A bunch of years ago, I worked at an upscale beauty salon and heard a curious question: The hairdresser asked her client, “When I highlight your hair, what do you want people to see?” This hairdresser was asking her client what she wanted other people to think when they saw her as their ‘first impression’ of her. This is a great lesson on what people think of us at first glance or impression and that we can change what we look like to garner an opinion, good or bad. In other words, if someone saw you on the street or the mall today, would they see a Christian? Are you sure?
Paul said, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
While researching this subject, I came across many ‘secularized christian’ denominations regarding the teachings of Paul and found that they follow [if you want to call it that] the teachings of Jesus, but not of Paul the Apostle:
“Universalists are rooted in Judeo-Christian tradition and are Christian in that we follow the teachings of Jesus, but not the teachings of Paul, which frankly does not make us Christian by most Christian’s definitions.”
…not Christian? If that ain’t the truth.
And it’s not just universalists that don’t follow the teachings of Paul, most of the emergent movement does not; they feel that Paul was not called or that his Damascus Road experience and ministry was not enough to make his teachings and epistles part of the Word of God or even viable. That being said, they also believe that the Bible CONTAINS the word of God, as if it’s a piece of Tupperware.
Regarding Pauline Christianity: “Reference is made to the large number of non-canonical texts, some of which have been discovered during the last 100 years, which show the many movements and strands of thought emanating from Jesus’ life and teaching or which may be contemporary with them, some of which can be contrasted with Paul’s thought.” Interesting.
‘Contrasted with Paul’s thought’ is a great example of what pains most pseudo ‘christians’ that endorse the gay agenda and lifestyle, abortion rights, ecumenicalism, and the Liberal agenda…to name a few. They believe that since Christ did not mention these ‘maladies’ that they would not be the abominations that Paul cited and therefore either excused, overlooked or even encouraged: fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners [1Cor 6:9-10, Rom 1:29-32].
Paul said, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” 1Timothy 1:12-15
Paul KNEW he was a sinner! He acknowledged that he was NOT perfect but taught a perfect message that Jesus gave him on the Damascus Road. The relevant ‘easy believism’ that befalls the emergent is not taught by Jesus, it is a demon spirit that seeks to consume and forsake the righteous.
Yes I am getting to a POINT: Even some of the most godly Azusa Street offshoots have been bewitched by not pleading the Blood of Christ or preaching the Holy Spirit inspired teachings of Paul, who was once Saul of Tarsus [Acts 7:58-60, 8:1-3], an evil murderer that was a large part of the ‘church’ of the day. How ironic that someone gets saved from his own church [Acts 9:1-19].
All this being said, the outward appearance of a Christian as a Christian is nearly invisible. We are seen as part of the world with short shorts, miniskirts, men that don’t wear shirts in public, heels that defy gravity or description, foul language, drinking alcohol, gambling [yes, the lottery is gambling], smoking, drugs, adultery, defiling our bodies and fornication…and that’s just the highlights.
“Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.” 1Thessalonians 4:1-5
Is this a maturity problem of the Christian? Are holiness, modesty and chastity not taught in church anymore? Or is the Emergent Movement making the rest of conservative Christianity look and act like the world to attract moths to the bug zapper? Are we selling ourselves to the highest bidder: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” [1Cor 3:16-17]
Considering that Pauline Christianity is too conservative for the ‘modern christian’, wouldn’t it be apparent that the Holy Spirit has been told He is not welcome anymore?
I saw an employment ad for a ‘Growth Pastor’ once. Look and act like the world, but just show up? Is this the future of the Church? Is this the Church that Christ is looking for when He comes back? Of course not…He did not die for the mega church, He died for me and you. And until He comes back, we need to sanctify ourselves because we are His and His ways are correct. And until then:
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14