Can I just say I have NEVER been challenged by a series as much as I've been challenged by this one? For the next few weeks I'll be sharing the ways in which our current series has convicted ME of being an annoying Christian.
**************************************************************Part III of the Annoying Christian series tackled the concept that Christians are annoying because they don't practice what they preach.
The scripture for this sermon: came from Ezekiel 16:49 and Jeremiah 22:13-16.
- Sodom’s sins were pride, gluttony and laziness while the poor and needy suffered outside her door. Ezekiel 16:49
- He gave justice and help to the poor and needy and everything went well for him. Isn’t that what it means to know me says the Lord? Jeremiah 22:16
79% of un-churched people believe that Christianity is more organized religion than loving God and loving people. When the majority of people think Christianity is more organized religion than living out what Jesus said is the GREATEST commandment we have an issue!
If you haven't guessed it, the majority of non-Christians would say that the verse from Ezekiel 16:49 best describes The Church. Yikes.
Do Christian practice what they preach?
One survey by the Barna Group showed that only 20% of Christians believe that "loving your neighbor" means actually caring for and serving "neighbors" as a main concern of faith.
(Did you get that math? Nearly 80% of non-Christians think the Christian church is organized religion and only 20% of Christians think they should lovingly care for others. Wonder if there's a cause/effect relationship there!?!?)
If we want the world to see us differently, we need to live our lives as missionaries. Not just as missionaries around the word, but as missionaries around the corner. We’re all called to be missionaries to our own city. Our lives are in the mission field.
Look at your life last week? What truths of Christ did you practice?
What COULD be said if we preached what we practiced?
1. It could be said that Christians are full of pride (Jeremiah 22:13-15a)
We live in one of the few countries of the world where we go nearly EVERY day with no physical reminder that we need God.
Unfortunately, spiritual freedom and financial abundance lead to pride.
Look what I have? Look what I've done. For many Christians, because of where we live, we feel like we deserve all we have--we even feel like we deserve what we *don't* have--a nicer car, a bigger house, another pair of jeans ... We drive, live in, and wear our status because we "earned" it.
For many on the outside, Christians are prideful. We think and act that we get the love of Jesus because of something we've done. We act like He owes us.
2. It could be said that Christians are gluttonous
One word can be used to describe Christians: consumers. We consume, consume, and consume while the poor and needy beg outside our gates.
Being a Christians is easy in America. We don't know the risks--physically, spiritually, or emotionally--that Christians elsewhere know.
Being a Christian even comes with great perks.
We get to pick our churches because we like the music, the teaching, the life groups, the comfy chairs ... we consume, consume, consume our spirituality like it is all about us.
In our gluttony, we've forgotten that the Church does NOT exist for us. It does exist for them. Are we living like it?
What do we contribute? What do we share? What do we give? Are my needs my only concern?
3. It could be said that Christians are lazy.
What does it mean to know Christ?
The Word says that to know Christ we need to give justice and help to the poor and needy. But do you know what happens when we find someone poor and needy? We call the church.
What if God placed that needy person in your path so that you can know Him?
We’re not called to live in poverty but we are called to care for the poor. We’re not called to live in need but we are called to provide for the needy.
Christians are annoying because we preach about love and grace and giving but in our actions, we tend to be selfish, prideful, gluttonous, and lazy.
How do we change this?
It is true that we can do everything but we can all do something.
To love authentically, we can't love begrudgingly.
It is time for The Church to rise up and provide justice and care for those around us.
It is time for the people of Christ to prove the love of Christ can transcend political debates, geographical boundaries, and materialism.
It is time to put our hearts, minds, money, and feet where our theological mouths are.
What I think is that it's time to be the hands and feet.