Who Ya Gonna Please?
by Larry White March 3,1988
I. Is God’s existence unbelievable?
God’s existence is logical.
The FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation) say that, “Atheists are free thinkers.” Right! Atheists are actually “non-thinkers.” Theirs is the most indefensible position man in his arrogance has ever taken – that there is no God. The Bible calls them fools. (Psa.14:1)
If the existence of God is so obvious and logical – then why don’t some people believe it?
Because there is a moral basis to faith
“He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are worked in God.”
God’s existence is not unbelievable. The testimony of Jesus Christ in the Bible is not unbelievable. The problem stems from a choice each man has made within himself even before he hears about Christ – it is a moral choice. “Am I going to do what is right and seek the truth, or am I going to do what pleases me whether or not it is good or evil?”
The good soul who seeks the truth will not rest until he finds and realizes the perfection of that truth and goodness – and so will naturally come to Christ, the embodiment of truth and the ultimate good.
The person who is primarily interested in what pleases himself will not love the truth especially when that light exposes what he loves most as the evil it is.
The Atheists and some scientists who reject the idea of a God, do so against all reason and do so because – being held morally accountable to a God, would spoil all their fun. Their unbelief is based upon a moral choice they have already made, which lies behind all their thoughts and actions.
II. Applying this to the Doctrine of Christ.
In the first century they had Jewish Christians going about teaching Gentile Christians that they had to keep the law and be circumcised to be saved. But in Acts the fifteenth chapter when the Apostles discussed this matter, they said that they had never commanded anyone to teach that doctrine.
But if Christ didn’t command it, then why did they believe and teach it? Again, there’s a moral basis to faith. Am I going to do what is right and true, or am I going to do what pleases me or what pleases other men? These professed Christians were out to please men and glory in the flesh and each other’s estimation.
“You see with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand? As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.”
But here’s Paul’s attitude:
“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. For I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
III. Applying this to ourselves:
Paul warns Timothy, a young preacher, to preach the sound doctrine, because there will be some who will grow tired of it.
“I charge you therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be prepared in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure healthy teaching; but after their own lusts they will heap to themselves teachers, tickling the ear; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
But notice the reason why they will turn from the doctrine – because of their own lusts and desires, and they will go out and find a teacher who preaches it just like they want to hear it.
This is where all these denominations in our community came from. Most have made a moral choice to please themselves and to please those who hear them. If you don’t like what the Bible says, then you can find a preacher who will ignore the passage that disturbs you – and he’ll never teach it to you again. Now wouldn’t that be nice? Even if he accidentally reads over it in a sermon text, he’ll gloss over it for you and won’t refer to what it really means. But the Bible doesn’t change by ignoring what it says.
“He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father, which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and how I should say it. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatever I speak therefore, even as the Father said to me, so I speak.”
So what should be the position of the church of the Lord here where we are? Who are we trying to please? Who are we serving?
“But, all the churches around here are doing it”
So? We serve the Lord, Jesus Christ and not ourselves.
“Yeah, I know the Bible says it, but if we teach this or that doctrine, then all the churches of Christ in the area will brand us as an unsound congregation.”
So? We serve Jesus Christ as our Lord and head of the church, and we do not countenance the person of any man or any group of men. We don’t fear men. We’ve made a moral choice, to walk in the light of God’s revealed truth and not care what men may think or say about it.
Therefore consider what choice you have made and be aware of it. Either seek the approval of men and please yourself, or seek the truth and please God.
Like Jesus, God has given us a commandment, what we should say and how we should say it. To be saved, a person must believe that Jesus Christ in the son of God and that he died for his sins. He must confess that belief before men. He must repent of his life of sin. Then he must be immersed in water for the remission of his sins.
That’s God’s commandment, not ours, and not that of a man-made church. And we know that his commandment is life everlasting.