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A Warning to My Church: The Hidden and Sinister Danger of “Casual Christianity”

August 29, 2018

 

A Warning to My Church:  The Hidden and Sinister Danger of “Casual Christianity”

One of my weaknesses, or character flaws I have, in interpersonal relationships, is that I tend to be too trusting of people and their motivations (Yes, it IS a weakness!).   On the one hand, from 1 Corinthians 13:17, (“{Love} always trusts”) we are to be so loving in our actions and intentions that we assume the best of people when their motivations are not known.  We are held accountable of our actions by others, as God is the sole Judge of the Heart.  Yet we also recognize that “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure”, which is affirmed by Jesus (Jeremiah 17:9, Matthew 15:19). If we hold to a biblical worldview, we understand that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).

 

This is intended to inform both how we live in the Church, and in the world.  No one is beyond the sinister reaches of ongoing sin, Christians included.  A casual consideration of personal sin minimizes its deadly effects and tramples upon the very sacrifice Christ made for us (Hebrews 6:6).  One of the greatest blunders of Christians in Europe, with far-reaching consequences, was the politicization of Christianity.  One of the greatest dangers of American Christianity, lies in the casual approach to the Christian Life: an “easy-believism”, “cheap grace” or “cultural Christianity” which fails to “count the cost” (Luke 14:26-33) of what it truly means to put Christ first.  With this casual approach to the Christian life, we put ourselves at risk for all kinds of dangers; the worst of them being among those who fall away from the faith.

 

When most of the crowds following Jesus discovered how difficult it was to follow Him, and began leaving, Peter rightly declared, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).  Jesus identified that there is a type of spiritual climate, or condition of the heart, that turns away from Him during times of testing (Luke 8:13).  The apostles recognized this reality, and long passages of scripture are dedicated to addressing the topic of perseverance in the faith, with the book of Hebrews dedicated to the specific issue of those who were considering leaving the faith of Christianity and going back to Judaism.  Leaving the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and going back to…the majority!

 

All that to say this: WE are equally if not more in danger of leaving the Source of Life, if we do not recognize the very real and present danger!  The Catholic abuse scandals and the news of Bill Hybels and his leadership team from Willow Creek Church stepping down is just the tip of a massive iceberg!  It begins with our view of God, Man, and Truth.  Who gets to define these for you? (Because I believe that the reality of God is evident, and that our world is best explained through the Bible, for me, HE does!)  Therefore, I need to carefully consider the Word of God in its entirety, and not let the realities around me be defined by simply by cultural values.  Yet for so many, Christianity is more of an add-on to their everyday lives, as defined by the majority values around them.

 

Based upon biblical truths, Christians are commanded to “live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4, Rom 1:17, 2 Cor 5:7, Galatians 2:20, 3:11, Hebrews 10:38), that is trust in what God has already disclosed, over that which runs contrary to Him. 

 

So for every generation of Christian, within their culture, they are warned to protect what they have:       1 Cor 10:12  So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!   

Hebrews 4:1  “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it.” Matthew 7:15  "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  Acts 20:29 “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.”

 

Constant Dangers from selfishness, from persecution, from false teaching; even in a time of unprecedented prosperity and affluence, do we really dare to be “casual” in our Christianity?  We need to know the Truth where the majority questions it.  We need to live His radical love where the world seeks to define it.  We need to prioritize our time together as a Body of Christ as most seek to minimize it.  We need to be People of Prayer and People in God’s Word even as the secular forces mock it.  We need to live for eternity even with all that pressure to live for the now!

 

I invite you carefully consider these warnings with one’s own life, to see that you are equipped and wearing your armor in an increasingly antagonistic society, all the while winsomely engaging it!  

 

This Fall, 2nd hour (11-11:45 Sundays), we will be looking at the book of Revelation, particularly the future promises and prophecies contained within, and how it relates to the 7 churches (and us) in the present!  Because of these realities by which we define ourselves, we are privileged to be People of Hope, looking ahead, and so this benediction also speaks to us through the danger:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

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