Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hip or Holy?

The Apostle Paul loved lost people and gave his life to preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ Jesus -- going to the Gentile world as far as he could, as fast as he could. His zeal to see men saved has served as an inspiration for centuries. Paul, who went up on Mars Hill in Athens and preached to the philosophers of the day, who went to the marketplace, and house to house, who planted and pastored churches and made disciples -- yes, that Paul -- wrote these words:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said, "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people."
"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

How do we reconcile this teaching with the thinking that we see so prevalent in the evangelical world today? We are encouraged to be like the world -- to talk like the world, to dress like the world, to engage in the world's amusements (and idolatry), to look like the world, to mimic the culture in our churches (from the architecture, to the interior design, to the music, to the graphics) and lives -- all in the name of "trying to win some." We must be "missional".

Do we win the world by being like the world? By catering to the world? To feeding our flesh and theirs? Do we dumb-down the message just to make it easy to swallow for lost people?

Or do we follow the teaching of God's Word -- "come out from them and be ye separate."? Should we not preach the whole counsel of God -- His holiness and wrath on sin as well as His mercy and grace? It seems the message of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount was for His followers to be different.

Are we guilty of the charge that Jesus made to Peter -- are we more mindful of the things of man than we are the things of God? Who is the focus of our worship, our lives, our churches? Seekers or God? Are we man-centered or God-centered? Is our concern to be hip or holy? To be relevant at all cost or to be righteous?


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