Dr. Caner says God is devoted, not detached
by Vicky Kaniaru
CLEVELAND, Ga. (TMCNews) -- "It's not about you being good, it's about you being his," said President Emir Caner at Truett-McConnell College's Jan. 12 chapel service.
In a sermon titled "Kind Strangers or Known Children," Caner expounded from 2 Cor. 5:14-20 and asked the audience, "What do you as an individual expect of he who is sovereign?"
Caner noted that, in different areas of the world "people expect different things of the gods they worship."
Portraying the lives of billions around the world who worship idols, Caner read a parable he wrote titled "The Parable of the Lost Boy" that illustrates the detachment experienced by those who worship false gods.
The parable entails a young boy kidnapped from his front yard. The boy's father saw the event, followed the perpetrator's car, and immediately discovered where the boy was held. But the father did nothing to rescue his son. Rather, in the ensuing years and from a distance, the father observed his son grow up.
Years later, the father and son meet. The son run and hugs his father, asking why he was never rescued. The father assures his son that he caught up to the stranger's car that tragic day.
"But Daddy, you never rescued me. You never saved me. And Daddy, there are things that happened that I could never forget. Why didn't you rescue me?"
"I know, Son. But I want you to know that I was there watching you grow up and become a good man. I wanted you to be a good person. That's all I expected of you."
"But Daddy, I wasn't looking to be good. I was looking to be like you. I just wanted to be with you."
"That's exactly what the gods of this world promise," said Caner, adding, "You and I were not created to be good; we were created to be sons and daughters of God."
Quoting C.S Lewis, Caner said that God became man to turn creatures into sons, and not simply to produce better men of an old kind, but to produce a new kind of man.
Drawing from the text, Caner declared the five passions of the love of Christ, commencing with this fact: "No child in this world is outside the love of Christ."
"If one died for all, then all died," said Caner, adding that "there are not 'haves' and 'have-nots' in the kingdom of God."
"For you to deny that for someone else is to deny what Jesus did for them," he said, noting that Christ "stretched out his arms, and they were broad enough for the worst of sinners, which places all of us in that category."
Caner added that Christians who live selfishly advertise to the world that Christ's death was insufficient. The world is dimmed from who Christ is simply because believers don't live as if Christ died and rose again for us, he said.
Successes will not bring others to Christ, and your own enjoyment will never bring you ultimate joy, added Caner, who reiterated that Christianity is not comparing yourself to others and finding yourself worthy. "Christianity says, 'Look who I was and what God is making me,'" he said.
Believers should also hold that every person is valuable in the eyes of God, he added.
"Do you know what it means to regard someone to the flesh?" Caner said. "You look at them for their skin color, you look at them for their socio-economic determination, [and] you look at them for their outward appearance."
"Mark my words, if that's how you view people, you are not living like Christ," he said, cementing that if believers have racism, ageism or any type of prejudice in them, they are out of the will of God.
Contrasting the false gods of the rest of the world's religions with the God of Christianity, Caner said God isn't sitting "by the road watching you be a good person. He doesn't tap you on the shoulder with a minor blessing. He became flesh and he dwelt among us. We beheld His glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
Concluding that believers ought to hold fast that their words are the words of eternal life, Caner said the purpose of life is to share God's salvation with others.
Caner shared the true story of April Becker, a woman searching for her father. A product of divorce, April never knew her father, Scott Becker, who had spent thousands of dollars looking for April. After finding many Scott Beckers on the Web, April searched for "Scott Becker looking for April." A hit -- www.aprilbecker.com. On the site was this statement: "April Becker, I'm your daddy; I really want to meet you."
Scott later said, "April, I never stopped looking for you. I never forgot about you. Never ever."
"If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior, you can hear your heavenly father say, 'I never ever stopped looking for you,'" Caner said. "And he sweetly tells you this morning, 'Come unto me and I will give you rest. I'll be your daddy, and you can put yourself in my arms, and I will never ever let you go.'"
"Being good will never be good enough," Caner said. "You were created to be like your heavenly father. That's why Christ says, 'Be holy as I am holy.' It's not an action, it's a new life."
Vicky Kaniaru is senior staff writer at Truett-McConnell College.