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MY PREROGATIVE
December 4, 2021, 10:00 AM

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone intends to follow after Me, let them tenaciously reject any hint of prerogative or entitlement; indeed take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever safeguards their life actually destroys it, but whoever destroys their life for My sake - will unearth it.”

-Matthew 16:24-25

 

Back in 2014 Mercy Me released their hit song, Flawless. The song opens with the lyrics:

 

There's got to be more

Than going back and forth

From doing right to doing wrong

'Cause we were taught that's who we are

Come on get in line right behind me

You along with everybody

Thinking there's worth in what you do

(official video here)

 

The song may be an attempt to reject the nonsense of moralistic therapeutic deism (MTD). MTD is a self-centered new age religion whereby morality (doing right vs. doing wrong) is the key to unlocking personal happiness and satisfaction in life.

 

The scariest part? The pervasive MTD revolution and its cultists have quietly taken over the evangelical church in America, and with little to no resistance whatsoever. (article on MTD)

 

If the point of Mercy Me’s song, Flawless, specifically the lyric, “thinking there’s worth in what you do,” is meant to echo Ephesians 2:8-9, they are exactly right. The Cross of Christ has, in fact, made us flawless. We are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from ourselves; it is God’s gift - not by works so that no one can boast.

 

Unfortunately, many self-absorbed MTD new agers stop right there. They spew unbiblical nonsensical garbage like, “Didn’t do anything to earn it; can’t do anything to lose it.” All the while ignoring biblical context and fullness of Scripture (e.g. Eph 5:18; Gal 5:4; James 5:19-20; 2 Peter 2:20-22; 1 John 1:7; Heb 6:4-6).

 

In Eph 2:10 Paul’s letter reveals what it looks like to have actually been saved by grace through faith, “For we (referring to the redeemed in Christ - not maverick pseudo-Christians, i.e. entitled individuals pursuing individual agendas) are God’s workmanship (re)created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand as our new way of life.” The Greek word ποίημα is often translated as “workmanship” and is singular.

 

The point? There are actually two:

 

Point One: There are no individuals (see Eph 4:3-6), just different functioning and functional parts of Christ’s one Body (Eph 4:16) demonstrating our legit devotion to Christ through our devotion to one another in the Body (Acts 2:41-47).

 

Point Two: There is immeasurable worth in what we do as redeemed parts of God’s “workmanship” by grace through faith. Scripture is very clear. We are “(re)created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand as our new way of life.”

 

Our praise, worship, and glorification of Christ, the head of the Body, is accomplished in what we do as members of His Body. That’s why Paul wrote, “not being foolish, but understanding what the Lord’s will is” (Acts 1:8; Rom 1:5; Eph 6:13; 1 Thess 5:16-18).

 

The alternative, as Paul’s letter reveals in Eph 5:18, drunkenness with the wine of entitlement doesn’t merely lead to reckless living, but literally translates, “...is unsavedness.”

 

Scripture paints a very clear and different standard than the average American church “experience,” or stereotypical American “Christian” of today:

  • Churchgoer and program shopper vs devoted, equipped, and functioning church member building up the Body
  • Prioritizing convenience and personal preferences vs selfless service and obedience in the Body
  • Critical and demanding children tossed about by every wind of teaching vs mature saints singing psalms, giving thanks, and submitting to one another in the fear of Christ

 

King Jesus, the Eternal Word, reveals several non-negotiable imperative commands. His commands are not for the sake of earning our salvation. Instead, our response to His commands merely exposes the condition of our hearts.

 

Option A) Joyful devotion, submission, and obedience to His will through our intimate participation in the promotion and proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the earth as members of His Body.

 

Option B) Other

 

Please don’t misunderstand the lyrics in Mercy Me’s song, Flawless. “Thinking there’s worth in what we do” to earn or merit our salvation is a bold-faced lie (Eph 2:8-9). But concluding there’s no worth in anything we do as devoted, submitted, obedient saints redeemed into God’s ποίημα, His “workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand as our new way of life,” is an equally repulsive abomination to God.

 

The former (attempting to earn salvation) is an egregious lie and rejection of Scripture. The latter (rejecting the leading of the Holy Spirit) is a sin that grieves and blasphemes the Holy Spirit. According to King Jesus that is the only unforgivable sin (Matt 12:31): passivity, idleness or a retired golf-community attitude exists nowhere in Scripture. Jesus actually taught a parable about a rich fool in Luke 12:13-21 as a sobering reminder for us all.

 

The work of salvation has been accomplished in full by Christ at the Cross (John 19:30). There’s zero worth in trying to add anything to what He has already accomplished. It's the path of foolishness that leads to destruction.

 

However, there is immeasurable worth in what we do as redeemed slaves to Christ. In Ephesians 4:1 the Apostle Paul wrote, “Therefore, I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you to live worthy of the calling you have received…” If there is no worth in what we do or how we live as members of God’s ποίημα (i.e. masterpiece), then Paul would be a false teacher and a liar.

 

Paul’s writings are literally God-breathed and perfectly true (2 Tim 3:16)! The fields of evangelism are ripe for a plentiful harvest, but as King Jesus said, “...laborers are few.” The absence, sparsity, deficiency, and shortage of devoted laborers boils down to one simple and irrefutable fact: many Christians today are perfectly content with their own prerogative.

 

Rather than tenaciously rejecting any hint of prerogative or entitlement as devoted followers of Christ, many self-proclaimed Christians are, instead, entitled idolaters seeking to safeguard their idols of personal preference and prerogative. In doing so, they are willfully rejecting Christ and committing themselves to eternal destruction (Matt 25:41).

 

The Cross has, in fact, made us flawless. As Romans 14:23b reveals, "everything that does not come from faith is sin." There is immeasurable value in what we do for our King, not to earn salvation, but our spontaneous and unquenchable eruption of thanksgiving as worship in spirit and truth - just like that sole leper who returned (Luke 17:11-19).

 

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone intends to follow after Me, let them tenaciously reject any hint of prerogative or entitlement; indeed take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever safeguards their life actually destroys it, but whoever destroys their life for My sake - will unearth it.”

 

Back in 1989, Bobby Brown released his hit song, My Prerogative, singing. "I don't need permission. Make my own decisions. It's my prerogative." Is that the real song you're singing with your life, or have you surrendered every hint of prerogative to unearth real-life exclusively in following Christ?

 

Blessings,
Kevin M. Kelley

Pastor, PBC