Sunday, September 7, 2008

Real Christianity - Pt.7

Chapter 7

Section One: Faith That is Not Faith

  • We need to see our true state as God sees it. Because of His perfect purity and His ability to know us better than we know ourselves, it is likely that He sees problems and failures that we are barely conscious of – if we recognize them at all.

  • What if this person had to appear before Christ at this very moment with the full impact and offensive nature of every sin he or she has ever committed revealed in His presence? When I imagine such a scene, it helps me come to grips with the true state of my spiritual life. It is always sobering.

  • If we are going to have an accurate assessment of ourselves, we need to focus on that area of our life in which we are the most susceptible. The writer of the Hebrews refers to this as “the sin that so easily entangles” (Heb. 12:1). …We need to evaluate those areas of our life that are more likely to reveal our true nature.

  • When men or women come into a state of authentic faith, they should look back on the actions of their pre-Christian days with a sense of shame and sorrow.

  • Remember, we are fallen beings, born in sin, and by nature depraved. Christian faith does not begin with the premise of innocence or goodness of heart. That is optimistic humanism, not authentic faith. Christianity proclaims the need for forgiveness and transformation. We are not what we were meant to be.

  • To stay the course in a world like ours and a culture like ours, you have to decide that you will take all human opinion for exactly what it is worth. You will not hold it higher than it deserves, nor be afraid when it turns against you and attempts to discourage you from your commitment. … You can’t walk the fence. Such a balancing act will always lead to conflict as you try to please God and the world around you.

  • When your heart wants to please God in all things, the very mundane tasks of daily living become acts of worship. You don’t become religious; you become authentic. This is the attitude that becomes the purifying agent that changes everything. … To keep this frame of mind, it is essential that you keep your mind on Christ. Prayer will become like breathing for you. Conscience will become sensitive to your faulty desires. Seek to be useful. Avoid idleness.

  • [Authentic Christians] aren’t looking for a boundary line to push to the limits. They are far away, seeking to get as close as possible to Christ.

  • Old habits die hard, even when the Spirit is at work. … When we live a committed life for Christ, we will have a degree of struggle that will require discipline and tough obedience till the end. Remember, we are at war.

  • Faith is not something you try. It is a reality you cast yourself upon without reserve.

Section Two: Some Advice to Those Who Believe

  • There are no shortcuts to authentic spirituality. It takes all we have to give and is the main task to which we are called. We are instructed to grow in grace and add virtue to virtue. We are to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit living in us and through us.

  • If you are serious about being a follower of Jesus Christ, keep a close watch over your behaviour and your heart. Strive to learn how to overcome the obstacles you tackle on your way to spiritual maturity. Learn from those who have successfully gone before you. Read good books by men and women who have lived the faith they profess. Study your own life. Learn where you are vulnerable.

Section Three: Brief Comments to Various Kinds of Skeptics

  • Can the skeptics say, with all honesty, that they have carefully examined the evidence of the faith? Have they thought all this through with the seriousness and diligence required of such an important subject?

  • The decline of authentic faith is not the result of careful study of the writers who argue against Christianity. It is far more the product of the progress of luxury and the decline of morality. When skeptical writers do address the subject, it is usually from the point of view of sarcasm and negative wit. Their prejudices find fruitful soil in the weak minds of their readers and the faulty thinking of cultural Christians.

Section Four: Advice for Those Who Possess Authentic Faith

  • Unbelief and evil are growing right here at home. Something must be done to combat this growing trend. If change is to come, it must start with true Christians living out their faith. …By your life and words you must put to silence the voices of ignorant critics of the faith. Be bold to proclaim the name of Christ in this time when many who call themselves Christian are ashamed to speak the name.

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