Give Me Jesus, Not Your Values

I wish not to be trite here.

My burden in this post is to challenge you, my reader, to truly rethink what shapes you–your thoughts and actions.

What drives you?

What motivates you?

Our blessed Savior once said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21 CSB).

What do you and I truly treasure?  Do we treasure what Jesus truly treasures? Can we truthful say that what Jesus treasures we treasure?

Values is defined as a person’s principles or standards of behavior; or a person’s judgment of what is important in life.

Our values reveal what we treasure.

For example, if you’re a white Christian living in North America and you do not take some kind of a stance against racial injustice, then you might want to rethink your values.

Here is why: people matter to Jesus.  All people.  Not just the people who look like you.  Jesus gave his life for the black man as well (Revelation 5:9-10).

If my values lead me to discriminate or slight someone because of their race, then my values are not in step with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  My values are anti-Jesus (Galatians 2:11-14).

So give me Jesus, and not values that do not advance his Kingdom.

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Book Review: “The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ” by Ray Ortlund

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  • Series: 9marks: Building Healthy Churches (Book 5)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (April 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433540835
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433540837
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7 inches

 

Book Review:

The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ by Ray Ortlund is part of 9Marks: Building Healthy Churches Series.  Ray Ortlund (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is the pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Gospel is a mere 144 pages in length.  Its Foreword is by elder churchman and theologian J.I. Packer.  The theme, which runs throughout, is “gospel doctrine creates a gospel culture.”  Following the Introduction, Mr. Ortlund explores his theme through seven chapters.  There’s a noticeable movement.  To develop each chapter, the writer selects a text of Scripture and offers a brief exposition to meet the overall theme of “gospel doctrine creates a gospel culture.” For example, “The Gospel is For You,” the first chapter, is a line by line treatment of John 3:16.  Mr. Ortlund interacts with voices from the past in the form of Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Spurgeon, and so on.

The Gospel is well-written.  Pastor Ortlund challenges his readers throughout.  Each chapter not only features a brief exposition of a text but is well-illustrated.  While there’s a concise definition of the gospel, for a book titled the gospel, I was hoping for a better definition–one that is clear and concise, especially when so many are already confused about what is the gospel.

But it’s Mr. Ortlund’s passion and pastoral tone to gently lead the reader from not only the necessity of gospel doctrine but equally to gospel culture what really commends why I think every church leader, pastor, and believer should read The Gospel: How the Church Portrays the Beauty of Christ.  Ortlund writes, “The primary barrier to the ministry of the gospel through your church is not out in the world; the primary barrier is within your church itself.  Every church, to some extent, clogs and hinders the gospel, even as we intend to advance the gospel. So each one of our churches should examine itself” (pg. 108-9).

“How will people on earth see the true beauty of our Head if his body below is scarred with ugliness, like everything else in this world? We have no right to disfigure his image upon us. Among the followers of Christ, beauty has authority” (pg. 112).

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White Nationalists won’t like Heaven

iStock-Diversity+HandsIf it’s the white nationalist belief that the races should live apart, then they would not like heaven.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.  –Revelation 7:9 ESV bold added

Earlier John also writes,

And they sang a new song, saying,

“Worthy are you to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
    and they shall reign on the earth.” –Revelation 5:9-10 ESV bold added

Simply put, one cannot claim to be a Christ follower and a racist at the same time.  White nationalism is anti-Christ. White nationalism, according to those passages above from the Apostle John, is also anti-heaven.

Therefore, white nationalism is a competing vision that is straight from the Devil’s hell.

Let’s call a spade a spade.

Remind the racist of this gospel truth: Jesus of Nazareth–a Jew–was slaughtered to ransom people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.

And this Jesus is a bridge builder who breaks down walls so that he might create in himself one new humanity, one new community, of all people groups on earth (Ephesians 2:13-18).

Therefore, white supremacy must be CONDEMNED, beginning with that hateful rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Love Conquers Hate: Against White Nationalists

e638fe1b032f0d79dfaea5724f86d05a--love-bears-all-things-god-healsOn Saturday, August 12, 2017, the world witnessed hate on display in the town of Charlottesville, Virginia.

White nationalists are full of hate toward others.

We need to fight this hate with the love of Christ.

It’s my prayer that Christians here in America will pray hard against this display of hate.

White nationalism stands against Christ and all he has accomplished for the salvation of humanity.

Let’s pray for the salvation of these White nationalists.

Let’s pray for racial healing and harmony in this nation, beginning with Charlottesville.

They too need Jesus and life–transforming power of the gospel to overcome their racist and hateful hearts.

Nothing else will do.

And all Americans–yes, Whites, Blacks, Hispanic, Asian, etc.–need to meet this sinister evil of white nationalism with the powerful, transforming love of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Lasting change can only be accomplished through the love of Christ.

Posted in A.W. Tozer, Racism | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

On My Desk: On Being Presbyterian by Sean Michael Lucas

On-Being-Presbyterian-Lucas-Sean-Michael-9781596380196Since I’m something of a latecomer to the Presbyterian faith (though I’ve been engaging Presbyterians for years now), I decided to educate myself on what it means to be Presbyterian.

I found in Presbyterian pastor and historian Sean Michael Lucas’s On Being Presbyterian: Our Beliefs, Practices, and Stories exactly what I needed.

As mentioned above, before my conversion to Presbyterianism, I’ve been engaging Presbyterians over the years.  So it’s no surprise that I’m discovering On Being Presbyterian nothing more than filling in the blanks.

Posted in Presbyterian, Presbyterianism | Tagged , | 2 Comments