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The New Year’s Honours List – Would Jesus Have Made It?

31 December 2013 No Comment

This morning I studied the New Year’s Honours List with great interest.new year honours

I was hoping to spot an evangelist.  No such luck.

What about a Christian working in another sphere, other than evangelism?

It’s too hard to tell just by studying the list.

I don’t know which of the people honoured are genuine Christians. Only God knows.

From the brief descriptions of each recipient, the closest I could see was someone we’ve all heard of called ” Jacqueline Nuki McVinnie, Hamilton, for services to ecclesiastical embroidery.”

Mmmmmm………..

I was looking for overt Christian descriptions  like “Pastor Jones, for services to the AOG movement and his community” or “The Reverend Smith, for services to the Presbyterian Church and his community” or “Matt Old, for services to Christian Evangelism”.

No,  they were just not there.

Would Jesus have made it onto the list if he was a Kiwi, carrying out His ministry in 2013?

Definitely not.  Why?

There are a number of reasons, and here are three of them:

1. Jesus would not make the New Year’s Honours List because those picking the people to beLost theologically honoured are lost and perishing.  This being so, their criteria for selection issues out of  their fallen minds.

Only from enlightened minds can come enlightened critieria.

To those in a lost, fallen world, anyone who promotes / publishes or proclaims the certain truths is automatically out of contention for selection on the New Year’s Honours list. What are these truths?

  • the truth that the Bible is the literal and inerrant Word of God
  • the truth that all people outside of a saving relationship with Christ are lost and must repent
  • the truth of personal sin
  • the truth of the wrath to come
  • the truth that there is only one way to God
  • the truth that Christianity is the Truth and all other religions are false
  • the truth that there is a real and literal hell and heaven
  • the truth that hell is a place of conscious eternal torment
  • the truth that the world was created and not the result of a big bang
  • the truth that God punishes and exhibits wrath
  • the truth that the way to heaven is narrow

These are the core aspects of Christianity that the world cannot and will not swallow.

These are just some of the hard saying of Jesus.

These truths are at the epicentre of the Christian gospel.

Yet these are the parts of Christianity those outside of Christ brand as foolish.

“The things of God are foolishness to those who are perishing.” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

2. Jesus would not make the New Year’s Honours List because today’s society would hate Him.

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).

I hate this guyHowever we define “hate”,  the fact remains, the world, generally speaking, wants to strip out the hard sayings of Jesus from Christianity.

It was the hard sayings of Jesus that caused the world to hate Him.

Just look at our high schools – religion has been banished. In primary schools, Bible in schools is under threat. Only 5% of our population attend a church regularly.

At issue are the hard sayings of Jesus.

If a whole bunch of Christians who were known to promote the hard sayings of Jesus were peppered through the honours list, this would be seen to be encouraging something the Bible says the lost want to suppress (Romans 1:8).

So encouraging those who believe, publish, and proclaim the hard sayings of Jesus is the last thing the world wants to do.

3. Jesus would not make the New Year’s Honours List because He did much more than good works. 

When one studies the New Year’s Honours list, it’s obvious those doing the selecting want to encourage (and honour) people in NZ who do good works.

If Jesus had only done good works, He would certainly made it to the top of the List.

This is the point.  He didn’t just do good works.

geniune ChristianityGenuine Christianity is much more than simply doing good works or being a goodie goodie.

Genuine Christianity (and genuine Christians) engage in good works but combine them with proclaiming the hard sayings of Jesus i.e the gospel.  This is the Biblical balance. This is what Jesus did.

For this reason,  Jesus’ preaching didn’t unite the community but divided it.

He was a Sword.  He cut and thrust and disturbed the world with His hard sayings.

“I did not come to bring peace but a sword” (Matthew 10:34)

Out of a heart of love, He called people sinners, hyprocrites, and snakes, tipped over tables, warned of hell and eternal punishment, branded all other religions false, promoted a narrow way, announced that all those outside of a saving relationship with Christ were lost and needed to repent, and that they must be born again etc.

If you were one of the people selecting those to be honoured on the New Year’s List, and because of His hard sayings, Jesus would definitely NOT be the guy you’d want on the list! About Him, you might say things like:

  • He’s much too confrontational!
  • He makes everyone feel uncomfortable!
  • He’s divisive!
  • He’s intimidating!
  • He’s narrow and bigotted!
  • He offends people!
  • He’s sooooo un-pc!
  • He doesn’t seem to care what people think of Him!
  • He’s upset a lot of people!

Why does the world so love “a good works only” Christianity?

Because such a brand of Christianity (if it can be called the hard sayings of JesusChristianity) has stripped out the hard sayings of Jesus.

And why is so much of today’s Church so in love with “a good works only” Christianity, and so ashamed of proclaiming / publishing in public the hard sayings of Jesus? i.e. proclaiming the gospel.

Here are some possible reasons:

  • Are many of the people in today’s Church not really saved at all, but perishing?
  • By being a good works only Church, and dumping the hard sayings of Jesus, are we trying to curry favour with the world?
  • As such, have we lost our saltiness and has our light gone out?
  • Are we as leaders afraid of challenging people in our churches about evangelism?  That is to say, if we challenge them about participating in evangelism, they might leave and we’d lose their vital tithe?
  • Has the world so evangelised us that we have become like it?  That is to say, instead of changing the world have we taken on what it likes and doesn’t like? Have we, like the people who select  those on the New Year’s Honours List, grown to dislike, even distain, the hard sayings of Jesus? Has the world trained us to like only what they like?  Have they groomed us to become a good works only Church, and we have succumbed?

do no conformPaul the Apostle warns us to guard against this threat when he says “Do not be conformed to this world….”

Who would be on Jesus’ New Year’s Honours List?

That’s a good question.

Quite probably very very few of those on the list published in the New Zealand Herald today.

His criteria is completely different.

So what’s His criteria?

In John 14:21 He says “He who has these commands of mine, and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. And he who loves me will also be loved by my father and I also will love him and show myself to him.”

Jesus is going to hand out honours (i.e. crowns etc) according to the extent of our obedience to Him commands.

And what is the chief command of Jesus?

To evangelise the world (dare I say it, not our ecclesiastical embroidery).

And what’s evangelism?  It’s the spread or proclamation of the  gospel.

And embedded inside this gospel are all the hard sayings of Jesus.

To read more about how scholars have come to the conclusion that the evangelisation of the world is Jesus’ chief concern, click here

Jesus would be looking for people who are combining radical good works with radical proclamation of the gospel.

As you contemplate 2014, what about becoming a person who regularly spreads or proclaims the gospel?

A person who fights to not only preserve but publish / proclaim the hard sayings of Jesus?

And person who encourages your pastor and your church to do the same?

Two things are certain – if you take up evangelism, you will never make it on the New Year’s Honours List, for the reasons I have listed,  but you will feature on the I am living each day with the hope ETERNAL HONOURS LIST!

You can look forward to meeting Jesus face to face and Him saying to you “Well done, good and faithful servant”

For a Christian, that’s ultimately what life is all about.

P.S when Mother Teresa died, 147 heads of state attended her funeral.

I am a great fan of Mother Teresa because whatever you think of her theology, she demonstrated one aspect of Christian life that is so lacking in my own life – radical self sacrifice over a sustained period of time, and radical self denial.

But mark this, if she had proclaimed the gospel, as I have described it here, her funeral and public exposure would have been tiddly. That’s a fact.

The gospel is the bit in Christianity that those who select those for New Year’s Honours find just so unpallatable.

Therefore, it’s the bit all true believers must fight for / publish / proclaim with all our might, soul, and strength.

 Now there’s something to think about….

 

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