Saturday, February 23, 2013
The following video was shared with me, and I felt it kind of summed up my thoughts in this area. It is a short documentary about the ministry of a woman referred to as "The Preacher Lady of Riverdale, GA". At one point in the video, the minister, Mary James, is speaking to a man in his car, asking him if he is saved. He replies, "Nah, I ain't saved baby." Now, I have to admit that this put me off. Not that he called her baby, but that she didn't correct him. How can you have a sober conversation with someone about the Lord when they are calling you "Baby"?
Folks, saving souls is serious business. The things of God command respect & honor because He is holy. If we do not understand this, then how can we expect anyone to take us - or God - seriously? I honestly cannot picture the Apostles ignoring someone calling them, "Pimp" or "Dog" while they are trying to lead them to Christ. Nonetheless, she asks the young man to repeat after her as she proceeds to recite a sinner's prayer, which he does. Then she says, "It's just that simple. Welcome to the family of God."
Friends, nothing could be farther from the truth. I don't care what words you recite, if you are not drawn by the Holy Spirit of God to have a heartfelt change through repentance from sin - and are walking in that truth daily - then you are not saved. You cannot come to faith in Jesus Christ apart from such brokenness (repentance). Where in Scripture does it talk about "inviting Jesus into your heart"? What does that even mean?
I am not against street preaching. We are commanded by Jesus to go into all the world and proclaim the good news; even from the highways to the byways, compelling people to come to Jesus. However, if our works (preaching on the street, writing on a blog, giving a sermon in church, feeding the hungry, etc.) are not inspired by the Lord, then they are all dead works. It is just that simple. The evidence that a work is born of God is that it generates life in the hearer.
"...I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."John 10:10b
Further, if God calls us for a work, then He will prepare us for it and it will be fruitful. It will prosper to accomplish His purposes because God is performing the work through you. I am not talking about worldly standards of success. In fact, just look to Gideon's army as an example of how God prospers (Judges Chapter 7). His ways are often counter to the ways of the world; He chooses what looks foolish to the world in order to confound the wisdom of the wise. This way, it will be known that God alone - and not flesh - has performed it. My point is that you can have lots of activity, speak really loudly, possess lots of zeal, use lots of charisma, have lots of supporters...and still be promoting nothing but a dead work.
Look around you on the streets today. People are spiritually dead and they are continuously feeding on death by partaking of the things of the world. Even in many churches, people sit bound while the minister yells, screams, tunes ups, and squalls...only to have them leave in the same condition (or worse) then when they came. This is salvation??
People need the life of Jesus Christ to transform them, but who has that life within in order to share it with them? If we are not literally imparting the power of the life of Christ to others, then what are we doing really? And this pertains to everything that we do. What are we really doing? Are we just going through the motions of religion or are we truly being led and fed by the Spirit of God? Do we even desire to be?
"For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death worketh in us, but life in you." II Corinthians 4:11-12
By the way, by no means do I intend to hold this woman up to ridicule. She is doing more than many others who claim to believe. However, possessing the life of Christ within is about more than activity and emotion. You can be sincere in your efforts and still be sincerely wrong. When you are looking at people bound by grief, addiction, idolatry, sickness, perversion...religion is just a woefully poor substitute. It takes more than a sinner's prayer and a pep talk about love to convert a soul. It takes the power of a Living God; a power which slams into our very being, confronts us with the truth, and brings us to naught when we finally see ourselves for who we really are before a holy God: a wretched soul in need of a Savior. This is the power that saves souls, and this is the power which needs to be at work in us if we are His witnesses.
"Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known." Psalm 106:8
UPDATE: This article explains why the message being taught in the video is so misleading.