The Purpose Driven Christian, part 2
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him.” I John 2:15
The previous verse was written by the Apostle John as a warning to the early church near the close of the first century. John saw that one of the weak areas of the church was allowing the philosophies of the world to influence the church.
One example of how the world was influencing God’s people was the Church of Laodicea (Rev. 3). In Henry Morris’s book, “The Revelation Record”, he wrote the following commentary of Laodicea. Please note that this was written before the Purpose Driven Church became a reality. “The Laodicean church was not one of complete apostasy; its candlestick had not been removed,…It was apparently receiving many new members. It had a large and prosperous congregation, impressive facilities, and an active program. But it sought to be neutral on controversial matters, to maintain open dialogue with both left and right, to have recognition from the mighty and the wealthy and the intelligentsia. It was not cold to the vital truths of God, his Creation, his Word-but neither would it take a firm stand and proclaim a true witness.” Sadly, they were most showy and rich in many ways, but the Lord told them they were poor and blind and naked.
Spurgeon tells us that in his day there was a movement very much like the Purpose Driven churches. The movement was called “Modernism”. Read how Spurgeon describes it:
“I fear there are some who preach with the view of amusing men, and as long as people can be gathered in crowds, and their ears can be tickled, and they can retire pleased with what they have heard, the orator is content, and folds his hands, and goes back self-satisfied. But Paul did not lay himself out to please the public and collect the crowd. If he did not save them he felt that it was of no avail to interest them. Unless the truth had pierced their hearts, affected their lives, and made new men of them, Paul would have gone home crying, "Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?”
Let’s not forget that this movement, as it grew, eventually produced men like Harry Fosdick who would reject the inerrancy of Scripture, the blood atonement, the deity of Christ and so on. The Purpose Driven Church is on the same course.
On page 11 of the “Purpose Driven Christian”, Warren states that “Real spiritual growth is never an isolated, individualistic pursuit”. What examples does the Bible have in regards to this?
· When Joseph was in Egypt, he did not have someone to bounce things off of, but he was one of the greatest examples in Scripture.
· Moses was isolated as a Shepard, being prepared by God to lead a nation out of bondage. When Moses was with God for forty days at Mt. Sinai he grew mightily.
· David grew spiritually as a Shepard, alone at night, gazing upon the stars and thinking about how the heavens declare the glory of God.
· Who was with John the Baptist when he was growing spiritually in the desert?
· Who was with Paul when he was being trained by the Lord?
The point to be made is that some of our greatest spiritual moments of growth are when we are isolated with God. That is not to say that spiritual growth does not also take place with fellow believers, because it does. One should never state that something cannot happen when it has been demonstrated in scripture many times.
On page 58 Warren invites the reader to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior, but the gospel is watered down and not complete. God’s word tells us:
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God had raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13
After reading what God says, it needs to be more than just “Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you.” Through my experience in church ministry I have seen with my own eyes and at one time did the very thing of getting people to say these words and if they meant it they were saved. This is not to say that some people could actually get saved, but it is not the example from scripture and would later cause people not to fully understand salvation and die thinking they were saved.
The Rich Young Ruler
In Luke 18:18-23 a certain ruler came to Jesus asking how he might gain eternal life. Jesus referred him to the Ten Commandments, not because he could live by them, but that he would see that he could not live by them. When the ruler replied that he had kept them since his youth, Jesus saw that not only was he prideful, but his riches were blinding him. As the scripture reveals to us, the ruler walked away because Jesus had brought to light his problem.
The point to be made is this: Would ministries like Rick Warren’s and what is being taught at these conferences have been able to give the same advice or would they receive him and only see his gifts in who he was? I hope that our church would respond the same as our Lord. What did Jesus mean when he said “follow me”? The Lord said that if a seed does not die, it cannot produce fruit. What did he mean when he said in Luke 9:23, “Deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me?”
· Deny Himself - The Greek word used here, “Aparneomail” means to disown, to have nothing to do with. We should put no trust in ourselves for anything in the area of salvation. It is in Christ alone.
· Take up his cross daily - The cross in Jesus’ time was a symbol of cruel death for common criminals. Are you and I willing, each day, to die for the Savior? A friend of our family once told a group of ladies that she purposes to have a funeral service for herself each day. How about you?
· Follow me - This is where we start taking every area of our lives and lining them under the obedience of Christ. For example: When it comes to capital punishment, it doesn’t matter what we think, but only what God says in His word concerning this issue. It’s not our opinion, but, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts.”
Testimony from Saddleback Church
A missionary friend of ours actually went to several meetings at Saddleback Church and reported the following:
· The programs were designed like T.V. Guide.
· Many of the people who came wore the attire of those who were on their way to the beach or to a park. What you wear has an effect on how you feel!
· Most people did not bring their Bibles to church. This was because of the confusion of several versions being used during the sermon.
· The music was the same as a nightclub act. The people were being entertained, not admonished, as found in Col. 3:16.
Remember, the scriptures warn that in the end times, that if it were possible, the elect of God might be fooled. This will come from ministries that will look doctrinally sound, but they will cause many to err from the faith.
I do not attack things that are done which are good, only the things that can bring destruction. To those who read this, please understand that we are to be good Bereans (Acts17:10-11). In these times of apostasy, one needs to check all things through Scripture.
“…in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11