“I’m A Christian!’ Oh, Really?

I am sure that if you listen to popular culture, there is an artist by the name of Justin Bieber. According to Wikipedia Bieber was discovered by his current manager, Scooter Braun through some YouTube videos. Braun was so impressed with the videos, he tracked down Bieber’s mother, Patricia Mallette and finally convinced her to work with him. Braun arranged for Bieber to meet with singer-songwriter Usher, and now, the rest is history.

What is intriguing is that when he was 12 years old, Bieber sang in a local singing competition and was placed second. Mallette posted a video of that performance on YouTube for their family and friends to see. She continued to upload videos of Bieber singing covers of various R&B songs, and his popularity on YouTube grew.

Somehow, Braun tracked down the theater Bieber was performing in, located Bieber’s school, and finally found bieber’s mother. Now when Braun first talked to her about Justin, she was quite reluctant because Braun was Jewish. Bieber had been raised in Catholic schools and his mother remembered praying, “God, I gave him to you. You could send me a Christian man, a Christian label!” and “God, you don’t want this Jewish kid to be Justin’s man, do you?” However, church elders convinced her to let Justin go with Braun. And at 13, Bieber went to Atlanta, Georgia, with Braun to record demo tapes. Bieber began singing for Usher one week later.

Well, to bring you up to today, Bieber has professed faith in Jesus. He professed how he “loves Jesus Christ and it has nothing to do with promoting religion. Basically, I don’t even consider it religion,” the 16-year-old pop singer recently told the Associated Press. “Like, I’m a Christian, I believe in God, I believe that Jesus died on a cross for my sins. I believe that I have a relationship and I’m able to talk to him and really, he’s the reason I’m here, so I definitely have to remember that. As soon as I start forgetting, I’ve got to click back and be like, you know, this is why I’m here.”

But folks have been asking whether his faith was real, or just part of a slick publicity package?

Well, according to Movie Guide coordinating editor Jeff Holder,

“Justin’s mother recently went on record about the faith of her famous son and their family. His mom, Pattie Mallette, had an encounter with God when she began attending a non-denominational Christian church. She was part of starting Jubilee Christian Fellowship and sang on the worship teams.

“She raised Justin to know God and he now professes a faith in Jesus. While there may be ‘stage mothers’ who are praying to God for their children to be a media success, Pattie and Justin never prayed for that. In fact, they tried to go slow as success began to come and have concluded that Justin’s singing career is God’s will and the plan for him,” writes Holder. “Patti says, ‘I want people to pray for him – and for me. I’m his ‘covering.’ He’s my son and a minor. I’m held accountable by God and by the law to protect him, which includes covering him spiritually, because there are spiritual laws.’”

Then I read on Belief.net:

She [Bieber’s mother] told Baptist Press that she keeps him grounded through prayer, by surrounding him with good people, and by “constantly reminding him that he’s here for a reason.”

“Justin has a strong faith,” she told Holder, “but he’s young and hasn’t come completely into himself yet. He has free will like the rest of us and will ultimately make his own choices. But what I can do is continue to pray and surround him with strong Christian and moral influences.”

He blesses crowds at the conclusion of his concerts by exclaiming, “Jesus loves you!” He often prays for his fans and says he would like his fans to pray for him.

When he accepted the male artist award at the Teen Choice Awards on Sunday, he lost no time in giving Jesus a mention. “I wanna say that anything is possible if you set your mind to it,” he declared, grasping the award’s blue-and-yellow surfboard that towered over him by several inches. “You gotta keep God first and always remember to keep family first.”

According other reports, Bieber says that he has a personal relationship with the Son of God and that it is just part of who he is. Which is actually quite promising for those who are attempting to find good role models for their children. But recently, in “The View,” Candace Cameron Bure said, “I think it’s important to remember that when someone says they’re a Christian, it doesn’t mean they’re perfect. They are just a recognized sinner in need of God’s grace.”

She continued, “And so that’s all Justin was saying. He recognizes that.”

She went on to explain that he has made mistakes in the past and will still do so, but that we should applaud him and encourage him to continue to be a good role model. Which is something I would strongly agree with, and in fact, will go further and said that we need to add him to our personal prayer lists. Because we should know by now, because of the culture in which he is now immersed, he needs the support of every believer.

Just to show you how up-to-date on modern culture I am, I never heard of him until I read an open letter to Justin Bieber, from Dr. Michael Brown. Brown was explaining what I have often discussed, that it is great for someone in the public eye to talk about Jesus and to not be ashamed to say that they want to “live like Him.” However, with all of the pressures, temptations and anti-Christian culture they have placed themselves, they are  not going to find the support they need. Far too many start out strong for the Lord, but they need our love, support and prayers to remain strong.

You see, Dr. Brown spoke in very a positive way, in his letter, but he had to address what many ignore, what does it mean to “live like Him“? What does it mean to be a true Christian? Does the way we “carry ourselves and behave matter“? Can we even reasonably think that a follower of Jesus will live differently than the world?

You see, it is easy to recognize that we still fall short of God’s expectations and that we are in constant need of God’s grace. But, is professing faith in Jesus enough? I being honest. Do you remember what Jesus He said to His disciples,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Never commit adultery.’ But I can guarantee that whoever looks with lust at a woman has already committed adultery in his heart.

“So if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose a part of your body than to have all of it thrown into hell. And if your right hand leads you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose a part of your body than to have all of it go into hell” (Matthew 5:27-30).

Did He say that just for dramatic effect? Or was He proclaiming a reality of His Kingdom? What about when He said:

““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the person who does what my Father in heaven wants” (Matthew 7:21)

I’ll tell you what, if you want to know what His Father really expects, then read chapters 4-6 of Matthew’s Gospel. Ooh, ooh. Then turn over to the 14th and 15th chapters of John’s Gospel. They seem pretty clear to me:

If you love Me, keep My commandments”

“You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 14:15; 15:14)

My dear friends, I fully recognize that we are not saved by works but rather through the grace our Father offers us. Which we receive through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). But the proof of real faith is that we live a transformed life. As James bluntly stated, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

So don’t simply presume you are reborn into our Savior’s Kingdom if there is no evidence of it in your life. I have told you many times that you are either trying to get away from your sin, or trying to get away with your sin. It is matter of your heart.

Paul taught the same thing when he told King Agrippa that this had been his lifelong message: “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds” (Acts 26:20).

Jesus made it clear when He said, “Do those things that prove you have turned to God and have changed the way you think and act” (Matthew 3:8). In his letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul stated that true Christians separate themselves from “any man who is called a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. Do not even eat with such a person” (I Corinthians 5:11).

However, when it came to the world, Paul said, we should not judge sinners, meaning that we should not separate ourselves from them but rather be ambassadors of reconciliation to them. However, when it came to those who claimed to be followers of Jesus, he was very clear that more was expected of them:

“Let everyone who calls on the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (II Timothy 2:19)

Or more in context:

Do your best to present yourself to God as a tried-and-true worker who isn’t ashamed to teach the word of truth correctly. Avoid pointless discussions. People who pay attention to these pointless discussions will become more ungodly, and what they say will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are like that. They have abandoned the truth. They are destroying the faith of others by saying that people who have died have already come back to life.In spite of all that, God’s people have a solid foundation. These words are engraved on it: “The Lord knows those who belong to him,” and “Whoever worships the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it” (II Timothy 2:15-19)

The miracle of grace is that not only does our God forgive us for all our sins through the cross, but He also empowers us to lead a new life so that we truly become new creations (II Corinthian 5:17). That’s right. We no longer deal with our “old nasty self,” we live our renew and rejuvenated and rescued life of devotion and dedication to holy living!

So, When it comes to Justin Bieber, it is clear that he is still living like the world (just watch his latest music videos), but that doesn’t mean we oppose him or attack him. We need to be praying for him. If not for the sake of his influence in the world, but as a brother in Christ!

Come on. Try to picture the amount of temptation he faces every day? Can you imagine what it would be like to be a teenager with the world at your fingertips and with millions of people adoring you? I have difficulty imagining that many of us would have stayed pure at that age with so much success, fortune and opportunity. So no, we are not condemning him. We are just trying to point out the need in his life (and our own needs, as well).

Regarding Dr. Brown’s open letter to Bieber, he was simply encouraging him to truly know the Lord and live a godly life, not just for his sake but for the sake of the millions who follow him.

For me, I am simply coming against that great modern grace deception that proclaims, “Regardless of how you live or what you do, as long as you believe in Jesus, you pass.” That is not true! If you have hanging onto that belief, just know that you have been deceived. You need to know that the Lord never said, “”Affirm yourself, bypass the cross, and I’ll follow you.” No! He said, “”Deny yourself, take up the cross, and follow Me!”

It is my responsibility as an ambassador of my Lord (and the responsibility of every disciple), to live in such a way and preach in such a way that we set the record straight. One gospel saves people; the other damns them! Which one are you following?

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts
It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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