The Lion of Judah No More
The Teachings of a Passive Christ:
The Lion of Judah No More
There are numerous instances in the Scripture where Jesus, son of Mary, speaks of both peace and love.
“Blessed are the peacemakers…” (Matt. 5:3-7:29)
“But I say unto you…whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also…” (Matt. 5:39)
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you…” (Matt 6:44)
“Love thy neighbor as thyself…” (Matt 22:39)
Those are only four very familiar verses that I simply picked out at random from the Gospel of Matthew. A more generous reading would yield more results but I simply wanted to make the point known.
Many a sermon have been preached in regards to the Sermon on the Mount. One can find them coming from the founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley (1703-1791), to the early Church father, Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430). Closer to our time, two of the most influential social reformers of the last century used those very same teachings of non-violence as a model in their efforts to change the political climates of their day, Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) in India, and Martin L. King Jr. (1929-1968) in the United States. Since we have an overwhelming abundance of evidence that shows the law of non-violent approach to certain matters have accomplished goals, we must not--cannot--allow ourselves to get so caught up in a one-dimensional version of the Son and the Father.
I’ve gone to various churches within the past ten years, and have sat in the pews and did not hear one word of reproof, of judgment, of punishment, of sin. All I heard was smooth words, long drawn-out sermons talking about nothing except blessings, and prosperity, and love. The popular preacher of the Lakewood Church based out of Houston, Texas, Joel Osteen, has said, “I think for years there’s been a lot of hellfire and damnation. You go to church to figure out what you're doing wrong and you leave feeling bad like you're not going to make it. We believe in focusing on the goodness of God.”1
The “goodness of God” isn’t simply giving sermons on having the faith of a mustard seed, it isn’t giving sermons every Sunday on the love of Christ, nor is it giving grand speeches of prosperity and riches, and nice cars and such. The goodness of God is preaching to the lost every word, every commandment from Genesis to Revelation. The goodness of God is preaching the entire doctrine of Christ as Paul preached it, hellfire and damnation as well as all the rest.
How can one stand in the pulpit and preach a truncated, an edited gospel when the church is full of sinners? You’re preaching financial gain when your looking at a husband and wife who’s marriage is on the rocks; you’re preaching love when you’re eyeballing a man who’s consumed with pornography; you’re preaching faith when Joe Churchgoer is a pedophile; you’re preaching how to be an effective witness when the guy in the back pew is a drunkard.
I’m not saying all these things are wrong to preach on. In and of itself, they’re not. But they all become irrelevant when the people’s needs are not met. What good is a faith sermon to Joe Churchgoer when he need to be delivered from whatever sin he’s bound by? I’m a firm believer that if a pastor preaches a one-sided gospel, he’s going to send that congregation, as well as his own soul, to Hell.
“You go to church to figure out what you're doing wrong and you leave feeling bad like you're not going to make it” This is what’s wrong with this modern-day church. Osteen has hit it right on the head. No one wants to feel convicted of their sins anymore, and if you’re not delivered from your sins then you won’t make it! It’s as simple as that. There can be no salvation without deliverance.
Everyone wants to hear nice messages, homilies that’ll leave a smile on the faces of the congregation. But what of sin? That has become a “no-no” word in the church. These liberal pastors say everything under the sun, except they won’t mention sin. Their choirs can sing like angels, they get the congregation all excited, but there’s still sin present in the hearts of the people.
How can a congregation be delivered from the shackles of sin if its not being preached? In order to confront sins of the tongue, then on must preach on the sins of lying, of gossiping. In order to confront the sin of sexual immorality then one must preach on adultery and fornication. In order to confront the sins of the heart, then one must preach on hatred, on envy, and jealousy.
I believe that if you don’t preach on sin, then by default you’re ashamed of Christ, because you’re not teaching the full doctrine. And what did Jesus say about men who were ashamed of Him and the Gospel? “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and my words…of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed , when he cometh in the glory of his Father…” (Mark 8:38, emphasis mine)
A man who is called of God must preach the entire Bible, and he must have the backbone to confront the sins of the world if he wants to truly do the will of God. Lip-service won’t cut it in this day and age when men want to destroy Christ again because He continually preached righteousness, and the consequences of sin.
Because of pastors like Osteen--and there are many of them--who lack the knowledge of Scripture, who are deaf to the voice of God, who forsake sound doctrine in favor of “feel good” lukewarm messages inside of multi-million dollar “den[s] of thieves” a.k.a “mega-churches”, they’ve relegated the Lion of Judah into a whimpering, toothless kitten, a spineless, hippie-type Jesus, who preached love and nothing else.
1. Fox News.com “Religion Gets Supersized at MegaChurches” Amy C. Sims. Feb 3, 2004
Anthony Charles Jenkins is the author of several young-adult novels, including The Grave trilogy and Relentless Shadows. His website can be found at www.thenewvoice.info.
September 28, 2009