Christians often get stuck preaching a gospel against sin instead of sharing the Gospel of Jesus. Joey wants to talk about the instruction book we Christians are giving to the world, because it looks like it's a book we wrote, not the one God gave us.
I was jogging with my iPhone in my jacket pocket when I realized my pocket wasn’t very deep. How did I realize this, you ask? My phone flew out mid-run, that’s how. Why did it have to fall RIGHT in a puddle of rain? As quickly as I could, I grabbed it out only to see the screen was completely shattered. The Apple store confirmed that water got in too. That same day, I bought a new iPhone. I need it. Sure, some countries need clean water. I need my iPhone. After turning in $300 and some tears, I was back on track with life: me, iPhone, God, family, and friends.
As I was opening the box, I pulled out the instruction booklet, thinking to myself that there’s no chance in all of hell that I will ever read a word in this book. I didn’t read it with my first iPhone, and I won’t do it now. I would rather watch The Bachelor with Pricilla (AND eat some of her hummus) than look through instruction booklets. Okay, I’m exaggerating; I can never eat hummus. But the point is, I don’t want to read from someone telling me how to use my phone. I want to live it and enjoy it now.
Christians often try to be the instruction manuals to the world. Major issues here. There is simply nothing enticing about rules, regulations, what you should do, need to do, or what people should stop doing.
Can we just admit something here? I love the church, but we have done a piss-poor job presenting the truth of the gospel.
I’ve heard it all. “Don’t wear shorts,” “Don’t listen to secular music,” “Don’t say ‘shoot’ because what you really mean is ‘the S-word,’” “If you watch the Super Bowl instead of going to Sunday night church then you aren’t committed to God,” and even, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself for not reading your Bible today, failing to pray, and/or attending church this past Sunday.”
Excuse me. WTF (frick). Did you just say ashamed?
Like as in…shame? The same “shame” talked about in Romans 10:11, “People who trust Jesus will never be put to shame?”
Jesus doesn’t shame those who trust Him as Savior.
Yet the fear of being shamed is exactly the type of reason why people stay away from church. People aren’t attracted to feeling bad about their lifestyle or being judged, they don’t want to have to conform to a certain way of life, and they definitely don’t want to stop enjoying life.
“Feeling bad,” “judgment of sin,” “changed lifestyle,” and forfeiting sinful pleasures are all good, but NONE of these, mind you, have anything to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Since Matt, Toby, and I have been doing BadChristian, all mega church pastors have been begging us to come speak at their churches. Wait, just kidding. Just a couple. Actually. None. Okay, let me start all over…
Since Matt, Toby, and I have been doing BadChristian, there seems to be a knee-jerk reaction that sounds like, “You guys can’t do this. You guys can’t call Christians ‘bad.’ You guys are messed up to lead Christians towards a life of apathy in pursuing righteousness.”
And here’s the BIG ONE:
“If the church is lackadaisical in this area of pursuing righteousness, we’ll appear to have nothing that the world desires. We’ll just seem like a bunch of hypocrites that preach against the very things we do. Who wants to partake in that hypocrisy?!”
This viewpoint is backwards. People outside the church typically don’t desire to have “what we have” because “what we have” is typically “a set of rules that we want them to follow.”
Why are we trying to be the instruction manuals to the world? We are missing grace as the frontline and centerpiece of the gospel message, and I’m afraid that we are not offering anything to be desired.
We are actually leading people astray by preaching a false gospel.
BadChristian doesn’t downplay the pursuit of righteous living. Hell nah, we actually disregard it altogether… as the starting point.
Accepting Jesus as Savior and having a relationship with Him is the starting point, and this doesn’t include the need to figure out right from wrong. It starts with new life. Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. He is our life.
Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3)
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
Wanna hear an enticing set of statements?
The creator of the universe loves you just the way you are.
He is willing to save you without you having to do anything or change in any way.
He has a place prepared for you where the cares, worries, sicknesses, sins, and diseases of this world are gone forever.
Once you belong to Him, He’ll never stop loving you.
And until you die, He will never give up in His pursuit of making you a better person.
I mean, even if you do not believe this, you’ve gotta admit this sounds really, really good.
Christians are afraid of people being truly free in Jesus. But it’s exactly what Jesus came to bring. Without freedom, all of our pursuits for righteousness will end in frustration and/or pride – for its root will be legalism.
The world hates legalism. The church should too.