Why Should Any Christian Be Gospel-Fluent?

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Did you know that Christians can believe lies about God?

No Christian, I hope, desires to do so. But I am certain that whenever we sin, we have already believed something about God that is not true.

Lies and wrong IDs
We all live out the identities we believe in and find our purpose and satisfaction in.

A woman may claim to be a disciple-maker. She might say her aim is to be an exemplary employee and win souls for Jesus at her workplace. But if all that excites her is the monthly SMS notification about her account having been credited with a huge salary, God knows she has little to do with making disciples; she is living out the identity of a money-lover.

She has believed in the lie that money in her bank account will give her more pleasure or security than Jesus could.

A pastor might say he loves his wife and children to bits and might have provided a house, cars and all the snazzy gadgets they could enjoy in life. But at night when he has shut himself alone and his eyes and mind rove all over the dark side of the internet to get what his sexual desires want, God knows that he is living the identity of a pornography-lover.

He has believed in the lie that indulging in sexually impure fantasies will bring more pleasure to him than the presence of God could.

Scandal
It is possible that both these people are actually children of God. Oh, the scandal.

“How could you possibly say that someone so sinful is saved?”

Well, if you know me, I usually hesitate to say so. But to paraphrase John Owen’s observations – “Some lusts flare up over others… One lust can be greater in one man than another”. Chapter 6, Right Way to Kill Sin, Mortification of Sin in Believers.

We might be quick to say such people are definitely not Christians, who are supposed to be dead to sin and alive to God. I am tempted to say the same. And some might even be not truly Christian.

But I will fool myself if I promptly declare myself better than them. Selective amnesia is sinful amnesia. Surely we remember how we have easily repeated sins for years and how easily have swept them aside?

To continue- the people involved may feel “genuinely” sorry about their repeated patterns of sin and their self-absorption. They might feel the tearing guilt inside, the controlled-demolition of their conscience with the silent pleas of God the Holy Spirit in the background. They might fall on their knees by the bed, hands on the floor, saying through desperate tears –

“GOD, OH GOD I’M SO SORRY .. PLEASE FORGIVE ME. PLEASE FORGIVE ME, OH GOD OF GRACE!”

If the sins of over-spending, man-pleasing and lust had stopped, it would have made sense.
But maddeningly, this cycle repeats.

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Destroyed inside.

 

If you are a Christ-follower and are honest with yourself right now, you know sins can repeat in your life. Continue reading “Why Should Any Christian Be Gospel-Fluent?”

Four Ways We Turn Church Into A Temple

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Temple: A structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities such as prayer and sacrifice (Wikipedia).

Local church: A local group of believers with biblically qualified elders, meeting for the purpose of building up one another and training one another to obey Christ’s Great Commission and to reflect the living God in their various gifts and services. (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1-2, Titus 1:5, Matt. 28:18-20)

Like many Indians, I too have had for many years equated churches and temples because of that “sense of peace” that one experiences in quiet temples, and in vast, empty cathedrals.

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Now if you are a Bible-wielding Christian who loves Jesus, you would know how different going to a Hindu temple and being with the church is. But are there ways in which you might be treating your church like how some treat temples- like a thing of mere rituals and forgotten tradition? Continue reading “Four Ways We Turn Church Into A Temple”

Have Christians Misunderstood The Book of Acts?

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Have you ever been in a place where non-Christians (and Christians!) have condemned Christianity for having so many denominations and divisions?

Consternation over denominations
If you are like me, you may have responded by trying to either present your own church as the most noble and correct one since Jesus rose from the dead (bad move!), or you may have mumbled something about Christians not being perfect!

You may have ruefully wondered- why do so many denominations exist in God’s kingdom anyway?

Church denominations are not a new fad- different types of churches had begun forming right after the early history of Christianity. Wikipedia lists at least 40 major divisions within Christianity, with myriad sub-divisions. One source says  by 2001, there were nearly 33,000 Christian denominations across the planet, but all this really depends on how you define the term “denomination”.

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But then again- how come so many Christian denominations?!

Denominations and the “Acts” effect

Here are some reasons. Some people had desired Continue reading “Have Christians Misunderstood The Book of Acts?”

Of Healings, Hrithik Roshan And Miracle-Marketing

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Johnny Lever claims he had prayed to Jesus, for Hrithik Roshan and the famous Bollywood actor was healed of a cyst problem!

The late Dev Anand, Bollywood superstar of yesteryears, followed the controversial US-based televangelist, Pastor Benny Hinn, in his later years!

I had no idea about all of this until recently, when a dear uncle from our church family handed me an article on current Christianity, and that, in a mainstream Indian tabloid. Best gift in weeks- thank you!

Is it not so “cool” to see Christians influence celebrities? While Hollywood has had it’s Kirk Cameron-moments, it would be exciting to have Indian movie stars or politicians convinced of the Christian faith!

Or so it would seem to a lot of us, bechara Christians, what with the we-are-only-2%-of-our-country’s-population collective sigh, looking for some way, any way (apart from maybe speaking the truth about Jesus?) for a massive, nation-jolting affirmation of the Christian faith from someone “big” enough.

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But our tiny sparks of hope will fizzle out if we don’t keep in mind two very important questions:

1. How is the Christian faith largely perceived by fellow citizens today?

2. Is the Christian good news that is prevalent among stars and celebrity-pastors in India, really the original Jesus-brand or some cheap (contaminated Maggi?) variety? Continue reading “Of Healings, Hrithik Roshan And Miracle-Marketing”