WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET PEOPLE TO LIVE RIGHT?
That question seems to be the matter of greatest concern in the religious world today. I hear a great many sermons on “How to Live the Christian Life,” “Holiness,” “Obedience,” “Practical Godliness,” “Christian Fatherhood,” “Christian Motherhood” and “Family Religion.” In the book catalogs that come across my desk the largest section of books, and the most popular, are what I call “How To” books - How to be a good husband, a good wife, a good neighbor, etc.
It seems that everyone wants to be told exactly what to do in all aspects of life and how to do it. Astonishing as it may seem, grown men and women in the religious world like to be treated like toddlers. A list of rules for everyday and a gentle scolding now and then is what they want. They want someone to tell them what to do with their money, their time, their children, even their vacations! The fact is, all men by nature are legalists. All men by nature foolishly imagine that God can be put into debt to save them, or accept them, if they do enough. So they want someone to tell them what to do for God.
Preachers and religious leaders are falling over top of one another to give people what they want, constantly trying to come up with new ideas about how to get people to live for God. Instructions are given. Rules are imposed. Goals are set. Projections are made. Proposals are presented. Punishment is threatened. Rewards are promised. The presumption is, if you are going to get people to do what is right, they must be enticed by something. So pastors, and Sunday School teachers, and counselors (All of them behaving like religious cheerleaders!) constantly do what they can to entice people to live for God, trying to get lost religionists to live for Jesus! But all the cheerleading, promises and threats in the world simply will not work.
Churches are full of people who have been conned into a religious profession, a profession of godliness, who are utterly void of the knowledge of God. We live in a generation of religious people who are spiritually dead. Preachers are pulling their hair out trying to get people to live for God who do not know God. A religion that is all put on and pretense, sham and show, must be primed, pumped, pushed, and pulled to make it look like it is “on the go for the Lord.” But it is a vain, empty, useless, dead religion. It leaves poor, deluded souls in utter confusion, disappointment, and frustration. What could be more frustrating than trying to live the Christian life without Christ? If we would live for God, we must have God living in us! If God lives in a person, that person will live for God. If God does not live within you, you cannot and will not live for him.
Believers are people who, being saved by the free grace of God in Christ, seek the will of God, the honor of God, and the glory of God in all things, constrained by the greatest most powerful inspiring principle in the universe. Do you know what it is? What moves you? What motivates you? What keeps you faithful in religious activity? Every child of God has the same answer. From their hearts, those who are born of God confess - “THE LOVE OF CHRIST CONSTRAINETH US!”
Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #610
2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 606-236-8235 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org