Yesterday, in Guilty As Charged, we began to compare the Jewish crowd at the trial of Jesus Christ with the people of today. But not just the people of today, but rather the church today.
It was my claim that while the Jews called for Jesus’ death they did not actually kill Jesus. It was Jesus’ choice to do the will of His father. It was His choice to go to the cross and pay the penalty for our sins. However, why they did not kill Jesus, they were guilty of three things.
1. Not recognizing Jesus as the Son of God;
2. Rejecting Jesus;
3. Being Mislead.
The world, but even worse, the church, is just as guilty today.
The church does not recognize Jesus as the Son of God? Sounds like an overly dramatic statement doesn’t it? Oh, she sure is theatrical, right? Well, hang with me a minute.
It is hard to talk about the church’s views without talking about the world’s view because, unfortunately, the world influences the church. The church has become so concerned with numbers, popularity, and attendance, that we have sacrificed our beliefs.
Yes, most churches still say that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. However, there is a big push right now to take that deity away from Jesus. After all, if we say Jesus was a mere prophet than it will be a lot easier for Christianity, Islam, and the Jewish Faith to come together. After all, we worship the same God, right? Wrong, but that is for another time. Seems far-fetched, but we know a one-world religion is coming. It states so in Revelation.
But I also see this transpiring in another way, a gentler way, a less obvious way. The world, and now the Church, is recreating Jesus or, better yet, making their own Jesus.
I am dumbstruck by the things I read on Facebook. Yes, I know this is no big revelation, but sometimes I do sit there SMH (shaking my head). I think there should be a rule that if you are going to post scripture on Facebook you must have stepped into a church in the last decade (and for more than just a wedding or funeral). I am even more stupefied by those who claim their Christians, and don’t seem to have the slightest grasp on who Jesus really was/is. Anyway, it seems people are just picking the parts of Jesus that they liked and are forgetting the rest. Much like we do with the rest of the Bible.
Jesus was all about love.
Jesus is our friend.
While these things are true, Jesus was more, much more than these things.
First off, Jesus put great emphasis on love. There is no doubt about it that Christians are supposed to love one another and love God above all else. However, there seems to be a new definition for love in and out of the church. To love someone does not mean I have to accept and condone everything they do. Jesus most certainly did not.
Oh, you remember the story of the woman who was caught in adulterous relations. Now, if you are on Facebook, I know you are familiar with this story, or at least part of the story. Well, anyway Jesus finds this women who is about to be stoned to death for being caught in adultery, and Jesus tells the crowd:
“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
The story goes on….
“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
And here’s the part that gets left off Facebook…………
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
Jesus doesn’t slap her on the back and send her back to her lover. No, he lets her know that she is forgiven but then instructs her to “sin no more.”
Hmmmmm……that sounds different from what gets reported on Facebook and, sadly, even in churches.
Jesus was about love, but he was also about holiness. We Christians must get better at loving while at the same time speaking truth. But that absolutely does not mean we accept the sin and condone the sin. We accept the sinner, but we stand up for truth. Jesus Christ certainly did.
Not convinced…….let’s go to the story of the woman at the well.
In John 4 Jesus finds a Samaritan women (the lowest of lows) at the well, by herself, at the hottest time of the day. Jesus knows she is there because she is hiding from others. He knows what she has done. She has multiple husbands and now is living with a man who is not her husband. Does this stop Jesus from talking with her? No. Not only does Jesus minister to this woman, but he uses her. Once he calls out her sins, and don’t be fooled, Jesus laid it all out there in love, she goes back and becomes on of the first women evangelists, leading others to accept Jesus as the Son of God.
Once again, this story is often told for the purpose of furthering the wrong agenda. Yes, Jesus accepted this woman and even used her in His ministry, but he did not accept her sins. This woman was changed by the encounter she had with Jesus. She did not go home to her live in boyfriend. Yes, Jesus loved her despite her ugly sins. No matter what she had done, Jesus was still willing to accept her if she accepted him. God loves us right where we are, despite the ugliness of our sins, but he does not expect us to stay there after our Jesus encounter. We too are called to then live a different life.
Secondly, we have come to see Jesus as a mere friend. We like to see Jesus as our best friend, our best buddy, the guy we can take anywhere with us. We forget that he is the 2nd part of the Holy Trinity. Yes, I said Holy. Jesus is Holy. Let’s face it there are some places Jesus’ just shouldn’t be, but that too is a story for another day.
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16)
Jesus is our friend, our confidant, the one who stands in the gap for us, but make not mistake about it. Jesus is holy and he does expect, no demands, us to be holy as well.
Yes, this side of Jesus is not liked by many. It certainly doesn’t promote the “love” agenda. It makes things a little more complicated.
I am very much concerned about the pull the world has on the church. I know many churches, including the Methodist Church, are looking to change their doctrines to be more “tolerant.” When they do, I most assuredly will leave the Methodist Church. Why? Because the word of God is the word of God. It cannot and should not be changed. Period. There are things I would like to change. It would make my life a lot easier if that whole “submission” thing was not in there. Sometimes I wish it was okay to gossip. Yep, sometimes I just love a good juicy story. I have been married over 18 years, and let me just say, there are days I wish divorce was an option. And in all honesty, I wish the whole “homosexual” issue wasn’t an issue. It would make my life as a Christian so much easier if we didn’t have to call out sin. And I know some of you are chomping at the bit about the whole “thou shall not judge” thing, so let me redirect you to a blog a wrote not all that long ago.
Yes, we Christians have a lot to learn about how to love like Jesus. There is no doubt that we are failing in that department. I’m studying Jesus. I’m trying to figure out how He did it. So far, I have no real answers. When I think of how to love like Jesus, I am reminded of this quote by Rich Mullins:
Yes, we Christians have a long way to go. That being said, we cannot go so far as to go against the word of God. That would not do anyone any good because we would be leading them to a false God and not the one true God. The world and even the “Church” will not dictate my faith. The word of God will be my lamp; the Holy spirit will be my guide; Jesus Christ will be my Lord and Savior. Period.
Have a great Tuesday,