Monday, April 1, 2013

Serving Leftovers

'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16 NASB)

Francis Chan challenges us with a concept that clearly challenges him this week: "Is there such thing as a lukewarm Christian?"  His conclusion from the Scripture above (and others like it) is clearly, "No."  How can we claim to be followers of Christ and yet live as though we are children of the devil?  "Child of the devil," you may think. "I'm a child of God, even if I do make mistakes and sin."

Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:7-10 NASB)

Doesn't Scripture say that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus?  Yes it does.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV84)

"How can sinning after I'm saved, then, make me a child of the devil?  I thought Scripture said that I'm always going to sin."  Well, this second part is not true.  It doesn't say you are always going to sin.  In fact, it says the exact opposite:

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." (1 Peter 1:14-16 NIV84)

Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:13-14 NIV84)

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation--but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. (Romans 8:12-14 NIV)

Lukewarm Christians refer to people who call themselves disciples or followers of Christ, yet sort-of follow Him - sometimes following...sometimes not.  God told a whole part of His Body (the church) that He would spit them out for living in this way.  Can we be Christians and still serve leftovers to a Holy God?  Maybe Chan isn't the only one who should be struggling through this concept.