Examining Biblical Scripture

Jesus is not Popular

God is Love but we are called to Love God, not to dwell on His love for Us

If you’re in a huge crowd of Jesus worshippers, I would LOVE to think it is a sign of revival or at least of exponential growth. Instead I think sadly, that it does not necessarily mean Jesus is present or is even being worshipped. The truth of the matter is, Jesus is not, was not popular.

More and more, the love of GOD is being preached. But while that is comforting, reassuring, and true, it is also misleading because the Gospel is the Son of God coming to earth, out of love for us. He came for us, but he preached responsibility, holiness, and righteousness with the Father, which is not being preached in every church today. It should be.

It is true that self-righteousness has been rife in the Church, which has been condemning, often cruel. That needs to be amended. But as that is preached against, and rightly so, there must be righteousness, a standard to be reached in order to please GOD. Instead, we are being sold a popular Jesus, who is the Son of God in name only, but not in character or message.

Jesus said love God, and love your neighbour as yourself 

As we love GOD the Father, Jehovah by name, we do not wish to sin or to cheapen his son’s sacrifice. As we dwell on the love of the Father, it is meant to reassure us and convict us of our sinfulness, so that we can ask for forgiveness and seek holiness.

Jesus said, “go and sin no more” to the woman caught in adultery. He did not say, “I love you and you are forgiven and you can fellowship with me with no responsibility at all.” He hated the Pharisees who were themselves self-righteous and put heavy yokes on the Jewish people. But instead, he died and stood in the gap for Sin so that we could be forgiven and walk in holiness. He even sent the Holy Spirit to equip us to walk in that holiness.

Loving GOD

As we recognise God’s love for us, we are called to love Him first. The love of the neighbour is to follow. If we only receive His love but do not honour Him, we cheapen the death and resurrection of His son, and cheapen His love for us.

We love Him because He first loved us, implies love. Not a mushy sort of verbal expression of love, but a love born of obedience and the desire to follow Him.

It’s all about Jesus; we’ve instead made the Gospel all about us. To quote a super Matt Redman song,

“It’s all about you, Jesus

And all this is for you,

For your glory and your fame

It’s not about me, as it you should do it my way

You alone are God* and I surrender to your will.”

*Splitting hairs as to the identity of Jesus, being God or the Son of God is for another time.

Reflections and Poetry

Render unto Caesar: a reflection

Righteous doesn’t always mean willing.

I would never, and have never, cheated on my taxes. In fact, I was a waitress in university and colleagues used to ask me,

“Please don’t declare your tips because the government will come after the rest of us.”

But I declared my tips.

This even before I was a practicing Believer.

I didn’t drink under age… not because I’d get into trouble if I did, nor because I thought it was unhealthy or untasty, but simply because it was illegal.

I was a stickler for the law.

So, I’ve never cheated on my taxes. But in my heart, I have resented having to pay, sometimes. And so, I confess, I’ve been a bit double-minded about it and I think spiritually, have held back my own financial progress because of it.

Finally, recently, I decided to pray to overcome this poor attitude about taxes.

I was led in my private prayer time to one simple verse,

“ And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”” (Luke 20:25)

I share this with you for two reasons:

  1. To confess and to reveal that God convicts, heals and restores
  2. To encourage the reader that, if there is something of taxes or similar – paying for a service for example – that financially is a stumbling block, be aware, be released and overcome

I am free to pay my taxes now. I always have, but while the Lord loves a cheerful giver when it comes to offerings and gifts, I think that can even include taxes.

The government needs its income. I’ve struggled since leaving my homeland with the idea of paying foreign governments their dues. I’ve always done so, but sometimes reluctantly. But I’ve learned. And so, to those to whom this message might relate or convict, it’s okay. We love, we learn, we grow… and we pay when the owe.