On Sunday, the most quoted verse of the Bible was the subject of a sermon I listened online. I eagerly pricked up my ears when it came to the context of John 3 verse 16. Again I was disappointed to learn that the preacher understood parts of the gospel different from me. I like to hear, over and over again about the great love God has for us humans, but it seems to me that nowadays an essential aspect in the proclamation of the gospel is omitted:
The judgement of God over sin!
The introduction of the famous gospel verse sounds like this:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The study of the fiery serpents and the elevated brazen serpent in Numbers 21, 4 pp. is causing rather less exhilarating feelings and therefore almost always is repressed or forgotten. Eventually, we go to church to be built up emotionally, and during service time we are accustomed verbally and mentally to be in a positive mood.
Howsoever, the book of books as a template for sermons warns from the beginning to the end in numerous examples of the negative consequences of sin. Thereby, the Father made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. Even if it is getting dark in the world around us, I see Jesus lifted up and crucified on the cross, as the only begotten Son the Almighty gave, a sacrificial lamb without blemish and without spot.
Sin hiding latter tolerance thinking is of course not reconciled with the statement that he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. My concern is not to judge about these people, but the Father in heaven is so intolerant that he does not want that anyone is getting lost.
My displeasure arose more because of the indifference in the churches with respect to sin. The reason is, we feel so much loved and accepted from the Heavenly Father, that we do not fear the negative consequences of our own wrong actions. But I remember the God of Israel revealing himself at the burning bush as the “I am, who I am” or differently translated, “I will be, who I will be”. Thereat his servant Moses was almost dying on the way to Egypt since Zipporah had not circumcised their son.
Here and now the Lord does not demand of us that we circumcise our foreskins in a bloody, fleshly covenant, but he expects a spiritual circumcision of our hearts (Romans 2, 28-29 and Colossians 2, 11-13). And yet it is important to put off the old man with his sinful flesh. Galatians 5 compares aptly the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit. Now, I wouldn’t like to set up a catalogue what is allowed to do as a Christian and what is not. Our relationship with Jesus should be so strong that we hear from him if he does not like something and then leave the matter. For example, what will he tell you if you would look together your favourite movies or listen to your favourite songs.
A few years ago I saw in a dream a fellowship that watched films with violence and sex contents more like in a movie theatre than in a church service. Seeing no evil, all alert signals were ignored. A few visitors were protesting up and left until the assembly formally exploded in the impressive night vision. Especially effective for my ears was to hear after many years again and again the bells of AC/DC’s Hell’s Bells as an introduction of the whole. Something like that would not be possible in reality in the church today, right?
In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul complained about the toleration of the sexual relationship of a member of the church with the wife of his father. For him there is no doubt that this fornication must be punished. But how do we nowadays interpret fornication – sexual immorality? At least, we protect our little children of the paedophile assaults from deranged adults, but in school we preach to our pubescent teenagers that it is desirable for a healthy development to gain sexual experiences as early as possible.
Whatever the case may be, typical of faith groups who have come under the control of the cunning old serpent is no doubt that children are sexually abused under the guise of love. There are several cases made public from former sect members in the U.S. and also former friends of mine have loved each other so much in their new Christian fellowship in the Bavarian Forest, leading as a result to the breaking of their marriage covenant, since they think all are first married to Jesus. To misleading interpretations of God’s love often leads in our common parlance that the word love is not distinguished in the biblical terms of agape, eros, and philea. This is as much as to say that we can not lay claim to God’s love if we only behave in the level of sexual desire.
Now, why do I mean in the light of recent events that the much-quoted love of God is strained and mistaken with eros?
As much-reported example in the media I regard the star who bears the Hebrew Yeshua on his heart and has tattooed a portrait of Jesus on the calf. The much-loved singer is a believer and occasionally visits the service of a guest speaker of my church. Showered with awards and adored by female fans at the pool, he proclaims himself to be the king, drawing on his arm a heart of love for his beliebers. So it is no surprise to find a matching female fan with an under the skin engraved Jesus Christ heart on the arm, who holds on the secret meeting for the whole world, giggling with her cellphone.
Ever after the righteous – this is his first name translated – has separated from his famous actress girlfriend, he all the more takes the freedom to spend the night with other pretty women. Not poor, the man hired a nightclub in a private striptease show for his whole team, and after curious photographers got too intrusive, he still was observed, hidden invisible in a wrapped blanket, carried from the bodyguards out of another noble general house.
Today, no one in the family except the grandmother is surprised on Thanksgiving about a naked “I love you grandmaaa” Guitar serenade, let alone his cool pastor friend would stand up, without wasting any critical word about this type of exhibiting love. He, who wants to be popular, records the common prayer meetings on Instagram for all followers and exchanges good comprehensible kind words on Twitter. Also I don’t want to find evil at a Graffiti prayer call for the Philippines, yet I critically watch artistically presented praying hands, and all the more I hate the occult symbolism of the pentagram.
In short, the words of the Master are, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments”.
And taken together it is well known as the biggest Christian commandment to love God and also to love one’s neighbour, which never should end in fornication – sexual immorality.