Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nothing New About New Age

For some time, there has been in our midst a movement commonly known as New Age. It is a conglomeration of several beliefs that have stemmed from mankind’s desire to reach ultimate oneness with the Almighty, circumventing truths espoused by traditional beliefs, namely Christianity. It’s far from harmless, as the movement leads directly away from Christ and to the ultimately destructive belief that salvation is achievable through eclectic means.

According to New Agers, man is divine by nature. Thus, as divine or god-like in nature, one can create his own version of reality. In other words, you can be like God. Further, you have the capacity to be your own god.

Now, New Agers have tolerance for nearly every belief under the sun, with the exception of Christianity. Christians know that we are sinners, saved only by the Blood of Christ shed on the Cross of Calvary. And, as Roman 10:13 plainly states, "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Salvation is gifted through God’s grace and only God’s grace. New Age believers can’t tolerate this simple doctrine because they refuse to see themselves as sinners in need of a Savior. What’s ironic about New Age thinking is there’s nothing "new" about it at all. It’s a deception that has its roots in the beginning.

In the garden of Eden, Satan tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit with these words:

" For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and
you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Genesis 3:5 - (emphasis mine)

You will be like God, the serpent said. And here we are, so many centuries later with a "new"
movement that will be like God.

Lest you think this cult movement isn’t gaining traction, last week in Portland, Oregon an evangelical Christian organization came under fire from a group of organized parents called Protect Portland Children. They speak out against the evangelical group’s message and influence parents not to allow their children to attend its events. The message they found so offensive? Each person is a sinner in need of the Savior. Protect Portland’s Children uses a poster of a sweet looking, pig-tailed girl holding up a sign stating, "I am not a sinner."

Let’s face it, if we’re not sinners, we have no need for a Savior...we can save will be like God New Age thinking reminds one of another passage of scripture, from Ecclesiastes 1: 9...

"...there is nothing new under the sun."
(emphasis mine)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Noah's Moment

Over the past few years, on mission trips in several countries, and in our own country, I've seen people come to Christ in a variety of ways. They’re often wrapped in emotion or thoughtful reflection. Many have been under conviction and they're submitting to what they know to be a Truth, that "Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures … he was buried. . . . The third day he rose again from the dead, according to the Scriptures . . . and he appeared (1 Cor. 15:3-6)". By that and only that are we delivered from our sin, as "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:21)."

That is the Gospel, pure and true. But out of the hundreds of people that I've witnessed receive Jesus, perhaps none have struck me as profoundly as a young man in our church's Vacation Bible School program last week. His innocence and simple words reflected his young age. But they also served as a template for every lost sinner needing to come to Christ.

I sat down with eight-year-old Noah in our empty sanctuary, after his mother had relayed some of the questions that he’d been asking concerning salvation. She was of the mind that he was ready to come to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior. No truer words has a mother ever spoken of her child. With the permission of his parents, I’d like to share my conversation with Noah:

"Hey Noah, how’s it going?"

"Pretty good."

Earlier in the week, Noah had his appendix removed at a local hospital, so I used that as a sort of ice breaker:

"So, you’ve had a pretty busy week, huh? Having to go to the hospital and everything?"

"Yeah. It wasn’t too fun, but it’s ok now."

Noah smiled a bit, but for the most part, he maintained a seriousness that 
contradicted his young age. I wasn’t sure if he was intimidated by the moment or perhaps uncomfortable speaking one-on-one with an adult that he wasn’t that familiar with, so I nosed forward carefully...

"So, what else’s been going on in your life, Noah," I asked, hoping to draw him out a bit more. His immediate response will stay with me forever...

‘Well, I know you’re a pastor or something..."

I started to correct him that I fell more on the side of a something, but Noah was starting to roll...

"...and I’ve been wanting to talk to somebody about getting saved."

"What about getting saved, Noah?"

"I need to."

"Really? Why do you need to get saved?"

At that point, eight-year-old Noah looked me dead in the eye and stated his situation:

"Cause I got sin in my life, and Jesus died for sin. So I need to become a Christian so my sins are paid for...but I don’t know how to do that"

Noah’s attitude demonstrated a near-desperate situation of turmoil churning inside him. But it’s a situation that all without Christ are in, but many don’t comprehend. My own Pastor said recently, "The problem lost people have is, they don’t know they’re lost. It’s up to us to show them..." Undoubtedly, through his parents, his Sunday school teachers, and others, Noah had correctly accessed his situation and wanted to rectify it, and rectify it now...

After receiving the salvation through Christ that he’d desperately sought, Noah called his mom into the room and announced with a great deal of pride and relief, "I’m a Christian now, mom." They shared the kind of embrace that only a mother and child can experience. The moment was accentuated with a mother’s joyful tears. I just may have wiped away a couple myself...

I’m thankful to a loving God that gave His only begotten Son to die for my sins. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had to share this Truth with people all over the world...none more so than Noah.