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A Heart For God: Marks of a Defective Faith - Part 2

Monday, August 29, 2011

Marks of a Defective Faith - Part 2

I'm continuing a discussion of faith in this second of a two-part blog post series. (To read Part 1: click here.) I'll be highlighting three final marks of a defective faith from three parables of Christ. To be defective means there's a flaw with whatever it is you're talking about. Right? I remember I drove away a used car I bought in Minneapolis from the used car dealer. And right when I got out of the parking lot that's when it began to spit and sputter and miss and cough. No lie. Can you imagine having something like that happen to you? (And then imagine having to explain it to your wife!) Did you ever buy a lemon? - a car that had problems - that was defective? Some people's faith is a "lemon." If it's marked (characterized) by any or all of the following three things it is...

Three More Marks of a Defective Faith:
(I gave you the first three in Part 1)

Mark #4: When You Think Gaining Stuff/Notoriety Is A Higher Priority Than Caring For The Less Fortunate.

In our Lord's parable of "The Sheep and The Goats" (Matthew 25:31-46) we are given a peek into eternity. We see Judgment Day. At that time Jesus will be looking over His followers. And what He's going to be interested in seeing is how much money we made? No. What we did for a living? No. What car we drove? No. What house we owned? No. How many followers we had on Twitter? No. How many friends we had on Facebook? No. Christ is not going to be looking for any of those things. Quite to the contrary. Those are the things that the world measures by. Right? Those are important things to the world. But not to Jesus. Sometimes we need our priorities rearranged. Are you putting people's needs ahead of gaining stuff/a name for yourself?

Mark #5: When You Think Just Because You're A Christian You're Better Than Others.

In our Lord's parable of "The Publican and the Tax Collector" (Luke 18:9-14) we are given a peek into an attitude that can overtake church people. Even Christians can begin to get caught up with themselves if they're not careful. I mean, when you've overcome tough habits and conquered them and replaced the old habits with new good ones like you ought to as a Christian (and as undoubtedly the Pharisee/religious person in the parable is representative of this very thing) and then you don't do things that sinners are known for doing anymore. "And, after all, those awful wretches and despicable individuals that live like that. How can they do such things?" And, of course, we're not like them. We don't go to movies. We don't go to carnivals. We don't go to bars. We go to church. We go to Bible study. We go to prayer meetings. Aren't we just so good? No, we're not. We're just forgiven. "'Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?'" (Matthew 7:3)

Mark #6: When You Think God's Okay With Your Refusal To Forgive Someone.

In our Lord's parable of "The Unmerciful Slave" (Matthew 18:23-35) we are given a peek into the heart (of some). It's a selfish heart. It's a bitter heart. And in the story a king wishes to settle accounts with his slaves. One slave owes the king ten thousand talents. To understand the depth of payment required to settle accounts, you need to know the worth of a "talent." A single "talent" was equal to 20 years worth of wages. Do the math. 10,000 talents times 20 years equals 200,000 years worth of wages. Let's say you make $20,000 a year. That means one talent equals ($20,000 times 20 years) $400,000. Then ten thousand talents equals 4 billion dollars! Bottom line: The slave can't repay such an enormous debt. But the king forgives the debt of the slave any way. (It's a picture of God's forgiveness of us.) The problem is the slave goes out afterwards and demands payment of a (in comparison) $7,000 debt he's owed from a fellow slave. Think of all the people in your life that have hurt you. Now think of that one person that's hurt you the most. And now consider, as much as these have pained you, their debt to you isn't even a drop in the bucket to how much you've hurt God in your unbelief. "'He who is forgiven little, loves little.'” (Luke 7:47c)

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