Sunday, August 28, 2005
Loving the Sinner - Part II
Last week I talked about loving the sinner enough to correctly diagnose what was ailing him. This week I would like to address the next issue – proceeding with the treatment. There are many a medical assistant to the Great Physician out there who are unerring in their diagnosis and courageous enough to confront those with spiritual ailments but falter when it comes to treatment and long term care of God’s patients. It is a truly skilled practitioner of spiritual medicine who is capable of treating what is ailing the sin-sick soul.
Whenever I find a soul infected by worldliness, bound by carnality, weakened by a lack of devotion, I rush to administer aid. Just like a paramedic responds instantly in the event of an emergency, I am not slack to curse the darkness whenever I see it. And once I have discovered the source of spiritual malady, I quickly administer the proper remedy or medical treatment to heal the infected soul. This is by far the most difficult part of my role as a medical assistant to the Great Physician. Many people are unwilling to take their medicine and rescue themselves from their fatal condition. And no wonder, for often it is a bitter pill to swallow, however necessary it may be.
Spiritual medicine has the curious effect of either curing or killing the intended recipient. For those who respond well to guilt, shame, browbeating and public calls for repentance, the medicine may taste awful going down but afterward yields the peaceable fruit of healing. Conversely, those who stop their ears at rebuke and refuse to listen to open condemnation of their sinful lifestyles regarding the clothes they wear, the music they listen to, the amusements they frequent and the non-church friends they insist on keeping find themselves with no ease for their predicament. Whether they admit it or not, their doom is sealed by their refusal to heed my advice. Fortunately, most of these fatally ill people (I dare not call them Christian because of their obvious affection for sin) leave the church and do so in a huff. Some members are grieved by their departure but I reassure my congregation that their continued presence would only serve to infect other susceptible souls with their carnality and worldliness.
Unfortunately, there are too few ministers of the gospel like me who are willing to diagnose and treat spiritual disease. Those who refuse to come to church every time the doors are open, who give less than 10% of their gross, who read their Bibles less than one hour every day, who never witness to the lost about their salvation fill those other churches. They serve as a source of contagion for the good people I pastor. The young people in my church have to struggle every week to refuse the invitations of their friends who attend worldly church to go to movies or “Youth Night” at non-scriptural churches where they play that godless contemporary Christian music. So the responsibility falls on me to protect my people from their corrupting influence.
My recourse is quarantine. Much as I would like to, I cannot quarantine the spiritually ill who fill the world from us godly Christians so I resort to the next best thing – I quarantine our church. Just like the “Boy in the Plastic Bubble,” I maintain a constant vigilance against any potential infectious agent by isolating my people from the outside world. I preach against television and many in my church have gotten rid of theirs. And those who still have sets, I forbid them to have cable TV. I also preach against VCR and DVD players because the only thing available on them are either worldly amusements or the presentations of heretical and damnable heresies like Veggie Tales and Adventures in Odyssey which promote liberal Christian values. I encourage them to have only Christian friends and avoid as much contact with the world as possible. We must be in the world but we should not be of the world. Indeed, the main thrust of my ministry is to constantly warn the congregation every Sunday about the evil that is out there in the world that goes under the guise of Christianity hoping to deceive if it were possible the very elect.
Regretfully, I can’t save all of my patients. To be honest, I haven’t saved very many. But God has never required that I be successful, only that I remain faithful. I may not be able to reach very many with the pure, unadulterated, Gospel but those I do reach can rest secure in their knowledge that they will make it to heaven. My job, however thankless and unappreciated it is by the mass of those who erroneously call themselves Christian, is to save the remnant that God has trusted into my hand. If I can succeed in preventing even a single soul from joining the wrong kind of church, from engaging in worldly pursuits, from listening to ungodly music, from worshipping in a style not in conformity with our tradition, then my work
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