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SermonChristian Indifference
An all-creatures Bible Message

Christian Indifference
 
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
 
12 June 2016
 
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Matthew 6:24
Luke 7:36-50
Luke 8:1-8
Galatians 2:11-21

Christian indifference is really another way of expressing the fact that most Christians, including their pastors and churches, fail to love God and His heavenly will completely.
 
Christian indifference is what we see from people who have one foot in the world and one foot in church.
 
This is exactly what we are told in Matthew 6:24…

24. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
NASB

From reading the Bible, we know that there was no pain, or suffering, or death in the Eden that God created; and we know that there is no pain or death in heaven, so anyone who deliberately causes pain, or suffering, or death to any animal or human, or pays someone else to do it, such as when people buy animal products, is working against God and His heavenly will; and thus, they cannot truly love God as we are commanded to do.
 
In Luke 7:36-50, we are told about some of the other subtle ways that people show their indifference.

36. Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him [Jesus] to dine with him. And He entered the Pharisee's house, and reclined at the table.
 
37. And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume,
 
38. and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume.
 
39. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner."

This Pharisee is showing his hardness of heart, for he has no love for this woman, nor does he have any love for Jesus.
 
We are told to love God with all our heart and soul, which would mean that we also have to love the whole of His creation, which includes both this woman, and who he thinks Jesus is.
 
These are the kinds of people who are also indifferent to the suffering of animals.
 
And, Christian indifference is no different.

40. And Jesus [knowing the Pharisee’s thoughts] answered and said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he replied, "Say it, Teacher."
 
41. "A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
 
42. "When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him more?" 
 
43. Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have judged correctly."

From Simon’s answer, we can see that he knows the answer, but just doesn’t seem to care; he’s indifferent to the plight and repentance of this woman.
 
So Jesus lays it out very plainly for Simon; let’s see how he responds.

44. And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair.
 
45. "You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet.
 
46. "You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume.

Jesus is showing Simon how deep this woman’s remorse and repentance is, and how little compassion Simon has…so He goes on…

47. "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."

This is the same kind of problem that exists with Christian indifference: their love and compassion is limited so they are indifferent to the suffering of others, particularly for the animals who they eat and wear.

48. And He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven." 

But the animals don’t need to be forgiven or pardoned as is done with a turkey at Thanksgiving, and which is extremely hypocritical; the animals are innocent.

49. And those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?"
 
50. And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Before we go on, let’s think about something that has filled the news this past week: a college student on a sports scholarship was found guilty of three counts of rape and sexual assault, yet the judge only sentenced him to 6 months in county jail instead of the 6 to 10 years in state prison recommended in the statutes. They exhibited more compassion for the convicted criminal than for his victim who continues to suffer.
 
The “good old boys” culture prevailed instead of justice.
 
This is the same kind of distorted justice and indifference that is expressed toward the billions of animals and millions of humans who suffer and die every year, and a large part of the problem stems from our clergy, whose Christian indifference is promoted and passed on to their parishioners.
 
Like the rape victim, the animals and the civilian casualties of our warring madness are the victims whom people should deeply care about, as the woman did who cried on Jesus’ feet.
 
We need to end all forms of Christian indifference, and start living and acting as true children of God.
 
Keep our thoughts about Christian indifference before us as we look at Luke 8:1-8.

1. And it came about soon afterwards, that He began going about from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God; and the twelve were with Him,

In the kingdom of God there is no Christian indifference, for the whole kingdom is filled with the heavenly and unconditional love of God, which is exactly what Jesus taught us about how we are to live here on earth; we are to bring our Father’s heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven.

2. and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
 
3. and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.

All of these people are trying to bring God’s heavenly will to earth as it is in heaven, and the sooner we learn to do this, the sooner we will end Christian indifference.

4. And when a great multitude were coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable:

True children of God can understand the messages contained in these parables.

5. "The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road; and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the air ate it up.
 
6. "And other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
 
7. "And other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it, and choked it out.
 
8. "And other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great." As He said these things, He would call out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." 
NASB

The seeds in this parable are the word of God, but the word is lost to all but the last group for only they are the true children of God who live in the heavenly will of their heavenly Father.
 
Within this group there is no Christian indifference, for each and every one of them feels the pain and suffering of the whole of creation and works diligently to free creation from its present corruption.
 
Now, let’s take a look at Galatians 2:11-21, and see if we can detect any Christian indifference.

11. But when Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned.
 
12. For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.
 
13. And the rest of the Jews joined him in hypocrisy, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy.

Let’s pause here for a moment and think about the basic problem.
 
Most of the early Jewish Christians were vegetarian, and we believe that most of these were vegetarians for reasons of compassion.
 
In contrast, most of the early Gentile Christians ate animal flesh, and the custom of the day was to sacrifice these animals to idols.
 
We also need remember that the Jews who did eat animal flesh only ate that which was sacrificed in the Temple or that had been kosher killed (the exception being “clean” fish); thus the Jewish Christians could have been from both of these groups, and in Galatia there was no Kosher killed animal flesh.
 
And, unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t tell us what the underlying problem was.
 
Paul believes that Peter was being hypocritical, but we also see the problem coming from the fact that Paul ate animal flesh as did the other Pharisees, which to us is the same as the Christian indifference we are talking about, and nowhere in the Bible have we seen any indication that Paul ever lost his indifference to the suffering of so-called food animals.
 
We also know from extra-biblical sources that James was a vegetarian.
 
When Peter finally left fishing after his encounter with the risen Jesus, we are not told if he also became a vegetarian for reasons of compassion, so we are left with this question unanswered.
 
Paul says that Peter ate with the Gentiles, which doesn’t mean that he ate the flesh that they ate, but when James and the others came, they may have told Peter that he was setting a bad example.
 
These are just some of the factors that we need to consider as we look at these Bible verses.

14. But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all, "If you, being a Jew, live like the Gentiles and not like the Jews, how is it that you compel the Gentiles to live like Jews?

The Bible teaches us that there are no such things as idols, or more specifically a god behind the idol, but there could be demons.
 
What Paul is saying is that there is no difference in the animal flesh of the Jews and Gentiles, and thus the Gentile and Jewish Christians can dine on it, but we believe that this is, in reality, promoting Christian indifference to the suffering of animals.
 
But again, we are not told what Peter’s actual position is in this matter.

15. "We are Jews by nature, and not sinners from among the Gentiles;
 
16. nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.

This is true, but it doesn’t take into consideration the suffering of the animals and the hardening of the hearts of the people toward the suffering of the animals.
 
In other words, it is still promoting Christian indifference.

17. "But if, while seeking to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have also been found sinners, is Christ then a minister of sin? May it never be!

We’re not sure whether or not this seeking to be justified is the end desire, as much as it’s seeking to be conformed into the peacemaking children of God that Jesus calls us to be, for it shows Jesus to be a minister of His Father’s heavenly will.

18. "For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor.
 
19. "For through the Law I died to the Law, that I might live to God.

This is living in the heavenly will of God and no longer being a part of the pain, suffering, and death that is rampant in this world, and which is responsible for killing millions of humans and billions of animals every year.

20. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
 
21. "I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly."
NASB

Righteousness does not come through the Law, but righteousness comes from living in the heavenly will of God, by grace, and being filled with His Holy Spirit and His unconditional heavenly love and compassion.
 
There is no Christian indifference in heaven.
 
There is no pain or death in heaven.
 
There is love and compassion for the whole of God’s creation.
 
Amen.

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