If You Don’t Care for the Poor, You Don’t Understand the Gospe

Karl Marx famously called Christianity the opiate of the people, but I think it’s actually the smelling salts. Because when you really understand God’s grace, you wake up to injustice, and you are moved by compassion.

The reverse is true as well: When you are blind to the needs of the poor, it raises the question of whether or not you’ve actually ever believed the gospel, because you are unaware of your own pressing need for God’s merciful attention to you in your sin.

A failure to show concern for the poor shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel.

When the prophet Amos confronted the nation of Israel about their neglect and oppression of the poor, the excuses they gave may sound familiar to us today.

First, the Israelites said, “But we are God’s chosen people” (Amos 3:2). In other words, “We’re forgiven; we’re God’s favorites.” But God responded, “That makes your sin even worse! You not only knew me as lawgiver; you knew me as Father and Redeemer. To whom much is given, much will surely be required.”

Then they tried their second excuse: “Our religious zeal makes up for our moral shortcomings” (Amos 5:21). At this point in their history, Israel went to church all the time and put on a bunch of feasts. But God responded, “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.”

We use the same excuses today when we fail to show a concern for the poor: “Well, thank God that he accepts us by grace!” or “We’re not perfect, just forgiven.”

But we can’t excuse ourselves with grace. If we’ve really been forgiven, we’ll be more passionate about caring for the poor and fighting injustice, not less. Forgiveness is not a license to avoid these things. It’s a catalyst to drive us deeper into these things.

Amos 6:1 says, “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion”—those who are playing through life when so many around them are suffering.

Charles Spurgeon identified three groups that are “at ease in Zion”:

Continue at: https://jdgreear.com/blog/dont-care-poor-dont-understand-gospel/

You’re Bored with Jesus; Here’s Why

~ Greear

Do you often feel dry spiritually? Or just cold? Like something is missing?

Many people have been Christians since they were little. They are well versed in the facts and stories of the Bible, but they are no longer captivated by them.

Others are just bored with Jesus. There’s no passion in their lives. They go through the motions, but they don’t want to read the Bible and pray on their own. They don’t really feel anything when they worship.

Why have we gotten bored with Jesus? Why do we feel cold toward the gospel? And how do we fix it?

Almost all of our spiritual problems come from a lack of sight, because what we know with our minds has never been felt with our hearts.

We don’t need new facts about Jesus to make him interesting. We simply need to have the eyes of our hearts enlightened to the truth we already know.

When God grants us spiritual sight, he takes the doctrines of the gospel we understand with our minds and makes them burst alive with sweetness in our hearts. We come to know them as real, personal, and felt. And the only thing that can yield that in our lives is prayer.

Read more: https://jdgreear.com/blog/four-cures-spiritual-blindness/

What Is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?

~ Pastor J.D.

Shortly after the release of Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved, I began seeing a surge in the number of questions about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit—often called the “unpardonable sin.” I deal with that in the book, but it has proven to be such a persistent question that I thought I’d address it here as well. Enjoy.

–Pastor J.D.

The idea of “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” comes from the Gospels, where Jesus calls this a sin for which there is no forgiveness (Luke 12:10, cf. Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:29). Unfortunately, Jesus does not spell out definitively what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit means. It would have cleared things up if he had said, “Whoever says these specific words or does this specific act, they sure are in for it. No grace for them.” Alas, he did not.

Continue: https://jdgreear.com/blog/blasphemy-holy-spirit/

You Aren’t the Good Samaritan

In the story of the Good Samaritan, there comes a point where Jesus turns the religious man’s question on its head. The conversation started with a law expert asking Jesus what a person could do to inherit eternal life. Of course, if you know anything about the life and teaching of Jesus, you know the whole point of his coming was that we could not save ourselves, so he came to save us.

Which is why Jesus puts an interesting twist into the story.

Continue: https://jdgreear.com/blog/arent-good-samaritan/

Hell Is the Default Destination

Hell Is the Default Destination

Most people assume that as long as they don’t mess things up in their time here on earth, they’ll go to heaven when they die. But Scripture says the opposite. God created us for heaven, but the rebellion of the human race, in which we are all participating, has destined us for hell.

Hell, not heaven, is our default destination.

Read more: http://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/301595-hell-default-destination-jd-greear.html

Loving Your Neighbor Means Giving Yourself

There is a particular temptation that many churches in America face today. Like the priest and the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan, we’re all into religious duties—reading the Bible, tithing (or something close to tithing), volunteering, going to small group. But for many of us, when we look at our lives, there’s very little giving away of ourselves.

Jesus referred to this in Matthew 23:23 when he said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others” (ESV).

When we emphasize the marginal but neglect the essential—loving people—we have become the Pharisees.

In the same story, Jesus gave us an example for how we should love our neighbors. That example was the Samaritan, a man who showed us the “who,” “when,” and “how much” of loving our neighbors.

1. Who is our neighbor?

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Four truths that shape the way we view baptism