DiM (Bonus) | “Do Something” by Matthew West

Okay, so I was going to make today’s DiM post about my listening experience from last night’s grocery run, but I decided to make it more of a bonus edition since the song isn’t on any charts I reviewed.

We are going to take a slightly different approach to this bonus post. I want to give a sneak peek into what goes on in my head when a song grabs my attention while I’m driving in the car. Have you ever noticed how quickly your mind can race when given the right mix of anticipation, frustration, or excitement? So we are going to walk through the song as if it were playing for the first time, and I’ll share the thoughts I had as the song played…

Lyrics (via K-Love.com)

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”

Whoa there… God has done everything for us, don’t go blaming Him for the sin in the world

Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”

Uhm… the Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom, dude. Maybe this is a Job type of story where Matt West is about to be corrected in his thinking by the Word of God or something

He said, “I did,…{pause for dramatic effect}

Okay, cool, God is going to remind Matt of what He did at the Cross, right?

“… I created you”

::sigh::

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

So… the direct revelation from God regarding the problems of sin in the world is that God created us to “do something”? Really?

So, what is it, pray-tell, that we should be doing that will bring an end to all this pain?

I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
I’m gonna do something”

So the reason the world is in sin is supposedly because we’ve been living lives of apathy, lives with no desire and a flame won’t do but we want a fire. My wife chuckled at this line and said “isn’t a fire a flame?” to which I smiled (while the chorus repeated) and said, “touché”. Still the song nagged at me… so apparently we’ve moved on to thinking that even asking God to do something is part of living the apathetic life, huh? I guess we are not asking God for this fire that isn’t a flame?

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill
But we’re never gonna change the world

::sigh::

By standing still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still

Wow… that was awful. The irony of this situation, is that the performer of this song never gets round to saying what it is we should be doing. People pay money to hear him sing a song of judgement for somehow not having already put an end to sin and death here on the earth.

God did do something

Romans 5  (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Don’t set aside the Gospel of Jesus Christ to sell a music album or push the false-gospel of social activism. Stop co-opting the social justice nonsense, the Great Commission isn’t about “changing the world”, but about preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

John 3:16-21 (ESV) | For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

I pray this song disappears from the Christian airwaves. Thoroughly troubling. Apparently the music video is all about the Good Works that answer the “do something” appeal… I’ll share it here for fairness sake, but there is no music video when this song plays on the radio.

[youtube http://youtu.be/b_RjndG0IX8]

So yeah… “Do good works… or else… the world won’t change”.

In Christ,
Jorge

Discernment is an Imperative

I’m not a big fan of the majority of internet memes (or info-graphics) that get shared all over the blog-o-sphere and Facebook. Occasionally, one gets shared that I think… “awesome”… and they stick with me for a while. I have a confession to make: I have only recently become familiar with Charles H. Spurgeon and some of the other influential church leaders in the past. Okay, moving along, this one meme in particular was a quote from Charles H. Spurgeon regarding Discernment. It is easy to practice Biblical discernment when you disagree with what is being said, or dislike the person saying it. Especially if what you are countering is clearly wrong according to scriptures. But it is an altogether different experience to discern between “right” and “almost right”… especially if you are trying to establish the “rightness” of a statement you already agree with, or one being made by a person you look up to (or, dare I say it, idolize) or someone a dear friend looks up to.

discernmentIs Discernment Really an Imperative?

Yes. Let’s look at what the Word of God says:

Matthew 7:15-23 (ESV) 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

1 John 4:1 (ESV) 4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Galatians 1:6-7 (ESV) 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

There may be more references worth including here, but here I’ve listed the Authoritative warning by Jesus, and the reminder from 2 witnesses John and Paul. As I’ve said before, the entire book of Galatians focuses on this point… on the point of discerning between Gospel (“right”) and  Law (which cannot be considered wrong, but if you’ll read Galatians, you’ll see that it’s an “almost right”).  Before you start explaining away these passages as being about paganism, Satanism, or Mormonism… stop. Jesus said they’d be in sheep’s clothing… meaning they’d look like you and me. In 1 John, he goes to explain that some of these men had gone out from them… from the church in Jerusalem… and they were false. And Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, is talking about men from Jerusalem who were of the circumcision party of believers. We aren’t talking only about the obviously wrong teaching, or the in-your-face blasphemies… we are talking about a distortion of the Gospel of Christ.

Well, You are Entitled to your Opinion…

Yes, you are. But that has absolutely nothing to do with Biblical Discernment. In fact, if your opposition to (or defense of) a message, a prophecy, a sermon, or a theology begins and ends with “I feel like” or “what this passage means to me” you are engaging in opinion-sharing. While everyone has an opinion, it doesn’t mean there are no right, almost right, and wrong opinions. Furthermore, Biblical Discernment is not about opinion, it’s about understanding what the Word of God says, according to the Word of God. I submit to you that very little… if anything… is open to personal opinion when it comes to the God-breathed Scriptures. Don’t let anyone discourage you from comparing what is being said in the Name of God to what we find written in the Word of God. And if there is still a hesitation in your mind… well, let’s see what Paul thought.

Galatians 1:8-12 (ESV) 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:7-12 (ESV) 7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!

And we also have this warning from Peter:

2 Peter 2:1-3 (ESV) 2 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

So, this is what is at stake. Any deviation from the Gospel of Christ is to be rebuked. But this isn’t just about calling out falsehood! Discernment is also about establishing what is true in light of the Word of God. Going back to 1 John 4:1, we weren’t told to test to see if they were false, but to test to see if the spirit is of God. When you grade a test, you don’t compare it to what is wrong, you compare it to what is Right, what is Truth!

Acts 17:10-12 (ESV) 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.

These were Jews, described as being more noble than those in Thessalonica (because those in Thessalonica were jealous of the following that Paul and Silas gained, and stirred up the crowds to persecute Paul and Silas) and they examined the Scriptures daily. Paul and Silas were bringing them the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and these men were weighing what they were hearing by what they already knew was the Word of God! And it proved to be Right, and True according to God’s Word (the Law and the Prophets, our Old Testament) and so they were already obeying 1 John 4:1 before it was even written! And because God’s Word is True, they believed the Gospel as preached by Paul and Silas in the Grace given them by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I don’t want to grieve the Holy Spirit…

Nor do I. Take great care in how you characterize the message and the messenger as you go about searching the Scriptures as the men in Berea did. But the solution to this concern is not to shy away from obeying what is clearly a Biblical Imperative. Based on Jesus teaching in Matthew 22:37-40, “And [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Let us look to 1 Corinthians 13 to see how Love is defined in Scripture:

1 Corinthians 13:1-6 (ESV)1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

When you choose to speak up (which you should) do so in Love. I also strongly recommend that you do so in private, first. Why? Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother…” so yes… do so in private, and in Love. Will it be welcomed? No. Will you always gain your brother? No. Will you always be right? only so far as you rightly use the Word of God, and don’t fall to your own sin of misinterpretation of the Word of God.

Again, it is not easy confronting false teaching that comes from a friend, or even a mentor. However, if you are not engaging in the opinions of men, and you’ve searched out the Scriptures, and proceed in love, it is a good thing to do. There is no prescription or mandate, to tolerate false-teaching. In fact, we are told not to fear the false teachers, nor to listen to them.

Titus 1:5-11 (ESV) 5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. 10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

listentomenPaul is not instructing Titus to do something Paul had not already done. In fact, Titus was there when it happened. Let’s return to Galatians:

Galatians 2:1-11 (ESV) 1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. 2 I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. 3 But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. 4 Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— 5 to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. 6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. 7 On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised 8 (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), 9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do. 11 But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.

Titus witnessed was taught the value of conferring with Elders, submitting to Biblical Discernment (or Paul wanted to know that he had not run in vain) and in the necessity of rebuking hypocrisy and false doctrine (though it was the behavior of Cephas that was silently bearing testimony to the false teaching of the Judaizers). Cephas, was one who seemed to be influential, to be a pillar. The final thought for this post is this, that we dare not take the word of a leader over the Word of God.

I pray this has been of some encouragement to you. God’s Word isn’t open to individual interpretations and opinions… because it is Truth, Objective and Absolute Truth. We do not define Scripture by our emotion or by our opinions, but by the Word of God. The Elders of your assembly bear a great deal of responsibility. You, too, having all of the Word of God made readily available to you in this present age, learn to love God’s Word and search it out. No issue is too small, nor trial too great for answers to be found in the written Word of God.

May the Lord Bless and Keep you,
In Him,
Jorge