The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity],Unfortunately, there is a continuation of a politically motivated mindset that is distracting Christians from this calling and setting their focus upon things that not only do not help those whom the Lord has called us to reach, but it makes the church into a laughingstock in the sight of the atheists and those who would criticize the truth of the gospel.
Luke 4:18 [AMP]
For example, there are those who are going back and rewriting history for questionable reasons. For example, Snopes noted a revision of the writings of George Washington that inserted content to make the Founding Father’s message seem more of a religious statement than originally drafted. Since when has twisting the truth been necessary to advance a Christian message? This is something that the atheists, agnostics and others jumped on, a potentially embarrassing situation.
As we mentioned in the book, it is interesting how much bad press Moslems get when radicals commit atrocities in the name of Islam. But even worse publicity is rising when people calling themselves Christians commit such atrocities.
Think about the people who believe God would have them to shun those who look different than they.
A good friend told me that he, along with his wife and children, were told to leave a church they were visiting because of their skin color… despite the fact that they were ministers in that very same denomination.
People do crazy things like that all the time and slap the label of “Christianity” on top of it. And when that happens, the atheists have a good time at the Lord’s expense.
The good news is that, if Saul could be turned around by an encounter with the risen Savior (he later became known as the Apostle Paul, writer of a large percentage of the New Testament), then imagine what wonderful things would happen in our society if those who populate churches each week would actually get past the empty practice of liturgy and, rather, get in touch with Jesus on a personal level.
Can you imagine it?
Christians practicing love instead of hatred?
Christians seeking manifestations of Christ’s righteousness and not self-righteousness?
Christians who judge the beam in their own eyes rather than judging the speck in someone else’s?
The sad reality is that people like Saul of Tarsus will walk into houses of worship, kill people, and assume that God were pleased. However, if God wanted someone dead, he could manage that without anyone’s help. But killing people is not what God is about.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2nd Peter 3:9 [NKJV]
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the Goodness of God leads you to repentance?A Christian filmmaker recently produced a documentary entitled, “Lord Please Save Us from Your Followers.” That film explores the schism between the foundational beliefs of this country and the personal beliefs of its citizens.
Romans 2:4 [NKJV]
In the film’s trailer, you can see clips of people with bullhorns protesting the “tyranny” of those insane Christian fanatics. But did Jesus suffer and die on the cross for people to practice tyranny or insane fanaticism? Unfortunately, there are way too many people who wear the Christian label and demonstrate behaviors that feed the atheists’ hatred for our God.
The Christian label?
You may faithfully go to church Sunday after Sunday. The reality, however, is that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonalds makes you a cheeseburger. Jesus put it this way:
But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquityWhoa! That’s a pretty deep scripture to be throwing around. But the bottom line is that if all we are accomplishing is making it easier for atheists and practitioners of other religions to blaspheme the Lord (2nd Samuel 12:14), then we need to seriously evaluate what it is we profess to believe in.
Luke 13:27 [NKJV]
More importantly, we should evaluate whether our behavior lines up with what should be our belief system.
It has been said that without fuel, a fire cannot burn. You need oxygen or wood or flammable gas or some other combustible substance in order to create and/or maintain a fire. Well then, if we are feeding the atheists with the fuel to support their rejection of God, then what does that make us?
And, what would that inspire the Lord to say to us when we stand before Him?