Modern Version of Christianity 1

Values which Christ has declared to be false are brought back into evangelical favor and promoted as the very life and substance of the Christian way. How eagerly do we seek the approval of this or that man of worldly reputation. How shamefully do we exploit the converted celebrity. A.W. Tozer

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 “You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. 29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!… 32 “Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. 33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?

When Christ took up human flesh on this planet and was the very tabernacle of God walking around, He was hated. He came and confronted the religious elite of that day and He was not timid or “nice” about how He did it. He called them “hypocrites” and “whitewashed tombs” and many other things that seemed to be intended to provoke them, though indeed in true kindness He may have been trying to open their eyes to their sin. The point is, however, that the one that proclaims truth is not to be swayed concerning the popularity of the issue. Christ pointed out sin many times by poking people in the eye rather than beating around the bush.

In the modern version of Christianity, however, we are too nice to speak against sin and too nice to speak with clarity and authority. The Lord Jesus did not value positive thinking so much as truth and love. The Lord Jesus did not think of being nice (in the modern sense) as a controlling power in His speaking. But also, He did not seek the favor of the political establishment either. He was there to love and glorify His Father by saving His people. When the rich young ruler came to Him, He did not bow to the man’s wealth or position, He spoke truth to the man. As the man turned to walk away, Jesus did not go after the man and water the message down. He did not plead with the man to come back or anything like that. He did not need that man’s money or influence, but instead He spoke the truth to the soul of that man.

The modern version of Christianity appears to be as oriented to celebrities and money as the world is. Instead of understanding and appreciating the Scriptures which teach us that truly the greatest among us is the one that is the most humble, it appears that the louder and more obnoxious a person is the more attention one gets and the bigger the sales of the books and CD’s and the like. It appears that people crave the unusual and the obnoxious rather than the humble. Of course people could say that Jesus was obnoxious, but that would be in a far different way. He did not use vulgar language and He did not speak with racy overtones, He simply spoke the truth. He did not focus on being outrageous, but in speaking the truth He was hated.

The Lord Jesus, who was perfectly humble and was love incarnate, was hated. For some reason we desire to be popular among the religious folks and among the world as well. It seems that we think that if we can be popular that we can gain a hearing and that this will influence people to make decisions and this will give us a greater influence in the world. We think that those with big names will come in and will give us greater influence and will gain more converts. We seek the wisdom of men of the world. But Christ did nothing like that at all. He sought the approval of His Father and no one else. The humble heard Him and they were glad. Broken sinners heard Him and were glad. Perhaps there are great lessons here for people to learn. The famous and the proud will oppose the truth that Jesus taught. Only the humble and the broken will listen. Will we repent of seeking to be celebrities and preach and teach against pride and hold up humility and brokenness and our own inability and weakness? God must turn hearts and make the proud into little children or people will not be converted.

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