Nov 13, 2011

Avoiding a Divided House

“‘Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.’” ~Matt 12:25


Today, many people have the strange idea that in order to share the gospel, one has to become like one’s audience. Most of the time, this entails dressing in all the latest fashions, speaking the common slang, and listening to the music that’s at the top of the charts for the month. Of course, other evangelizers have the opposing idea that in order to get the full message into people’s heads, one must only talk of the fire and brimstone to come in order to scare people into repentance. Still others merely say, “Jesus loves you” and treat that as sharing the gospel. Sadly, all these ways are wrong. Yes we are to be in the world, but not of the world. But we are not to just speak fire and brimstone either. The message of the Cross is about resurrection and though they need to first know that they were dead in their sins, we bring hope, not fear. Finally, the message of the Cross is much deeper and needs much more attention than just “Jesus loves you.” I bring this all up to make a point from the verse above: “Every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” Most of the time we think about the clearer meaning of this passage: that we shouldn’t fight or argue, but as with all Scripture, there is, I believe, another layer of meaning.

Psalm 119 is a meditation that has a central recurring theme: how precious God’s law is to His sheep. Over and over, the verses speak of a longing and desire for God’s righteous judgments and precepts. This should be our focus as well. However, the moment we add the foolishness of the world and the sins of the flesh to our “evangelistic methods,” or incorporate mistruths or partial truths to our faith, our house begins to waver. Just like the parable of the man who builds his house on the rock, when we make Christ our Cornerstone and the Word our foundation, we will not be overcome no matter how fierce the waters rage. Yet the moment we replace Him with a block of worldly wisdom and foolish philosophy and make the base of our house out of sinful behavior and thoughts, the Lord will send the waters our way and our house will crumble to the ground. Hide God’s Word in your heart; reject all that is ungodly. I do not say reject the world, for to do so would be to reject the field that is waiting to be harvested. But do not desire to become one of those unharvested stalks. Rather rejoice that you have been beaten and sifted out and look instead to the Lord and desire to become like Him. Live in the world, minister to the world, and even do some of the same things as the world. For it is not that things here on earth are all sinful and worthy of our reproach, but that when our focus is linked to those things and not to the Lord, then it is sinful. We can dress in the latest fashions, but we must dress modestly and not make our looks our idol or even a “tool” to reach others. We can speak the common slang as long as it is God honoring speech. We can listen to popular music as long as it is redeeming and directs us to focus more on the Lord. Always ask yourself these two questions: “Does this add to my witness for Christ?” and “Does this add to the spiritual growth of both myself and others?” I apologize if this is a little unclear, but I hope you understand the point I am trying to make. Make the Word your foundation and do not mix it with the sinful ways of the flesh, or your house will assuredly be divided.

Your brother in Christ,


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