Our culture has hijacked our faith, given it a make-over and has begun selling it for cheap.
See, for Paul it wasn’t about the church making much of him. It was about him making much of Jesus…and for all he cared, he and all he did was worthless compared to simply knowing Jesus.
For us, a two-week trip to the third-world to share the gospel is generally a culturally accepted thing—it’ll get you applause and maybe even a newspaper article if your town is small enough.
Yet for the early church, they had no choice but to become missionaries; right after Stephen’s death, such a great wave of persecution arose because of their “Radical Christianity” that the believers fled for their lives to other nations, carrying the Gospel with them. They didn’t plan their trip, make a budget or take little bottles of hand sanitizer with them…they only took the Gospel…and they took it into every place they went—even as they were running for their lives.
Their attitude was captured in Peter and John’s bold statement to their persecutors:
“Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot help but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
They were not interested in joining popular justice movements, environmental preservation clubs or wearing anything that made them seem trendy…they had one-track minds: Jesus’ death and resurrection for the redemption of all nations and the glorification of God. That was it. And they were so compelled to tell the Good News that they proclaimed it to men in power who were threatening to put them to death.
The Gospel was the hill they would literally die on, and there was nothing cool about it. The world hated them for it.
Here is where Sexy Christianity starts to crumble:
When a believer is more interested in the idea of loving Jesus than actually loving Jesus, then that is not Christianity.
And we ought to wage a war of wrath upon it—mortifying, dismembering and crucifying it, and then putting it in a tomb where it belongs. We ought to react in unconcealed hatred for it because it steals praise from God and puts it upon men, even if only in the most subtle and unassuming ways. Jesus told His disciples to “beware the leaven of the Pharisees.” That is, to beware of the subtle poison of the flamboyant religion of the Pharisees…because it would destroy the whole body.
Just as a Pharisee would make much of their tithes and their theological knowledge, so today many seek the glory that comes from spiritual-looking behavior.
As Martin Luther once said,
“A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing and suffers nothing is worth nothing.”