The Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan
We have just finished the story of one who, having named the name of Christ, and been faithful to His cause, -one who paid the ultimate price for his faith. This next episode paints a very different picture: one of following "religion" when it is easy, convenient, and profitable.
Mr. By-Ends represents Christianity-lite, which turns out in the end not to be Christianity at all. When we read about Mr. By-ends and his friends, Mr. Hold-the -World, Mr. Money-Love, and Mr. Save-All, two professions come readily to mind: politicians and preachers. These are the two high-visibility porfessions that regularly give Christianity a black eye, by using Christianity to gain respectability, influence, or wealth. But one does not have to be Jim and Tammy Faye, or Robert Tilton to be convicted by these scenarios. To some degree, all of us who name the name of Christ, have to examine ourselves regularly to be sure we are not holding our faith wrongly, to our own advantage. The story as it unfolds in the next few pages nips at all of our heels. Here are just a few excerpts of those pages. I will post the entire chapter, plus the chapter titled "Demas" in my next post.
These last words spoken by Mr. Hold-the-World remind me of the famous quote by Jim Elliott "A man is no fool, who gives up what he cannot keep, in order to gain what he cannot loose."
Below, I have listed a number of scripture verses, in addition to those listed within the text, that we will use in connection with the discussion of this lesson
Matthew 7:13, 14 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.You cannot serve God and money.
Luke 9:24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
1 Timothy 6 . . .people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.