAudio wrote, “Thank God there is still a protest.” I was reading the Pope’s last will and testament on the Internet and was reminded of where every Catholic’s trust lies. He writes: “Keep watch, because you do not know which day when the Lord will come" — These words remind me of the final call, which will come the moment that the Lord will choose. I desire to follow Him and desire that all that is part of my earthly life shall prepare me for this moment. I do not know when it will come, but, like all else, this moment too I place into the hands of the Mother of My Master” (Pope John Paul II).
In the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church, it says, “...all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body: Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation...” (p.224, #846). “The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: ‘For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained’” (p.215, #816). In #969 of the Catechism, it says of Mary: “Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation...’ (p.252). In #494 it says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race” (p.125). In #292 of the Catechism it says “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation” (p.292). In #1113 it says “There are seven sacraments of the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony” (p.289).
I am not about bringing everyone together. I am about everyone repenting and submitting to Jesus Christ alone for salvation. It is clear in the teachings of Scripture on the subject of salvation that the Gospel is about self-denial not self-fulfillment.
The Bible states that every person is a sinner. Galatians 3:22 says, “The Scripture has confined all under sin.” Ecclesiastes 7:20 says, “There is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.” Galatians 3:10 says, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” In an examination of the 10 commandments, we see clearly why we are “cursed.” We do not “do them!” And because of this, we are “cursed.”
Because we are sinners we deserve judgment. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” Ezekiel18:4 says, “The soul who sins shall die.” There are many who have problems with these first two points of the Gospel message but the third they cannot swallow—we cannot save ourselves from our sin. The reason is because we are “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph.2:1) and because our good works are nothing but filthy rags before a holy God (Isa.64:6). But praise God we don’t have to perform some kind of works for salvation. He sent Jesus to die in our place (Jn.3:16; Rom.10:9-10).
What are you committed to? Is it the true gospel? Do you see evangelism as your highest priority?
In my next blog, I want to share with you my commitment to the church.