Bunyan's great allegorical work from 1678 has proven to be a timeless classic. "The Pilgrim's Progress From This World To That Which Is To Come."
The protagonist character is "Christian", who begins his journey from "The City of Destruction" (this world), to the "Celestial City" (heaven). The burden he carries is the weight of the awareness of his own sin.
Along the way he meets "Evangelist" who points him toward salvation, and immediately he leaves his own wife and children to venture to attain it.
This book, where once revered and a staple in any Christian library, would be at the least ignored today. It would be banished as irrelevant.
It's clear message straight from the Word of God is easier to rebuke and refute without fear.
People don't like to come right out and debunk the Bible because they fear it if not anything else.
They won't pay heed to it, but they'll fear it.
I'm finding it harder and harder for people to be convinced about their life in Christ.
Oh, they jump at Christ fast enough. They just don't want to live like Him.
I have to be reminded of the mentoring of Paul to a young Timothy:
"I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple. You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food -- catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truths and chase mirages. But keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant." (2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, The Message)
Wow. Spiritual junk food. Catchy options. Chasing mirages.
It's unraveling right before my very eyes.
The "options" for a Christan today are so many. They are shiny and pretty and inviting.
But they are a mirage as far as being fulfilling in one's life.
Here today. Gone tomorrow.
For goodness sake, Jesus is being swapped off on any given Sunday for "appointments" and "other commitments".
Bunyan would be amazed. Christian doesn't just fall into the Slough of Despond anymore. He swan dives into it.
The By-Ends have formed a party and are gaining strength.
Good Lord, we are finding more pillars of salt along the way than we are crosses.
I am starting to understand Jesus' fearful parable of the wide and narrow gates more thoroughly as I go.
So many have one foot in the Kingdom and the other in the grievous losing of their past sinful life that it is sometimes horrifying to me.
When one considers the stakes...and the way some so carelessly, even ignorantly place themselves and their family at risk...
Fight people. Fight for your self. Fight for your spouse and family. Fight for your church.
This is not the time to start pondering whether you had it better in the old life.
This is the time to run full speed toward Jesus. This is the time to chase the demons from inside your brain and embrace what you KNOW is right.
Be blessed today my friends and know that I am praying for all of you.
Keepin' it Real,
Pastor Kevin <><