您的位置 首页 麦克阿瑟

耶稣会给你的教会什么信息?(麦克阿瑟)10-24-2018 陈鸽翻译

在启示录中,耶稣给小亚细亚的城市写了七封书信。他没有把这些信寄到市政厅,反而带到教会中。

 属天国度

 好好想一想,在圣经压轴的几章经文中,主没有打发他的教会去完成“救赎文化”的使命,也没有建议他的百姓:要利用政权来推行道德的重建,或者起来抵制邪恶之人的统治。事实上,他并没有发起一场社会革命,也没有筹划任何一种政治策略。

 今日的教会,尤其是美国教会,需要明白:神并没有把他的百姓从世界中呼召出来,仅为了与世界发动一场文化战争而已。我们不是要去赢得暂时的优势,好像一些侵略势力,想要在表面上“把这个国家转向上帝”。不要幻想我们先祖的道德修养曾经使美国成为一个“基督教国家”。从来没有过基督教的国家,只有基督徒。

 基督徒需要明白:美国政治和社会上所发生的所有事件,与神国度的进展或权势毫不相干。文化的改革不能促进,也不能拦阻神国的发展(参:太16:18)。基督的国根本“不属于这个世界”(约18:36)。

 宪政无效

 这并不是说,我对我们民主的发展不屑一顾,也不是说我们对民主制度中的言论自由没有感恩之心。我们今天拥有选举的权利,能够支持圣经的道德观,都是极大的祝福。教会历史中许多的基督徒所经历的环境比我们今天更糟糕,但他们却没有任何法律途径来解决这一难题。

 然而,若有人假设社会运动或政治势力可以在世界上造成重大属灵影响,这就证明了他对罪恶的严重误解。信徒需要把精力投入能够改变生命,而不是修订宪法的侍奉上。神国度的工作不是关乎推翻政权,或修定法规,或重建社会成为一个基督化版本的乌托邦。政治改革和社会正义的努力,充其量只是短期的、外表上解决社会道德弊病的办法,它不能对症下药,解决个人的、关键的、内心的问题,就是敌对上帝的问题(参:罗8:7)。人唯有借着信靠主耶稣基督才能从永远的死亡中得救。

 道德无能

 品德的培养只能定人的罪,修身养性无法解决人根本的问题;高尚的道德正如低劣的品德一样,两者都要受咒诅,因修身养性不能将石心变为肉心,不能断开罪恶的锁链,也不能使我们与神和好。从这个意义上说,仅有道德修养,正如任何撒旦的宗教一样,都不能拯救人类。

 耶稣和当时外表最虔诚、最讲道德的人(祭司、文士、和旧约的律法师)碰头时,说:“我来本不是召义人,乃是召罪人。”(可 2:17)马太福音 23 章,他向当时最属灵、最严谨的《法利赛》教派的人提出了最强烈的谴责。这些人是以色列全国最“虔诚”的人,他们谨小慎微地遵行上帝的律法,一丝不苟地随从拉比的传统,但耶稣(对他们)说:“你们这假冒为善的文士和法利赛人有祸了!”(太23:13)“有祸了”这个词等同于“受咒诅”。他在向他们宣告定罪和审判。接下来的经节中,他再三重复这句话。16节,他更称他们为“瞎眼领路的”,因为他们带领以色列人误入了虚有其表、道貌岸然的道德之路。

 然而,社会革新和道德操练都不是旧约先知的信息,也不是新约作者的信息,更不是弥赛亚的话语。这些根本就不是神传给世人的信息。以赛亚告诉我们:“我们都像不洁净的人所有的义都像污秽的衣服。”(赛64:6)人类道德修养的顶点不过是肮脏污秽、千疮百孔的破布。

 没有义人

 此外,罗马书说:没有义人……没有行善的,连一个也没有。(罗3:10, 12)因此,不论人自认为他有多么公义正直,或表现地有多么一本正经,都不过是一副假象而已。没有义人,不论他穿戴上如何敬虔的面具,人都不能改变自己的生命。他可以一时痛定思痛,斩断毒瘾恶习,立志重新做人。的确,人靠着自己格外的决心和毅力,在某些程度上,可以洗心革面,除掉一些恶习。而且,如果有足够的人都这样做,那么也会给人类社会带来一点道德的提升,然而,人行动的改变不能触及到人与神的关系,也没有能力将他从罪恶的捆绑中释放出来,或将他带入基督的国度里。道德修养顶多只能把人们变成另一批受咒诅的法利赛人,道德修养不能把任何人从罪疚中拯救出来,也不能助长真实的敬虔。法利赛人和妓女都要同下一个地狱。

 模糊焦点

 推动文化上的道德修养,或社会上的正义事业,都分散了教会的使命。这是一个危险的分心,因为这浪费了大量宝贵的资源,包括时间、金钱、精力。所以,以弗所书5:16-17 劝诫信徒:“要爱惜光阴,因为现今的世代邪恶。不要作糊涂人,要明白主的旨意如何。”主的旨意不是去实现一个社会正义所统治的文化,甚至一个制度化的法利赛人的社会。

“福音派”(evangelical)这个词是源于希腊文“福音”这个字根。它起初指的是那些明白福音是基督教义之核心和本质,因此必须不惜代价,誓死捍卫福音的基督徒。但是,如今它染上了极其浓厚的社会和政治色彩,以至它变成了一个政治术语,被广大社会甚至大多自称是基督徒的人弃绝了。

 教会真正的呼召

 神的旨意不是要我们变得如此政治化,以至于我们将宣教工场上的人都变成了我们的仇敌。没错,基督教应当弃绝罪恶,并且毫不含糊地宣告:我们圣洁的神厌恶罪恶,这包括堕胎、同性恋、性滥交等等罪恶,以及我们败坏的文化告诉我们必须接纳的任何罪恶。然而,忿怒的抗议和党派的政治不会转变社会,更不会赢得这样一个深陷于罪恶之中的文化。不要以为宪政立法就可以解决我们文化道德破产的难题,这是异想天开、徒劳无功的!没有任何律法可以使堕落的人类成为公义(参:加2:21)。

 福音使命

 提摩太也在一个至少跟我们一样败坏的文化中服侍。在保罗写给他年轻接班人的嘱咐中,没有任何试图赎回文化的暗示。其实,他告诉提摩太,情况会每况愈下、越来越糟(提后3:13),这个堕落世上的人们需要的是福音。世人需要被告知:他们的罪可以得到赦免,他们可以从罪恶的枷锁中和这世界的系统中得到解脱。信徒无权藐视或厌恶失落的罪人。我们对待邻舍的心态,应该反映出基督对他们的大爱,而不是我们对他们的政治观甚至道德观的不满。我们无权将得救的福音扣留不传给他们,像约拿对待尼尼微人那样。反之,我们应该确保我们生命中失丧的罪人知道我们对他们的爱心,以至愿意给予他们神的宽恕。是的,世上有一种对罪的神圣的仇恨,但基督在同情中为失落的罪人哭泣,我们也必须如此。

 这世界之所以堕落到今天的光景,正因为这就是世界啊!教会必须以全备的真理面对世界。这么多教会,要么相信通过自己的能力可以救赎社会,要么就让世俗廉价的娱乐模糊了教会的使命,这岂不恰恰证明了教会对世人行为的谴责是假冒伪善的吗?时候到了,教会应当注重使人与神和好的使命,神的教会应当放胆忠心地传讲他的福音,在这黑暗绝望的世界中发光作盐(太5:13-16)。这就是启示录中,主给众教会的信息。他吩咐他们脱下世俗的败坏,更新他们对主的爱,保守福音的纯正和教会的圣洁。他写给众教会的每一个训诲、责备、警戒、劝勉以及悔改的呼吁,几乎全都适用于21世纪的教会,包括当今许多最有名望和最具影响力的福音派教会。时候的确到了,我们应当关注写给启示录众教会的书信,并且回应基督的呼吁去改革他的教会。


(改编于:基督的呼召:教会要改革)

 —————————————-

What Would Jesus Say AboutYour Church?

 by John MacArthur

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

 In the book of Revelation, Jesus wrote seven letters tocities in Asia Minor. He didn’t write them to city hall; He wrote them to thechurch.

Let that sink in for a moment. In the closing chapters ofScripture, the Lord did not set His church on a mission to “redeem theculture.” He didn’t advise His people to leverage political power to institutemorality, or to protest the rule of immoral men. In fact, He didn’t launch asocial revolution or devise a political strategy of any kind.

 The church today—and particularly the church inAmerica—needs to understand that God has not called His people out of the worldsimply to wage a culture war with the world. We’re not meant to gain temporalground, like some invading force working to superficially “turn this countryback to God.” We need to shed the illusion that our ancestors’ morality oncemade America a “Christian nation.” There have never been any Christiannations—just Christians.

 Believers need to understand that what happens in Americapolitically and socially has nothing to do with the progress or the power ofthe kingdom of God. Cultural change can’t accelerate the kingdom’s growth; norcan it hinder it (seeMatthew16:18). Christ’s kingdom “is not of this world” (John 18:36).

 That’s not to say I’m dismissive of our democraticprocess or ungrateful to have a voice in it. It’s a great blessing to have avote and to be able to support biblical standards of morality. Many Christiansthroughout the history of the church have lived through far worse circumstancesthan ours, with no legal means to do anything about it.

 But the presumption that a social movement or politicalclout could make a significant spiritual difference in the world is evidence ofa severe misunderstanding of sin. Believers need to put our energies intoministry that can transform lives, not laws. The work of God’s kingdom is notabout overhauling governments, rewriting regulations, or rebuilding societyinto some version of a Christian utopia. Political and social justice effortsare, at best, short-term, external solutions for society’s moral ills, and theydo nothing to address the personal, internal, dominant matter of sinful heartsthat hate God (seeRomans 8:7),and can be rescued from eternal death only by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 Morality Damns

 Morality on its own is no solution; it damns just likeimmorality. Morality cannot turn the stony heart to flesh, it cannot break thechains of sin, and it cannot reconcile us to God. In that sense, morality aloneis as empty to save as any satanic religion.

 Jesus went head to head with the most religious andoutwardly moral people in His world, particularly with the priests, scribes,and experts in Old Testament law. He said, “I did not come to call therighteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).And in Matthew 23, He unleashed His most searing accusations against thereligious right of His day, the party of the Pharisees. These were the mostpious men in the nation, who fastidiously kept the law of God and faithfullyfollowed rabbinical tradition. Jesus says, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,hypocrites” (Matthew23: 13). The word “woe” is the equivalent of saying “curseyou.” He’s pronouncing damnation and judgment on them. He repeats the samephrase over and over in the subsequent verses. He calls them “blind guides” inverse 16, as they led Israel astray through their empty, pious morality.

 Neither social change nor moralism was ever the messageof the Old Testament prophets. They were never the message of the Messiah orthe New Testament writers. Such has never been God’s message to the world atall. In fact, Isaiah tells us that “all our righteous deeds are like a filthygarment” (Isaiah 64:6).Man’s morality at its apex is nothing more than foul, defiled rags.

 Moreover, Romans says, “There is none righteous . . .there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans3:11–12). So whatever imaginary righteousness man has,whatever superficial morality he exhibits, is just a charade. There is no onerighteous, no matter what kind of pious façade people put up.

 People can change their lives. They can have a moment ofcrisis and decide they’re going to turn away from immorality or addiction andstart living a better life. People can, to some degree, clean up their actsimply by applying extraordinary human effort and resolve. If enough of them doit, there can be a slight moral upgrade in human society. But behavioral reformhas no bearing on people’s relationship with God. It has no means to deliverthem out of the bondage of sin into the kingdom of Christ. The best thatmorality can do is turn people into another batch of condemned Pharisees.Morality can’t save anyone from guilt or fuel genuine godliness. Pharisees andprostitutes share the same hell.

 The push for cultural morality or even social justice isa dangerous distraction from the work of the church. It wastes immense amountsof precious resources, including time, money, and energy. Ephesians5:16–17 urges believers to “[make] the most of your time,because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what thewill of the Lord is.” And the will of the Lord is not a culture governed bysocial equity or even institutionalized Phariseeism.

 The word evangelical is derived from the Greek word for“gospel.” It originally signified Christians who understood that the gospel isthe core and the very essence of Christian doctrine and therefore must beguarded at all costs. But it has been so painted over with social and politicalcolors as to have become a political term, rejected by most of society and evenmost professing Christians.

 The True Calling of the Church

 The will of God is not that we become so politicized thatwe turn our mission field into our enemy. Christians are right to repudiatesin, and to declare without equivocation that sin is an offense to our holyGod. That includes sins like abortion, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, andany other sins that our corrupt culture says we must accept. But a culture soldout to sins such as those is not going to be turned around—much less wonover—by angry protests and partisan politics. It’s futile to think the solutionto our culture’s moral bankruptcy is a legislative remedy. There is no law thatcan make fallen sinners righteous (see Galatians2:21).

 Timothy ministered in a culture that was at least as badas ours. Nothing in Paul’s instructions to his younger disciple suggested thatTimothy should try to redeem the culture. Indeed, he told Timothy things wouldget even worse (2 Timothy3:13). What the people of this depraved world need is thegospel. They need to be told that their sins can be forgiven and they can beset free from the chains of sin and this world’s system. Believers have noright to regard lost sinners with contempt or loathing. Our attitude toward ourneighbors should be a reflection of Christ’s love for them, not an expressionof our disagreement with their politics or even their morality. We have noright to withhold the good news of salvation from them, like Jonah tried to dowith the Ninevites. We ought to make sure that the lost sinners in our livesknow that we love them enough to offer them God’s forgiveness. There is a holyhatred for sin, but Christ wept over the lost in sympathy, and so must we.

 The world is the way it is today because it is the world,and the church must confront it with the full truth. It’s hypocritical forChristians to berate the secular world for the way unbelievers behave when somany churches are validating that either by believing in its ability to beredeemed by human power or by putting on a worldly circus of entertainment andcheap distractions from the real issues. It’s time for the church to be aboutthe ministry of reconciliation—for God’s people to boldly and faithfullyproclaim His gospel and for His church to be salt and light in this dark anddesperate world (Matthew5:13–16). That was the Lord’s message to the churches inRevelation. He commanded them to put off worldliness and corruption, to renewtheir love for Him, and to guard the purity of His gospel and His church.Virtually every admonition, rebuke, warning, and call to repentance our Lordmakes in these letters is applicable to the church in the twenty-firstcentury—including many of today’s best known and most influential evangelicalchurches. It’s time for us to pay attention to the letters to those churches inRevelation and heed Christ’s call to reform of His church.


(Adapted from Christ’s Call to Reform the Church)

关于作者: 陈鸽

热门文章