::9september03::

Counterfeits . . .
so i heard this really good message yesterday on counterfeits . . .
and the difference between Monopoly counterfeits and "professional" counterfeits . . .
all this relating, of course, to false prophets and teachings . . .
and, as i see it, the greatest deception that i see these days . . .
it the idea that as long as your intentions are pure, you'll get into Heaven . . .
as long as you did it for the right reasons . . .
as long as you did it in Jesus' name . . .
well, that sounds so nice and fair . . .
the problem is, that it's false . . .

"Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven."
- Matthew 7:21 (NIV, emphasis added)

see, that's the key . . .
the will of the Father is not our will . . .
it wasn't even Jesus' will when he was man . . .

"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'"
- Matthew 26:39 (NIV, emphasis added)

why is it then that we would think that doing what we will . . .
regardless of how earnest or well-intentioned it is . . .
could possibly be the will of the Father and gain us admission into heaven . . .
i've heard many pastors talk about aligning our will with that of the Father's . . .
again, not even Jesus, the perfect and sinless man . . .
had a will aligned with the Father's. . .
how, then can i, a failing and sinful man, achieve what He did not? . . .
why do so many believe that having good intentions is good enough?
three reasons come to my mind . . .

  1. it sounds good . . .
  2. it sounds close to the truth . . .
  3. we choose not to believe that we have a sinful nature . . .

and that leads nicely into my discussion on our sinful nature . . .
so why not just dig right in, shall we? . . .
it has become pretty obvious to me that from birth. . .
we are inflicted with the desires of a sinful nature . . .
many say we have a time of innocence before we are accountable for our actions . . .
they say, we do not suffer from the affliction of sin's war within . . .
i don't buy it . . .
i might have at one time . . .
but now, i see the garden of eden played out in my family room . . .
every time i tell my little boy (who isn't even a year old yet) . . .
not to open the drawers on the entertainment center . . .
funny how, he immediately goes to open the drawers anyway . . .
or how he goes into the one corner that has cords he's not supposed to touch . . .
how he cries if you take a toy away . . .
how he gets angry when you move him away from the "forbidden fruit" . . .
and you can't convince me that he doesn't understand . . .
he's sinful . . .
he suffers with selfishness and pride . . .
he struggles to impose his will instead of mine . . .
and the importance of realizing this . . .
is that it increases the urgency of sharing my faith with him . . .
while he may not understand if i explain it verbally to him yet . . .
he does understand my actions . . .
and he mimicks them . . .
but i'm getting sidetracked . . .
at one time i would have believed that we weren't born with a sinful nature . . .
i would have reasoned that we were made in God's image . . .
and God is obviously not sinful . . .
therefore we cannot be born sinful . . .
so how now do i reconcile this? . . .
(now i have to be very careful with my words) . . .
i'll start off with a statement that will probably strike you the wrong way . . .
and then i'll try to explain what i mean . . .
and hopefully i won't blaspheme in the process . . .
God has the potential to be sinful . . .
more specifically, certain traits that make up God's character . . .
when passed on to mankind, become sinful and perverse . . .
keep in mind that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all loving . . .
and being thus, He cannot and will not sin . . .
in fact, as a pefect being, He cannot even tolerate sin . . .
nor can sin enter His presence . . .
okay, now, specific examples . . .

  1. God desires what he does not have.
  2. this is mentioned several times in scripture . . .
    specifically in Christ's parables . . .
    "Does he not leave the ninetynine in open country and go look for the lost sheep?"
    does he not say "Rejoice with me! I have found my lost sheep/coin/son"? . . .
    some key differences between how this characteristic is revealed in mankind . . . .
    and how it is revealed in God . . .

    First, to God these things are "lost" . . .
    because they are still technically His . . .
    He created us all . . .
    He rules over us all (whether we admit it or not) . . .
    when we as humans desire what we do not have . . .
    it is not lost to us, it simply is not ours . . .

    Second, God desires the lost because it will be better for them . . .
    we desire what we don't have because we think it will be better for us . . .
    what i mean by that is this . . .
    God wants the lost sheep because it is better for the sheep to be in the flock . . .
    as opposed to being alone in the wild with no protection or comfort . . .
    He longs to improve the situation of the lost . . .
    On the other hand, we hope that by acquiring the lost . . .
    it will improve our situation . . .
    we generally have no regard for the lost other than what they can do for us . . .

  3. God desires to be revered.
  4. God made the angels, the world, and us all to glorify Him . . .
    God has that right, being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent . . .
    we also desire to be revered . . .
    we desire power . . .
    the difference, is that God has power . . .
    we seek it out of jealousy . . .
    often times the power we gain is at the expense of others . . .

hmmm . . .
i've kinda lost my train of thought . . .
and i'm not entirely sure where to go from here, anyway . . .
so i'll let that set a bit, and see what happens . . .