Sunday, November 25, 2012

TRIVIA!


According to the Oxford Dictionary the word ‘trivia’ has to do with ‘details, considerations, or pieces of information of little importance or value.’ Adding to the decline of Western Civilisation the Gospel, in some quarters, is been reduced to trivia. But is the Good News about Jesus Christ a piece of information of little importance? Jesus didn’t think so. Neither did the writers of the sixty six books of the Bible. As if believing the adage that the devil is in the detail some Christians seem to shun any in-depth study of God’s Word. Like some modern versions of the Bible, they satisfy themselves with only a general gist of the Bible’s message. Hair-splitting theology causes division? You bet! Just ask Jesus! Early in His great ‘Sermon On the Mount’ He says, ‘Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfil. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled’ Matthew 5:17-18. Thus, Jesus was a ‘jot and tittle man.’ Many Christian, perhaps too many, don’t seem to care about the dot above the ‘i’ or the stroke across the ‘t’ of the Gospel. But Jesus did (and still does!) One example from His ‘Sermon on the Mount’ is where He says, ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you’ Matthew 5:43-44. Nowhere does God teach in His Word that we are to hate our enemies! Jesus, God in the flesh, set the record straight.

The Apostle John in his Gospel and Epistles goes into great detail about what it means to love ones enemies. Indeed, the whole Bible is about what God was doing/has done to reconcile fallen man to Himself. Think about it: If we need reconciliation with God, then we all must be at odds (i.e. at war) with Him! But does God hate His enemies? No! ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’ John 3:16. Right after He corrected the erroneous teaching about hating your enemies Jesus points to the love of God, ‘For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust’ Matthew 5:45b. Non-Christian farmers can have bigger crops than Christian farmers! Thus, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Secularists, and Atheists etc. may at times receive the bigger blessing!

The psalmist was envious of the prosperity of the wicked. That was, says he, ‘Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end’ Psalm 73:17. Scripture says, ‘It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment’ Hebrews 9:27. So, we ought to leave the judgment to God! He is merciful! That is why He is sending His Gospel into all nations. But what hope have the nations if the Christians in those nations consider the jots and tittles of the Gospel to be trivia? Won’t we then end up with a tailored Gospel such as the get rich quick ‘Gospel of Prosperity,’ or those self-help and self-esteem versions of the Gospel, or the ‘Gospel of Church Growth,’ or the doom and gloom pessimistic ‘Rapture Gospel’? The list of gospel-aberrations is endless.

The Apostle Paul says ‘the gospel is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes’ Romans 1:16. The Apostle Peter says, ‘Our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people, twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of Scripture’ 2 Peter 3:15-16. Jesus got stuck into the Scribes and Pharisees for twisting Scripture (as exampled above in their ‘love neighbour but hate enemy’ distortion). It is encouraging that even the Bible admits that some parts of the Bible are hard to understand! But this does not give Christians licence to be ignorant of the finer details of, and certainly not to twist, Scripture to suit our own ends.

Jesus said to the Sadducees (i.e., the theological liberals in His day who were denying the physical resurrection), ‘You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God’ Matthew 22:29. He then set them straight, right before the Pharisees had another go at Him over the meaning of a couple of Scripture verses.

If we are going to Gospelise the nations then we need to be able to show that the Gospel is not a piece of trivia. As illustrated by Jesus, not one jot or tittle thereof is of little or no consequence.

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