- We know that “all of us have knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up and causes us to fall into the condemnation of the devil… 1 Cor. 8:1; 1 tim. 3:6
- Getting doctrine right is a matter of life and death, but holding that doctrine in the right spirit is essential too
- A great deal of damage is done by those who hold the truth of Christ with the spirit of satan
- One of the mistakes Christians often make is that we learn to rebuke like Jesus but not love like Jesus
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first Revelation 2:4
I bought Joshua Harris’ Humble Orthodoxy last night and it is really a great book. In a chapter in he calls “With Tear in our Eye,” (Page 243), he retells a story found in the gospel of Luke chapter 18:
One day two men went to church to pray.
The first man was a shallow, uninformed evangelical. Everything about him shouted of squishy theology. He didn’t know or use big theological words. He watched Christian TV and thought it was deep. He bought books from the inspirational section of the bookstore. He attended one of those mega churches where the sermons are short and the worship leaders look like American Idol contestants.
The second man who went to pray was different. He was a Christian of theological depth and substance–this was obvious by the heavy study Bible he carried with him. He only read books by long-dead theologians. He subscribed to the podcasts of all the solid, gospel-centered expository preachers who didn’t tell funny stories or make jokes in their sermons. He felt cheated if a sermon was less than an hour-long.
This second man began to pray. He said, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people–doctrinally ignorant, theologically clueless, superficial in their saccharine-sweet evangelicalism. I thank you that you have made me what I am: true to good doctrine, uncompromising on teaching, orthodox to the core.”
But the first man would not even look up to heaven. Instead he beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
At the end of the story he (Josh) asks a series of questions that I thought was a great way to drive home the purpose of the story, which of course is to “challenge people who trusted in their own righteousness and treated others with contempt.” Here they are:
1. Do you see yourself in this story?
2. Has a humble gratefulness for God’s mercy been replaced by pride?
3. Are you prone to have contempt or a sense of superiority toward those with less knowledge?
The church in Ephesus, as you can tell in Revelation 2:4 had abandoned their first love. Right doctrine was a matter of life and death for them. They tested those who called themselves apostles and exposed those they thought were in error. They were zealous for sound doctrine and bringing correction to error. But in the process they had abandoned their first love and was at risk of loosing their Lampstand (their sphere of influence) if they did not repent.
I have seen a lot of blogs, pastor, teacher and christians lose their “sphere of influence” because of misplaced confidence and self-righteousness. There are a lot of great blogs, apologists, defenders of the faith out there, unfortunately, it seems like most of them are driven by a love for controversies and quarrels.
I think all of us will do well by returning to our first love, guarding the good deposit entrusted to us (because truth matters) and having nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies that breed quarrels. “We must care deeply about truth, and we must also defend and share this truth with compassion and humility.” Thanks for taking the time to read this… please let me know how you feel about it!