The title of this post reflects the subject of this post in the way only a verse from the Word can.
I have been thinking a lot about a post that my friend Suzanna made a few weeks ago. For the fullness of her post head here: www.ojandsuz.com.
Here's an excerpt from what she wrote:
For so many years, the church has thought that it is a good fit with society at large. Lots of church folks’ idea of “reaching out” is to befriend the world so very, very nicely that they might think church is kinda cool. You know, sneak attack. “I think like you, I look like you, I talk like you, I’m concerned about your issues, I even watch the same stank on TV you watch. On weekends, I pay $9.75 for it! See, if I can do this Christian thing, you can, too! Not as hard as you thought!” But God’s committed to His Son’s bride. So if she won’t kick the bedbugs out of her bed, God’s going to let ‘em bite!
It’s a bit circular. The church keeps trying to befriend the world, she’s chasing favor, chasing favor, chasing favor from man. She forgot that God said that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Obviously, He can’t hand His power over to enemies. No power, no converts. No converts, more befriending. More befriending, more enmity. What will end the cycle? When no matter how nice we play, we are abused, ridiculed, and offended, when they finally kick out the believing remnant from friendly society…well, the church will have to stand up. And see how lovely she is. Tall, overt, unapologetic, loving, truthful.
I think this clearly articulates the stance I have been coming to grips with in my own life these last few months....I am IN the world but I am not OF the world.
I have realized how LITTLE I, and the church are different from the rest of the world. If you were to look at my life most of the time, it would look very similar to my neighbors, who are very nice people but do not know the love of Jesus. That kind of scares me.
Statistics also confirm this. The church's divorce rate is right up there with everyone else's, we have abortions, we lie, we cheat, we steal, and we justify it saying "we are just sinners saved by grace." While that statement is true, it leaves out the fact that if we have had a TRUE saving relationship with Jesus, we WOULD be changed we WOULD be different.
I heard a preacher, an amazing guy named Paul Washer, give the analogy that if I was walking down the street and got hit head-on by a logging truck headed 65 miles an hour you would expect me to be changed. You would call me either insane or a liar if I claimed to have been hit like that and not affected. How much bigger and more powerful than a logging truck is our God???? Yet, so many of us are NOT changed. How can we claim to know God if we are not changed by knowing Him, if we are not different from our encounter with Him? We are either lying or crazy.
I think the church at large is facing this problem. We are whoring ourselves to the world and calling it "evangelism." There's even a whole new emerging church movement based on this principal. They question whether drinking, or swearing, or other similar things are wrong. What they are forgetting is that God called us to HOLINESS. He called us to be set apart. He called us to as aliens in a foreign land.
Oh, the world (and a lot of the church) cries out "That is legalism!" Since when did being obedient to the Word become legalistic? Since when did saving my mind from the filth that plagues this world become a bad thing? Since when did not wanting to suffer the consequences of sin become something wrong? Bottom line, we just doesn't want to be told what to do! We are rebellious at heart and we buck at anyone with a hint of authority in the church. We just want to be wooed and lulled into our false sense of security and not have to be accountable. We call it controlling when someone tells us what we're doing is wrong. It's all justification to be able to do our own thing.
I am not fully critical of the emerging church movement. Some of the issues they bring up are right on. Jesus does need to be relevant, and we do need to re-think what it means to be in community and our involvement in it, and we do need to rethink the way we do church. I agree that it's not right to just be holed-up in our little church buildings and let the world go by (many church's answer to the in the world but not of the world issue). I take issue with the whole idea that Jesus becomes relevant when we change who he was to fit with today's society. Jesus is relevant because HE IS THE ANSWER! You have marital problems, he's the answer! You have hurts that need to be healed, HE is the answer! He is the answer!
Power is what makes Jesus relevant. Becuase when Jesus came, he came in fullness of power.
Friends, we need Jesus' fullness of power. We need to be able to pray for people and have them set free of bondage, of disease, of hurts and wounds. We need miracle power again. Jesus said we would do greater things than he did and I certainly don't see that in my life! So, I have to ask why and begin to cry out!
Meanwhile, as for me and my house, we ARE going to look different. Not because I am better than my neighbors who don't know Jesus, or to earn my way into the Lord's favor, or because I am in bondage to legalism. I do it because I LOVE my saviour and I WANT to be like Him! I do it because He asks it of me and because I am so besotted with Him that I cannot help myself.