“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.” Psalm 143:10
“We as Christians have settled down to a comfortable kind of Christianity that demands very little and therefore, in turn, makes very little difference in the wider culture. When the world takes a step in our direction, we embrace it without a twinge of conscience. But a church that has made its peace with the world is incapable of changing it.” Irwin Lutzer – Who Are You to Judge?
Unless the 21st century church is willing to follow Jesus, according to His words in the Bible, we are simply a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. Looking to the world for acceptance and credibility, the church has become a leaner, meaner Bible teaching machine. We’ve changed our diets and rather than moving from milk to solid food, we’ve switched to non-fat milk, happily admiring our reduced body fat.
Rather than burdening ourselves or new converts with living as Christ taught (which is very demanding and often scary), we’ve written catchy pamphlets and books with titles like, “Ten Easy Steps to Living Like Christ” or “Ask Jesus, He Wants You to Succeed.” Today’s heroes of the church are not old fashioned like George Muller or Hudson Taylor who trusted God to supply all their needs and lived day by day, watching God bring what they needed. Rather, today’s heroes are famous, well-known, wealthy men and women filling the air waves with half truths and ideas of a Non-Fat Jesus, wanting to bless all who listen.
Following Jesus brings and requires life-change. Without Christ, the world is a dark place in need of His light and hope.
John 8:12 Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
John 17:13-21 (Jesus speaking to The Father) “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth. I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
Surely it is clear that Jesus expects all His followers to move on from milk to meat; not to non-fat worldly imitations that are supposed to draw the world into the church. Why would people seek answers in a church that emulates the world?
1 Cor. 3:1-8 Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t talk to you like spiritual people but like unspiritual people, like babies in Christ. I gave you milk to drink instead of solid food, because you weren’t up to it yet. Now you are still not up to it because you are still unspiritual. When jealousy and fighting exist between you, aren’t you unspiritual and living by human standards? When someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and someone else says, “I belong to Apollos,” aren’t you acting like people without the Spirit? After all, what is Apollos? What is Paul? They are servants who helped you to believe. Each one had a role given to them by the Lord: I planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow. Because of this, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but the only one who is anything is God who makes it grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together, but each one will receive their own reward for their own labor.
1 Cor. 3:18 Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.
1 Cor. 1:18 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.
1 John 2:15 Don’t love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them. Everything that is in the world—the craving for whatever the body feels, the craving for whatever the eyes see and the arrogant pride in one’s possessions—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world and its cravings are passing away, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.
Consider the following Scriptures spoken to early followers of Christ:
Hebrews 5:11-14 We have a lot to say about this topic, and it’s difficult to explain, because you have been lazy and you have’t been listening. Although you should have been teachers by now, you need someone to teach you an introduction to the basics about God’s message. You have come to the place where you need milk instead of solid food. Everyone who lives on milk is not used to the word of righteousness, because they are babies. But solid food is for the mature, whose senses are trained by practice to distinguish between good and evil.
Hebrews 6:11-12 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.
Hebrews 6:18-20 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us.
Are we looking to have our ears scratched and cuddle up comfy in front of the TV with our non-fat latte’s or are we looking for Jesus to strip us of all unrighteousness as we go through the furnace of trials to perfect us and make us more like Him? It’s our choice.