| 2010/4/11 5:28|
| 2010/4/11 5:28|
| 2010/4/11 5:28|
| Re: |
This thread inspired me to pickup the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. I must say, I was really touched and challenged by this book. Although there aren't really any new ideas in this book, it is still a refreshing read. Much of it is totally in keeping with the greater themes we find regularly spoken of here on Sermon Index. The life Chan encourages us to embrace as Christians reminds me much of that of the late Keith Green.
My review of this book on Amazon.com:
It is not often that I review books here on Amazon.com, but I thought this book was truly worth reviewing and recommending. Ignore the nay-sayers who question Chan's view of salvation being by grace through faith alone. Chan affirms that view many times in this book. It is my opinion that the nay-sayers who object to Chan's view of salvation are individuals who have a deficient understanding of what salvation really is. They are probably not saved themselves. Salvation is when God takes hold of us, and we in return take hold of God. And any understanding of justification by faith that somehow takes away from the total and radical claim the gospel has on our lives, is a bogus understanding of justification by faith, and what it means to be saved by grace. If you are saved, you are saved by a faith that works, and makes a difference in your life.
And ultimately, that's what this book is about. It's about living a life of purpose with eternity in view, out of a love for God that causes one to have a radical love for your neighbor. Why? Because God has taken a radical hold of you in your life, and demonstrated an awesome love for you. It is a book about realizing that living our best lives now can only be obtained by living our lives for eternity. This book boldly declares the American dream to be a lie from hell-- even the Christian version of it. The American dream is focused on the here and now, Christianity is focused on the age that is to come. But by living our lives for eternity, with heaven in view, we will live radically different lives here and now. To be heavenly minded is to be of earthly good. In a nutshell, this book shows there is a very practical side to being saved.
| 2010/4/17 15:16||Profile|
| Re: |
I'm not sure if this will help any of you but I feel like I was in the same situation where I knew Francis Chan and Paul Washer had it right and it felt true when they said it but eventually I felt like it was going to and already was leading me to believe in a works based salvation. You know what I found out? I absolutely positively was not saved and that is why. Once you are saved and you hear things from francis chan or paul washer it is totally different, it really is. Because when you have the holy spirit in you that holy spirit desires to do what they say and it drives you in a way you couldn't imagine. I think our struggle is that a lot of us who are starting to understand the true gospel still aren't quite saved, we still haven't hit the point of absolute sincerity in our repentence.
The thing that helps me think about all of this is the human heart. The human heart is absolutely positively corrupted by sin. So far that it is to the extent where we can't see or understand or reach God at all. We are totally separated from God by our sin. It makes sense because our hearts are utterly sinful, just disgusting things running with grim and full of selfishness. Our hearts are just so far gone that when we hear the gospel and we want to respond to it and just want God so badly we still can't have it because our hearts are still so dead in sin. The place where God took me to save me was incredible.
It was maybe a two years that I had been with my girlfriend and when we first got together I had told her many lies about things I had done because I didn't want her to know how bad I was because I desperately wanted to be with her and I figured she would surely leave me if she know what I had done, so I covered it all up in lies. Slowly over time the lies started to come out because she was so persistent in asking question, it was just ridiculous. You wouldn't believe it, it was like every time she asked me something I told her something new that she hadn't known I had done, but it was never all I had done. But somehow she just kept asking as if she knew there was still more to discover that I had hidden. I can now see that God did that to keep on driving it out of me more and more. It got to the point where I literally thought all of the lies that I had ever had had finally come out to her and that she knew everything. It had been maybe a year and a half in time that I had slowly been revealing these lies and I was so happy that they had finally all came out and I was so proud that it had been done and that I was finished with lying and then boom, I took the deepest blow I will ever take in my life. It was just so personal. Right after I revealed my "last lie" my girlfriend asked me if there was anything else that I wanted to reveal/tell her, and then POP and idea came to my mind, but I thought, "You know what, I think it's fine, this one isn't too bad, I think it'll be fine," (I said that to myself as another thought about something I hadn't told her surfaced in my mind, I was trying to protect myself from needing to tell it to her, telling myself it wouldn't matter in the end so I just kept it to myself). I told her "nope, that's it," and do you know what happened? Well I had a smile on my face, a few minutes passed and then it hit me. I hadn't changed a bit. After 1.5 years of revealing lies (basically without creating new ones at least in my own mind) I still had the ability to lie right to her face. I then confessed it to her trying not to make a big deal of it but I already knew that she had given me the chance but that I failed because I was too dang selfish. Not only had a failed her but I failed myself. In my own eyes I was a christian and I had thought I was getting better and growing, especially out of my phase as a liar, but no, I was the exact same. You know why? Because of that sinful heart I talked about. Our hearts are absolutely sinful, so sinful in fact, that we trick ourselves into thinking that we are saved christians when in reality we still harbor lies among other things, or still let out the occasionally cuss word (you know what your demons are). I found out in that moment that I was an unchanged monster. That little lie that I told her revealed to me that there was literally no good in me. I hadn't changed a bit. I balled my eyes out all of that night, partially because deep inside I knew it was over between my girlfriend and I, but almost 100% because I couldn't take myself anymore. I was sick beyond belief. I wanted to separate myself from the monster of a heart I had so badly but I knew that I was that man. I was that monster that could lie straight to the face of my honest and loving girlfriend. It eventually got to the point where I gave up. I had been trying to get better for 1.5 years of lies and I gave up. I knew that I couldn't do it. I knew with all of my heart that if I kept trying to go on that I would just keep on lying to her and that I wouldn't change ever. What I didn't realize is that God was watching and was smiling. He saw me. He saw me absolutely broken over my sin and over the state of my monstrous heart. He saw that I knew I couldn't be good, He saw that I knew there was no good in me and that I was all evil and at some point in that confession that I was all evil and that I couldn't take it anymore he saved me. He put the holy spirit in me and Ill never forget it because that night I wrote a story which was partially my testimony and I was so overjoyed to write that testimony and to write about what christ had done for me in that moment. I had some extra-human joy about me, something I couldn't experience apart from some divine presence. Gosh it feels good to be saved. The funny thing is it didn't even hit me that i was actually saved, I didn't realize that God had saved me and given me the holy spirit, I almost wish I had just so that I could have been even more overjoyed in that moment that he saved me but it's all there in my testimony, I know he saved me. the moral of the story is...
Give up. Stop trying to find God. You have and always will fail. Do you realize the state of your heart? Do you realize how far gone it is? Do you realize how repulsive it is? God has to send you to hell because of how disgusting it is! But that isn't the end of course, he sent christ to die because of how horribly horrendous our hearts are. Oh gosh if you could only see your heart and how incredibly satan has ruined it and we ruin it with our own selfishness and self-centeredness. I don't say this to condemn you, espcially since I am posting two years later, but do you realize how self-centered you are? (I am going to speak as if you posted what I am responding to today). Do you realize what youre doing? YOU, meager little you with your filthy heart (sorry if that is offensive but I hope it makes you realize how far gone your heart is and how evil it is) are trying to reach god! You are trying to perform works to reach the creator of the universe! "1 Corinthians 2:14" Look it up. Our hearts are so evil. Our human spirits are so evil and so separated and removed from God that in no way shape or form can we understand ANY of the things of God unless he opens our eyes to our sinfullness. "I'm slowly getting there," you say. :) Oh it makes me smile to see that. You keep slowly getting there my friend, it will take longer than an eternity for you find God with that heart of yours. Repent repent repent! Realize the state of your heart! see it for what it is! Your wicked heart and sinfullness put Jesus christ on a cross and had him crucified! Do you realize that you did that? Repent! You can't reach God! You can't "slowly get there." That is human wisdom. We can never get there! It ain't possible. You want God so badly and that is good, but to actually think you can find him shows that you have no clue that your heart is wicked and that it can't see or understand any of the things of God. Basically, unless you realize that trying to reach God will always fail and that only he can open your eyes to your sinfullness just like he did for me when he opened my eyes to see the monster I truly was, then you won't get that salvation because you won't ever have that utterly helpless repentant heart that God so desires of you. If you realize that your reading and seeking is useless in finding God then maybe then you can be saved. But please, please, if you haven't already, please repent of your seeking God, being as prideful as to believe that you could find him! Remember 1 corinthians 2:14 and remember that only the spirit of God can understand the things of God and without it you are helpless. Well friend I hope this helped. If you are saved now then I am glad and rejoice!
| 2012/5/24 6:31||Profile|
| Re: Salvation. Seeking or Found!|
There are just a few Scriptures which explicitly define how it is that a man can measure whether he is saved or not. Those which have to do with turning away from sin. Those which have to do with what a person is able to believe. And finally those which speak of love and loving the brethren.
Turning away from sin is the most telling fact of conversion because it must include an awareness that sin is indeed sin. However, as every saint who is honest will confess, we can easily slip into sin again and may need to come to a renewed understanding of the true depth of the sinful nature we continue to have, even when we once fled from our sins with tears.
If you ask any unbeliever what it is that they believe about God and Christ they will tell you that they either don't believe at all, or that they think perhaps something about the reality of God or Jesus death may be true. What they cannot do is freely assert with conviction that God is indeed real and that Christ died for sin and was raised from the dead. Jesus said, "except you eat of my body and drink of my blood you can have no life in yourselves". In response to this some of those who heard Him declared "this is too difficult", then they stopped following the Lord. When Peter was asked, he said "you have the words of life". This distinction is everything. And its the same today.
Loving the brethren is a conclusive proof of new life. Works can be fabricated and can even be a matter of pride. But to love other saints is a real evidence of loving God and this because you have believed in His only begotten Son. A desire to be with other saints and to worship with them, speaking always about the Lord is real and conclusive.
The Scripture which speaks, "Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, Jesus is accursed; and no one can say, Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit" is the sum of what a man is able to believe and has to do with the very reality and proof of the Father having led that man to understanding Truth.
If you ask a Mormon 'who is Christ' he may well say 'Jesus is Lord' yet we know that the christ of Mormonism is not true Christ at all. The reality which lies at the back of 1 Corinthians 12:3 has to do with 'power' to believe. No unbeliever has the power to believe that Jesus is Lord, else they would not be in unbelief. By the same measure of understanding when as saints we lie or 'hide' from those we love we are exercising the power of our 'flesh'. Or if an unbeliever curses Christ, he cannot do that by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We should not trouble ourselves with fruitless distinctions neither should we become concerned about distinctions made by others. No matter who they are. Simplicity of faith is what keeps us and by it we can walk. If the Spirit draws you into a deeper understanding of the sinful flesh, then it may be to do with God desiring to make more effectual His calling and purpose in your life. This will produce a 'crisis' sometimes but it always leads to a greater liberty of the spirit to serve God according to the power of God working in you. Likewise it always leads to a greater liberty from the flesh.
| 2012/5/24 7:47|
| Re: Francis Chan|
I would recommend Francis Chan any day,his recent messages at Desiring God conferences (messages avalible on youtube search Francis Chan desiring God) was a blessing to me, he is radical and challanging to a cultural Christianity, some who say he preaches a works based salvation may not understood his message and i doubt John Piper would invite him to speak at betlehem church largest conferance if he did preach a works based salvation. He preaches simple and challenging directly to the heart of a modern generation that has largely just adopted to their forefathers religion. His messages will leave you provoked.
| 2012/5/24 12:04||Profile|
| Re: |
I think I heard Keith Daniel say in a sermon once that "you are saved by faith, not works-- but you are not saved unless your faith works."
I always thought that was a very simple distillation of the tension between faith and works.
| 2012/5/24 13:46||Profile|