Lift Jesus Higher


(James 3:17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

01 Aug 2007, as the news of the execution of the Korean hostages in Afghanistan fills the airways, many in the forums were debating how foolish it was for the Korean Christians to go for short term missions in this war torn country. Korea is the 2nd largest missionary nation in the world second to the United States with over 26,000 missionaries at any one time. As the news of the deaths of the hostages were reported, the discussion turned to dismay and sympathy and questions were raised "Whether Islam was Evil?". We come to a general question whether "Religious Fundamentalism of any kind is evil". For the religious fundamentalist whether Christianity or Islam, the human life is worth far less than being doctrinally correct.

Biblical Christianity on the other hand is about giving of ourselves that through the example of Christ, the world around us may be blessed. We know that we have strayed away when we become advocates for persecution and interpret the bible with partiality and hypocrisy. God is looking for a church that is pure from hypocrisy and cleansed from the yeast of self righteousness and a church yielding the good fruits in preaching the Gospel rather than one whose limelight is persecuting the weak. Jesus must be lifted up above all else, above our prejudice, self righteousness, religion and morality for men to be drawn.

It may be unwise to enter a war torn country, but it remains a fact that the Korean Christians were willing to give their lives so that the Afghanistan Nation may be blessed. In contrast, here in Singapore, we have our own religious zealots who have been insisting that Gays be put into jail. Is this the hand that represents Christ, Is this biblical Christianity? We know that we are close to embracing the Christianity that Christ intended when we walk our lives with wisdom, knowledge of Jesus, and a Christian Walk that exalts the name and ministry of Christ here on earth. There are 3 keys to guide us in our spiritual walk in biblical Christianity:-

Key 1 - Keep justice and fairness in mind through the fear of God

(2 Sam 23:3 NKJV) The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me: 'He who rules over men must be just, Ruling in the fear of God.

We often loose sight of humanity and treat others with cruelty and justify it in the name of religion. We remain firm in our incorrect doctrines despite the great harm that it causes. We have no remorse whatsoever on the pain, suffering and injustice that we have caused as long as we deemed our theology correct. We care not of the consequences if our biblical interpretation was incorrect. There is no fear of God, we care not of judgment of the innocent people we have hurt, killed and condemned. We are quick to deny it using terms like "Hate the Sin, Love the sinner". We seldom reflect whether our theology was correct, or to act with fairness and justice knowing we have to answer to God when we misuse our position as ambassadors of Christ. We are so ready to judge and condemn Gays not seeing the inconsistency of our theology and without reflection on our own motives. Clearly, Gays are a very small minority who do not have the political muscle to fight back, and could be conveniently used as scapegoats for the ills of our own failures. There is no fear in spreading half truths and rhetoric in the name of Jesus Christ. There is no fear that we misrepresent God or that the name of Jesus is maligned.

Jesus did not loose sight of humanity. When He was on earth, He was with those that society had rejected and considered unclean. Jesus' work on earth was founded in His ministry to the outcast, whereas mainstream Christianity is founded on association with the politically powerful, the rich, and the influential. We boast of our associations with politicians, kings and presidents, whereas Christ called blessed of those ministering to those who have nots. "Blessed are those who are poor ... ". Jesus was a helping hand to those whom society rejected, whereas we in our modern Christianity have become distant to those Jesus identified with.

Key 2 - Act wisely through the fear of God

(Prov 9:10 NKJV) "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Wisdom is defined as a carefully considered response which takes in view of the consequences of our actions and a global view of the situation . In Christianity, to be wise, to gain a measure of wisdom, is to fear God. The fear of God constraints us from acting rashly, with words and deeds, and reminds us to choose our actions and words carefully as if speaking on behalf of Christ. The condemnation of Gays by the NCCS shows a lack of wisdom, for there is no fear of God, no fear of standing in a position of judgment against a people group who cannot respond whilst there is a very strong reasonable doubt as to whether Homosexuality was a sin. We have become the judge and the jury and no wiser. Wisdom comes when we restrain ourselves and take time to diligently pray and study the word of God and the consistency of our biblical interpretation. We act in haste when there is no fear of God. We condemn Gays for sinning on account on the Jewish Mosaic Laws forgetting that we ourselves do not follow the laws. Wisdom compels us a moment of pause for reflection.

In 2003, there was a famous preacher in Singapore, at Suntec, who joked about gays and calling them as living in sin and warning them not to come to the church to "eat up" the members of his congregation. Gays at best form 5% of the population and have no interest in straight men/women. If homosexual act was a sin, then they have sinned according to the Jewish Old Testament Laws. So whilst allegedly preaching a New Testament "grace" message, the Pastor mixed it with the Law. This church was much criticized by mainstream churches for preaching "a gospel of Grace", and it appears to have condemned Gays to show that it could be firm against sin. It is not wise to act rashly. and hence be regarded morally as no better than the churches who have criticized it. If he had acted with wisdom, then the grace of God which he had preached would be known to the Gay community. Wisdom compels us to check our facts very carefully and be mindful of the serious damages of our actions may caused those we wrongly condemned. For God will be their defender, and we end up loosing the anointing that we so dearly desire.

Key 3 - Seek knowledge of Christ.

(Prov 9:10 NKJV) "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

What is knowledge? It is often said that our knowledge is very limited hence we may be wrong and other opinions correct, particularly in terms of religion where Christianity is but one of the many religions. Hence, knowledge is centered upon our intellectual knowledge and what we deemed to be the truth rather than the actual truth. The world and truth is therefore centered around us, just as in the science of old where the sun, moon and stars was supposed to rotate around the Earth. Science has progressed and we now know that earth rotates around the sun. Therefore, so is man. Our being, our existence is centered not upon ourselves but on the "Sun", Christ the Holy One, the light giver, the giver of knowledge.

There are many religious text and wisdom of this world, but the bible calls understanding as the knowledge of the Holy One, the knowledge of Christ. The bible is the source of our knowledge when it points to Christ. Through the bible we have the knowledge of Christ.. It is knowledge above all other earthly and human knowledge. In Christ, we have the way to God amidst the myriad of different opinions based on human philosophy, human wisdom, intellect, culture, history, and religious knowledge.

(James 3:15,16) This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

The great evangelist Luis Palau once commented when asked on his opinion on the Gay issue remarked that it is all written in the bible. However, more correctly, and biblical, our reference is Jesus Christ. How did Jesus respond - concerning gays that would have existed in His time, and what would He have done. Firstly, Jesus only reiterated that Gays are born as such in Mat 19:12 when talking about straight adultery. Never did He condemn Gays. This is consistent with the Jewish religious writings at that time. Did Jesus asked the Romans to haul gays to prisons? Did He say, away from me you sinner? Jesus did however condemn the religious and divorcees. However, the mainstream churches have carefully avoided mentioning as it is self implicating.. We are called first to response with knowledge of how Jesus dealt with issues rather than an assertion of human Love. Jesus is the epitome of love and not our humanistic and carnal love which condemns the innocent in the name of Love. Our Love must be based on Christ, and not human love.

The word of God to the Christian Church in Singapore today is to lift Jesus higher, higher than our fear of people not like us, higher than our religious mindset, Higher than our morality, higher than wealth and prosperity, higher than ourselves. We have made Christianity in our own image but God is asking us to look to Jesus and put Him first - to see through His eyes and to follow Him. His ways are not the ways of the world. When we lift up Jesus, men will be drawn to Him. Let us preach Christ and Christ alone to the ends of the World, to the last remaining tribe on Earth, the queer tribe and they too will be drawn to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Let us not lift ourselves up. Amen

Lift Jesus Higher
Lift Jesus Higher
Lift Him Up for the World to see
He said If I be lifted up from this world
I will draw all men unto me.

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