Friday, February 8, 2013

Comfort- The BIGGEST Golden Calf

And the LORD said to me, "Amos, what do you see?" And I said, "A plumb line." Then the Lord said, "Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass by them; 
(Amos 7:8 ESV)

It's been awhile since I've written, but maybe God has used this time to coalesce several recent events, both personal and national.  If they seem to be disparate thoughts, please be patient.

EVENT 1: On January 10, just days before President Obama's second inauguration, the White House announced that Louis Giglio, a world-renowned preacher and Christian leader had withdrawn from giving the benediction at the ceremony.  This was in response to a national outcry over a sermon Rev. Giglio had given in the 1990s on homosexuality.  In his sermon, Giglio states clearly (and correctly) that homosexuality is sin.  And this is enough to have him declared a bigot, anti-gay, and likely more colorful names in the LGBT community.

It should be noted that Giglio was originally invited because of his long influence and leadership in the fight against human trafficking and slavery; an issue that is apparently less important than sexual "freedom."

EVENT 2: I attended a funeral yesterday at an absolutely beautiful funeral home.  The staff was extremely gracious, the grounds immaculate, and the atmosphere warm and inviting, if I can use that word regarding a funeral home :).

Of all the sub-events occurring during the main event, the only truly offensive thing I witnessed was the funeral "sermon", and please note the intentional use of quotation marks here.  The "preacher" gave passing, out-of-context mention to several Scripture passages, all the while waxing on and on and on about "God's loving arms" and the importance of love and so forth.

Why was this offensive to me?

Because the message was clearly delivered that God desires people to love their grandchildren and be good citizens more than He desires faith, holiness, or devotion to Him.  In short it was a false gospel of false hope.

It was the gospel of comfort. 

For the record, I did not know the deceased well.  For all I know he had given his life to Christ and lived a life that truly glorified Him.  But if this was mentioned at all I missed it.  The only goal during the "sermon" was to make the attendees feel good.  To make them feel more comfortable after the passing of their loved one.  This man made sure that he did not violate the gospel of comfort.  This was truly unfortunate because I've witnessed enough funerals now to know that you can speak truth AND comfort, for our God IS the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-5), and peace and happiness do not need to be at odds with the truth of the gospel.

Conversely, the aforementioned Giglio snub happened because he violated the gospel of comfort.  Those who enjoy their sin don't want to hear about it being sin, yet they want to believe in a God who loves them.  So they must twist or ignore God's word to make it more palatable.  In other words, if I don't like what God has to say, I will ignore it or twist it into something I do want to hear, and thus feel comfortable that God loves me and that all is well.

Our culture is so much like the culture of Israel during the time of the prophet Amos.  Throughout his book in the Old Testament, we see a struggle between a culture that ignores God but tells itself that they are following Him and the prophet who clearly pronounces judgment on them based on what God has to say.  Long story short- it does not go well for Israel.  And the time is coming when it won't go well for us either.

Please.  PLEASE.  Take time right now to ask yourself if you are aligned to God, or if you have tried to align God to you.  In Amos 7, the prophet actually refers to a plumb line, or instrument to indisputably measure vertical straightness.  This plumb line is God's Word.  This plumb line is Christ.

How do you measure up?