We have refused to fall at His feet to beg for forgiveness because we have fallen for the lie that we are entitled to it.
- Jim Shempert
My relationship with Christ is something I take great pride in. I work at it. It ebbs and flows, because of my devotion, not His. Sometimes it is easier than others. In some circles, it is accepted, but not popular. In others, it’s not accepted or popular. I’ve encountered as much of the latter in the Church as I have in the world. Admittedly, I am an evangelical. I am not passive about my faith. I don’t consider being a Christian a southern American principle. If I am a follower of the Nazarene, then more times than not, the world and the Church are not going to be in accord with His outlook. It has been that way since time immemorial.
A lot of my blogs focus on the sovereignty of God. In an age of “do whatever you want and it’s all ok,” we have lost sight of the divine dominion of Almighty God. This has always been true in the world, but today, the Church is not much different. The Church has fallen for the lie that the world tells, of there being no right and wrong, no absolutes, and no truth. My question for the nonchalant believer is, what is your faith placed in? What idol are you worshipping?
“You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep my commandments. “You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His Name (Exodus 20:37.)”
Most believers will recognize those as the first three of the Ten Commandments that were given to Moses. All three deal with the sovereignty of God, the separation of God and Man. Much of the Church now writes off the Old Testament as “pre-Jesus,” and, therefore irrelevant. Seeing how Jesus taught specifically on the Ten Commandments, I’m not sure that a true follower of Christ can simply write them off.
I talk to a lot of people of faith during the week. I use those chats to gain insight, to learn, to grow. I have a variety of spiritual mentors. Christianity isn’t just something I do on Sunday, it’s who I am as a person. I don’t understand why one would call themselves a Christian, and then not be passionate about it. One of the main parts of being a Christian is realizing your absolute need for the life-saving grace of Jesus Christ. Once accepting of that grace you are honor bound and mission-driven to share that message with others who need it.
How can you share it when you make no effort to be active in your faith? Sure, you can call yourself a Christian, but you could just as easily call yourself an aardvark. I am personally pained by all those who call themselves Christians but have no knowledge of the Christ that they profess. Todd Agnew may have said it the best I have ever heard when he sang, “If Ephesians says to imitate Christ, why do you look so much like the world?”
The Church, now and forever, must square itself with the fact that it is separate from the world. When the Church begins to imitate the world, to look like the world, to think the way the world thinks, then it is no longer the church. Many will tell you their favorite Bible verse in the blink of an eye. The most convicting, and, therefore, scary verses in the entire Bible to me is Matthew 7:22-23:
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
Not a few. Not a couple. Many. Jesus says that he will turn away those who are not truly His followers. This contradicts with the hippy Jesus image that a lot of churches paint nowadays. The “God is love” statement is true, but only when contrasted against the “God is just” statement. God is both love and justice. A friend and I were recently chatting and I said Jesus is equal parts love and justice. You have to choose which side you end up on. “No,” he said, “when you accept Christ, Christ receives the judgment that was meant for you, therefore you are the recipient of His love while He takes your judgment.” Its lofty ideas like this that the church is missing.
Many say that the church is faltering because our message no longer resonates. In truth, the church is faltering because it has abandoned the “city on the hill” approach that has worked since the time of Christ. The Church was never meant to agree with culture. If anything just the opposite is true. The Church was to be the gut check for culture, to reign in the evil of men. Now, the Church does well to get people to show up on Sunday mornings. Forget evangelism, calls for repentance and showing a clear distinction between good and evil. “We don’t want to judge.”
I agree, it is not our place to judge. It is our place to point the world to the One who will judge us all. The judgment will come down to a yes or no question. Did you know Jesus as your Savior? Our multi-option world thinks this line of thinking to be out of touch with reality. I am more than happy to be considered out of touch.
Psalm 14:1 reads, “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” The Church today, is guilty of the same sin. We have forgotten the God that we say we serve. We have abandoned His principles and still demand His prosperity. We have refused to fall at His feet to beg for forgiveness because we have fallen for the lie that we are entitled to it.
Here is what God says to the one who in his heart believes that he is God:
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth (Revelation 3:15-16).
Is that how you want God to describe you? If not, are you willing to change your ways so that He doesn’t?