Saturday, December 18, 2010

Becky, There Are No Lines

"For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:7-8 (ESV)

Someone has forwarded to me for a second time a new song. There is another "feel-good" CAC ("Christian"-Approved Correct) song making the rounds on the Internet and Face book via YouTube. It is called, "Where is the Line To See Jesus?" This is designed to make people feel  all  "Christianie" during this season of commercialization, spending, and celebration. The idea is that there are long lines in the stores and such but there is not a line for Jesus. People have lined up to see "Santa" and a little boy asks his mommy where is the line to see Jesus.

I, for one, would be worried if there were a line amongst the "worldlings" to see Jesus. Since there is such a hostility between God and man until God, in His sovereign timing by His Holy Spirit overcomes that hostility and changes heart and mind of a man, no one wants to see Jesus. As a matter of fact the Bible says that man loves the darkness and his dark deeds so much that he hates the light and won't come to the light. (Colossians 1:3; John 3:19-20)

Please don't fool yourself, or worse yet, convince yourself that men and women are going to get all "Jesusy" around this time of year and line up for Jesus. Feel-good emotional songs designed to tug at our hearts and bring tears will not end this hostility.

We can look to the New Testament and the life of Jesus and see that for a time great crowds did line up to see Jesus and to follow him. The world will line up at one time or another and for one or more of the following reasons Men did follow Jesus for the...

...Multitudes - yes some followed because others were flocking to Jesus to see what the "fuss" was all about. They heard about a man saying and doing strange things and performing miracles.

...Meals - many followed because they had been fed on at least two occasions. Times were hard and to have some feed you was welcomed.

...Miracles - many more followed because they had received something. Some were healed of terrible infirmities or diseases, some were raised from the dead, and some saw Jesus perform wonderful miracles

...Master - very few followed Jesus because they were willing to own him as Master

Remember, when Jesus put it all on the line and laid down the requirements to be his disciple and to follow him, what did those who had lined up do? They turned back and followed him no more. As a matter of fact so many left the "lines" that Jesus asked his disciples if they too were going to turn back and go away. The world  does not want to "line up and follow" the Jesus of the Bible nor do they want to own Him as Master.

Where's the line for the Lord asks the singer? Don't look hard or long since you won't see one. People will not line up for the God or the Jesus of the Bible. They will always line up for a God or Jesus of their own imagination. No one, Romans 3 says very clearly will line up for Jesus. No one will until God in His grace and by His mercy overcomes the sin and darkness of their hearts and transfers them into the kingdom of His dear Son.

Let me encourage you to put away this commercialized and sentimental view of the Christ-child and pick up the Bible and read deeply of the wonderful, gracious, and miraculous incarnation of the Son of God. Read of the reason for the incarnation. Then, if you haven't as of yet, find a quiet place, fall on your face and plead with God to save your soul thereby ending the hostility between you and God. Give God glory for the incarnation of the Christ-child!

If you have done this and you are a child of God, resist the temptation to forward this sappy, sentimental, yet biblically empty song and share something truly substantial. Share the gospel with someone this year. Are you looking for that perfect gift that fits all? That gift no one can return? Share the gift of the Son of God who died to overcome the hostility between God and man and who reconciles God to man. That is the gift that will keep on giving.

You have a lovely voice and great talent but Becky, there are no lines.


Anonymous said...

Excellent post Gregg. Thank you. I hope you don't mind, but I've linked it to my blog today.

Have a blessed weekend.

Brian Ray Todd said...

I see your point that commercialization and misrepresentation of the Christ Child is counter-productive in the cause for Jesus, but respectfully disagree with your final analysis on this song as a “biblically empty song” for these reasons. (1) We do not tell the Lord by what method He may reach the Lost that He seeks. (2) The Holy Spirit prepares the heart of the predestined listener in advance to receive the message of the gospel in whatever presentation of gospel seed planting or watering. (3) The message is not about getting in line to see Jesus, like Santa. The message is: There is more to Christmas than Santa Claus, shopping and presents. I see “the line” as a metaphor, though an innocent child’s question, as a call for Believers to celebrate the incarnate Intercessor between God & man (our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ). The line ultimately means coming to the foot “the Cross” in repentance by a lost & dying world in sin & darkness, and is obvious in the questions and bridge of the song:
It’s Christmas time, it’s His birthday. Why don’t we see Him more?
Where’s the line to see Jesus? He was born for me.
Santa Claus brought me presents. But Christ gave His life for me.
In the blink of an eye, at the sound of His trump, We’ll all stand in line at His throne.
Every knee shall bow down, every tongue will confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.

From an evangelism prospective, I do not see a biblically empty song, but an opportunity. As the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 1:18 “But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.” I think Christ was the intent.
We may agree to disagree, but it is my hope that those who do not know the Lord, after hear such a song, would ask (as in Acts 17:23) “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we would like to know what they mean.”, and the gospel may be given. It’s up to the people of God to give the message of salvation and eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Gregg Metcalf said...

I truly appreciate you and your comment. I know I will take some major hits on this.

Our take on it is as different as our spiritual gift. You, as an evangelist would see an opportunity here. I have no problem or criticism with that. As one with the gift of teaching, I see it as sentimentalism (mind you, I am not judging the artists motives) void of scripture.

The tools the Holy Spirit uses to convict that predestined listener is the word of God not a song tag line.

Also, I am not an evangelical (yes-evangelistic) the major foundational brick to evangelicals is their commitment to "We do not tell the Lord by what method He may reach the Lost that He seeks." Another way that the founders of evangelicalism stated their difference between them and "fundamentalists" is that "the ends justify the means," or "whatever is specifically prohibited in the bible is an ok method."

Again, I am not judging you nor criticizing you. I think we are good enough friends and have written back and forth enough to be able to "agree to disagree."

If someone should come to Christ as a direct result of the song, I would rejoice, praise God and be happy!

Please don't miss my point - The little boy asked the question, where are the lines to see Jesus. My answer was the explanation why there are no lines. The human heart will not line up for the God of the bible.

The little boy's question was not, "is this a good theological tool for evangelism?" My answer was not an explanation of why this not an good evangelism tool or whether this song could be used as an evangelistic tool.

Remember, don't miss the point of my blog - all I was saying is no one according to Romans 3 will line up for the Jesus of the bible. I have no doubt if a sovereign God wants to use this song in order for someone to explain the gospel great.



It's so easy to get caught up with Christmas though it's not as recall it as a child.
Many song are penned for Christmas and I agree with you Gregg the music and talent may be fine but there are no lins.


kc bob said...

"The world does not want to "line up and follow" the Jesus of the Bible nor do they want to own Him as Master."

Amen. Deny. Carry cross. Follow. Not something we are willing to do unless we say, like the disciples - "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."

Michelle said...

OK...I must admit I watched the video a friend posted on Facebook. As you know, I do not celebrate Christmas...but I cannot believe...that song made me CRY. But then again...I am pregnant. LOL. If I watched Big Daddy with Adam Sandler I would probably cry, too.

Either way, I snapped out of it, didn't forward it on, and I completley agree. You are dead in that the line to see Jesus would be hard to find.

Brian Ray Todd said...

Pastor Gregg,

I do not have any problem with discussing these issues with you at all. What good is the body of Christ if they can not argue thier individual perspectives based upon the light that the Lord has given them. Ephesians 4:11-13 tells us that Jesus gives different gifts to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers for a reason.
We know that salvation only comes through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and this song did not give the gosgel. Nobody found salvation directly through this song, or "Amazing Grace", or "A Mighty Fortress is our God", "the Old Rugged Cross" or "Hark the Herald", but seeds may be planted in the hearts by the Holy Spirit through these and other psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19). Is "Joy To The World" sentimental? It sure makes me feel good to sing it to the Lord. Why? It's not that the ends justify the means, when the means (the Christian song) is intended to point to Christ, praise Christ, and/or worship God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) as the end. So the questions I ask is, "What is the intent?" Did it point to Christ? Was the song out of context from the Word of God? Was it taking about a physical line? No. Like it or not, it was point out a problem in our society and pointing to Christ.

Surely, what is specifically prohibited by the Bible is never an ok method. I don't think that the question is, if someone came to Christ as a direct result of this song, but if someone heard about Christ, or was prompt to ask a question about Christ, or to truly seek Christ in their heart in part by this song or any Christian song and the Holy Spirit. not finding a line. How does any sinner put their hope in the Lord? All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but while we were dead in our transgressions and sins, and by nature objects of wrath, God who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ. As you say, "The human heart will not line up for the God of the bible" ... on its own. I see that your point answered the four year old boy's question to his mother, who obviously told her son (the best that you can to a four year old) that Christmas was about celebrating the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ incarnate. He wanted to know why there was a line for Santa and not one for Jesus, if Christmas is about Jesus. I saw Ephesians 2:1-3, and I saw Romans 3:10-12 & 23 pointing to the problem, but didn't catch Ephesians 2:4-9 or Romans 3:24 in the message poiting to Jesus. It seemed that you were questioning a song that wasn't telling people to get in a line to see Jesus, like the line to see a secular Santa Claus, but telling people to turn from a secular Santa, from buying presents with no thought of Jesus, to get out of the atheistic Rat Race and follow Jesus, to have a personal relationship with the Lord and Savior of the world, and live for Christ, the reason for the season and your salvation. I think that you would find that Becky Kelley is not against you, but for you, if you asked her. I believe that she and her dad, (who wrote the song) were intending to point people to Jesus and nothing else. I do not think that they were trying to deceive people, distort the Word of God or make people feel good in their lost and spiritually dead state. I may be wrong.

I want people to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, so do you and so does Becky. That's what I see - a mis-guided world of hurt without Christ, and brothers & sisters, in different ways, doing what they can to help them find Jesus. May the Holy Spirit use them all in their genuine faith and service for the Lord.

Your brother in Christ.

Patience said...

Thank you so much for this great post. I hope you don't mind but I copied it to mine and added links back to here. Although a sober reminder it was refreshing for me also.
Thank you again!

Cathy M. said...

You've made several very good points in this explanation and in comment-reply. Emotionalism greases the aisle of many goose-pimply(spurious)responses to Jesus. Great post, Bro. Gregg.

Persis said...

You answered the song's question Biblically, Gregg. Well said!

Trisha said...

"They will always line up for a God or Jesus of their own imagination." Sadly, how true this is. Powerful post. God bless you for your boldness!

Anonymous said...

another great post Greg.

Mike said...

Brian Ray Todd, I don't think Gregg's point was about the method used to convey a certain message. Instead, he's citing biblical truth that the road is wide (the line is long) that leads to destruction, but the road is narrow (the line is short) that leads to life. There is no line because we by nature, and without the draw of the Spirit of God, do not seek Christ.

Great post, G!