Contend Earnestly: Genuine verses Counterfeit Christianity

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Genuine verses Counterfeit Christianity

I don't know about you but I am really tired of "playing church." I am tired of learning for the sake of learning. I am tired of reading my Bible for the sake of reading my Bible. I am tired of praying for the sake of praying. I am tired of singing for the sake of singing. I am tired of evangelizing for the sake of evangelizing.


You might be asking, "What are you talking about?" I want to do all these not for the sake of themselves, but because Jesus Christ died in my place to take away my sin. I want to know how corrupt I am, how nasty and dirty I am, how perverted I am so that I can know the love of God more. Only when we know that all their righteous deeds are like a menstrual rag (Isaiah 64:6) and that our mouths are full of deceit, that the poison of asps are under our lips and that we don't fear God, only then, will we stop "playing church." I am tired of going through the motions, doing it this way or that way cause, "that's how we have always done it!" I want, as the song says, "that old time religion." Cause you know what that old time religion did? It went out and saved souls with the all abiding word of truth! Think of it. Think of Luther, Calvin, Bunyan, Knox, Edwards, Whitefield, Wesley and Spurgeon. These men went out, they didn't stay where they were (unless they were like Bunyan and locked up), but went to the masses and preached to them Christ and Him crucified.

I am tired of "toying with religion" I want to be a Christian. Christ tells us what this looks like. First, He tells us that it is a religion that goes to the prisons, feeds and clothes the homeless, visiting the sick and welcoming them into your home(Matthew 25:31-46).

Do we truly understand that there are millions of people that Christ is gathering where He wants to use you and I to go and show them, yes I said SHOW them, the love of Christ. We love preaching about the love of Christ on the Lord's Day, but how many of us leave church and go and show people the love of Christ? We'll even write in on our blogs and tell it to our other Christian friends, then we'll sit down and watch a stupid TV show and laugh, while people are digging through trash cans and eating food that a cat just peed on. What are we doing?!

What is the reason that we study God's word, pray to God and debate different theology if we then just sit around and do nothing about it? Is this not Pharisaic at its best? I love to learn about God, to study about His word, to ask Him of His will, to debate different topics of theology, but if those things don't change us and cause us to go out and show and share Christ, what use is it?

How do we change? I contend that we must continue to preach the word on Sunday mornings all the time every week, no matter the year (2 Tim 4:2). We are to come together and worship our Creator together as God's people and thank Him that He didn't kill us this last week because of all our sin. Amazing in itself. But afterwards, we need to GO! We need to do exactly as Christ told us to do in Matthew 28:18-20, make disciples. Which means we don't just share Christ with someone and walk away, but we share Christ, then show them the love of Christ and aid them in their walk.

Where is our real religion?

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 1:27


Notice YOU VISIT THEM. You don't wait for them to come through the doors. Notice also that you will be amongst the sinners, as Christ was. Christ was among the sinner so much that the Pharisees said,

“The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’

But also notice that you can be among the sinners without engaging in sin. Our friend Justin heard a quote one time that said Christ ate with the tax collectors but that doesn't mean that he collected taxes with them. This is why James 1:27 ends with "to keep oneself unstained by the world." We are to be in the world but not be conformed to the world (1 John 2:15). Paul tells us:

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13


We must be in the world and impact the world, not let it impact us! We must associate with the immoral people! This word "associate" can mean to be intimate with someone. We are to intimately know the immoral man so that we can show them Jesus Christ!

I guess I am just tired of "playing church." My pastor has taught me a lot on this subject. He has taught me how to love, he has taught me how to care, he has taught me how to be a shepherd. Now I must do exactly what Paul told Timothy:

The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:2

The question is, am I a faithful man and do I suffer hardship for the cause of the cross of my Saviour?

We need to quit sitting on our comfortable couch and go encounter the broken man under the bridge eating trash. May he be won for the cause of Christ.

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
Romans 10:14


May God bless you today, and may you share with others His blessing.






4 comments:

David Shaw said...

Seth,

This is exactly what James 2:14-18 is dealing with - the working of our faith. I agree that we live in a time that those who know scripture know it fairly well and those that don't don't. What is suprising is that those who do know it don't put it into practice much. It is as if scripture is something to be "figured out" - like it is just another piece of literature. Scripture is poetic and beautiful but it is also a living document to be put into practice.

Since my wife and I have been looking for a church I have noticed that too many churches are going through the motions trying to look good instead of doing good.

Excellent post.

luvvom said...

Good post Seth! Do you have a plan on how you are going to fulfill the Great Commission? Do you live in a large city that has many homeless people? I live in a very small town but there is a larger town close to me. We have what is called State Street where some homeless people hang out. Maybe I will talk with my pastor and see if we could hand out some tracts. The problem with our church is that it only has 17 members. We are a small OPC so we don't have many resources...maybe you have some ideas. Anyway, I have a friend who has made this her life's work. She sets up booths on the sidewalks in different cities and tells people about Christ. Her site is www.lightingthewayworldwide.org I really want to go visit her sometime and learn how she does it. It should disturb us that Christ isn’t being proclaimed everywhere! Thanks, sarah

Barry said...

Seth,
That is where the rubber meets the road. I know what you are going through. We were in a mega church a few years ago. (Not saying yours is) But it did not focus on getting folks involved in ministry. When we found Omaha Bible Church we really liked what we saw and heard so we asked about the next step. The next step was the "Getting Started" class lead by the senior pastor. The class introduces you to the churches' doctrine and the pastor. In the last class he talked about all of the ministry opportunities at OBC, and to our pleasant surprise he passed around a form for us to fill out. This form, along with a place for writing out your salvation testimony, contained questions that helped steer you toward getting involved in a ministry.

Since then we have become involved in many.
My wife serves in the bookstore, and tape ministry. Our daughter serves in the nursery. I serve in the web site ministry, usher, help greet folks with my wife, and recently the Lord has allowed me to begin serving as family outreach coordinator in our prison ministry. I hope to be in a position someday to teach inside the prisons.

I pray you do not see this as anything but a boast for the grace of God. We are just so amazed having come from a church with no focus on ministry to "this is who we are as a local church" attitude toward ministry at OBC.

Arthur Sido said...

Sara,

My church is a small church in a very small town but we are in a community that has lots of needs. We run a food pantry and really we accomplish a lot of good with minimal resources. There are lots of generous organizations who help out. Our big challenge is turning a food pantry into a tool to effectively evangelize those who come. If we feed them physically but not spiritually we are missing the boat.

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