“The Danger of Cultural Christianity” April 17

 

 

The Danger of Cultural Christianity - Yesterday was Easter. If you attended church, you probably sang about the blood of Christ that was shed for your sins, but the singing didn't stop there. You, probably, sang about the Resurrection, too. You rejoiced that the tomb is empty and Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, having overcome death, hell, and the grave.  But as church goers in America there is a certain danger in the familiarity of all that. We aren't faced with the choice of committing to Christ and facing persecution, even death, or remaining what our culture says we are, at least in name, whether Muslim or Hindu or some other religion. So instead, we run the risk of being cultural Christians, what our family or our tradition says we are ... Christians in name only.Yesterday was Easter. If you attended church, you probably sang about the blood of Christ that was shed for your sins, but the singing didn’t stop there. You, probably, sang about the Resurrection, too. You rejoiced that the tomb is empty and Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, having overcome death, hell, and the grave.

But as church goers in America there is a certain danger in the familiarity of all that. We aren’t faced with the choice of committing to Christ and facing persecution, even death, or remaining what our culture says we are, at least in name, whether Muslim or Hindu or some other religion. So instead, we run the risk of being cultural Christians, what our family or our tradition says we are … Christians in name only.

When an observer in Jesus’ time asked, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” He warned that the gate is narrow. And when the people of Joshua’s day claimed that they would serve the Lord, he told them not to take that commitment lightly. Are there many today who have failed to heed those warnings? Are there many who are basing their relationship with God on something besides the true Gospel?

That should be heart-breaking for those of us who truly understand the Gospel, because it is the most incredible GOOD NEWS ever! Today’s post includes a link to a video that could shake your understanding of what the good news of the Gospel really is!

 

Today’s Readings:
Joshua 23 & 24
Psalm 47.1-9
Proverbs 14.14
Luke 13.23-35

 

The Danger of Cultural Christianity

 

Joshua 23 & 24:

You Choose … Whether to Serve the Lord or Something Else

 

What a rich portion of Scripture! Joshua is coming to the end of his life and he wants to leave everything in order. He takes time to remind the people about all God has done for them and encourages them to remember how He has been faithful to His Word.

In 23.12-13 he warns them about intermarrying with unbelievers. This is still true today. If you are single and considering marriage or if you do in the future, remember, we are free to marry only in the Lord! (1 Cor. 7.39) – that is to another believer.

Then Joshua calls them to make a choice as to whom they will serve:

“…. choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (v. 24.15).

And when they are quick to say, “We also will serve the Lord,” he challenges them that this is no flippant profession, this is serious business and they should count the cost and mean what they say.

 

Is He Lord?

 

Today many talk about “cheap grace.” If you want to go to heaven, just ask Jesus to come into your heart and He’ll forgive you for your sins and you’ll have your ticket to heaven.

It is true that we can do nothing to deserve salvation and nothing to save ourselves. It is by grace alone through faith alone. But Jesus didn’t imply that it was “cheap.” First of all, it wasn’t cheap for Him. He paid the ultimate price.

Part of coming to Him in faith means we recognize our desperate need for Him and that we are sinners with no ability to fix ourselves. There is to be repentance (a change of heart and mind leading to change in the direction of our lives) and a willingness to acknowledge Him as Lord (Rom. 10.9-10; Acts 2.36). Lord … Master, God, the One who has the right to tell us what is right and wrong and how to live our lives!

Have you truly put your faith and trust in Him for your salvation?

Jesus gave an even stronger warning in today’s New Testament reading.

 

Luke 13.23-35:

The Narrow Gate

 

Jesus warned that the gate is narrow (v. 24) and that many who think they have entered, have not. Verses 23-27:

23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”

And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’ 26 then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.’ 27 But He will say, ‘I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.’”

What a terrifying thing, to think you’re assured a place in heaven, yet hear those words, “I do not know you.”

The striving Jesus talked about is not our good works or self-efforts. In fact, we can’t get to heaven based on our own righteousness, because we don’t have any of our own (Rom. 3.10-12).

Today the gate is open (Heb. 3.15). God desires that all men be saved (1 Tim. 2.4), but we must believe and receive the Gospel.

11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (1 Jn. 1.11-13).

 

In What Have You Placed Your Hope of Heaven?

 

Is it your church membership or the fact you were born into a Christian family? Is it your good works? Is it simply that you believe in God? Is it that you once prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, or got baptized?

Those are all good things and may take place as part of our salvation experience. But none of them, in and of themselves, can save you! We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone (Eph. 2.8-9). His grace, received through our faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Jesus said, ““The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk. 1.15).

 

So What is the Gospel?

 

If you have any doubts about whether or not you have believed the Gospel, I would encourage you to watch this video by Dr. Michael Horton of Westminster Seminary. It’s a little long, but you can’t listen to Dr. Horton’s explanation and not realize what incredibly GOOD NEWS the Gospel really is! 

 

 

TODAY’S OTHER READINGS:

 

Psalm 47.1-9:

Worship Him with Song and with Deeds

 

This psalm reminds me that heaven is going to be a noisy, joyful place. The psalmist said, “Clap your hands … shout to the Lord with a voice of triumph!” He even says that God Himself “has gone up with a shout … with the sound of a trumpet.” Think about that on Sunday morning. Make it a point to be there for praise and worship and ask God to help you worship Him through music, but just as important, to worship Him with your life all day, every day.

 

Proverbs 14.14:

Backsliding

 

“The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways …”

How sad that some of us, even after knowing the truth, would turn away and live life our own way.

 

What about you?

What is your testimony? How and when did you receive Christ and the gospel? Share below in the comments section. I’d love to hear your story!

Blessings,
Donna

If you enjoyed this post, why not share it!

 

Featured Resources:

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved

“If there were a Guinness Book of World Records entry for ‘amount of times having prayed the sinner’s prayer,’ I’m pretty sure I’d be a top contender,” says pastor and author J. D. Greear. He struggled for many years to gain an assurance of salvation and eventually learned he was not alone. “Lack of assurance” is epidemic among evangelical Christians.

In Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, J. D. shows that faulty ways of presenting the gospel are a leading source of the confusion. Our presentations may not be heretical, but they are sometimes misleading. The idea of “asking Jesus into your heart” or “giving your life to Jesus” often gives false assurance to those who are not saved—and keeps those who genuinely are saved from fully embracing that reality.

Greear unpacks the doctrine of assurance, showing that salvation is a posture we take to the promise of God in Christ, a posture that begins at a certain point and is maintained for the rest of our lives. He also answers the tough questions about assurance: What exactly is faith? What is repentance? Why are there so many warnings that seem to imply we can lose our salvation?

Such issues are handled with respect to the theological rigors they require, but Greear never loses his pastoral sensitivity or a communication technique that makes this message teachable to a wide audience from teens to adults.


Gospel Treason: Betraying the Gospel With Hidden Idols

Is it harder for you to change and grow as a Christian than it should be? Do you wonder what is holding you back? Have you ever considered that it might be idolatry?

Using real-life stories and examples, Brad Bigney shows us how the idols we might not even recognize can still have devastating effects in our lives. In this transparent, honest book, he helps us to identify our idols, understand how they lead us to commit treason against the gospel—and finally repent of them and root them out forever by turning to the only One who can fill our every need.


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10 thoughts on ““The Danger of Cultural Christianity” April 17

  1. May God give us grace to take our Christianity seriously and not just be “cultural Christians.” He made the greatest sacrifice for us while we were still sinners. How can we not love Him and share His love with others!

    Thanks for the reminder that our salvation is not cheap and not a “free ticket to heaven” but was bought with a price and with much love. May we love Him more and more.

    Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #TeaAndWord.

  2. Donna, Thank you for sharing this very edifying post and for the reminder that although Grace is wonderful and free, when we accept that free gift from God, we are pronouncing that Jesus is Lord of our life! And as such, indeed each day we must choose to serve Him.

  3. Hi Donna! I’ve been writing a lot on my blog lately about the choice to make our Christianity a real, purposeful, and intentional decision. I spent quite a long portion of my Christian life just going through the motions of the culture, so I really know what that’s like! Thanks for reminding us to make our faith and relationship with God the focus of our “religion”. Your neighbor today at Coffee For Your Heart!

    • Thanks so much, Amy. It is easy to just go through the motions and not even realize that’s what we’re doing. I thank God that He yearns for so much more and will prod us when necessary.

  4. Donna –

    Actually, at our church we did things a little differently on Easter and we didn’t really sing that many songs, but we did tell the story of easter through Drama, video, and special music… by special I mean songs like “Skyscraper” and “Everything Sux” (we made it a G version though). We wanted to relate a real Jesus to real people with real problems in today’s world. We didn’t water down the gospel, but we tried to explain the reality of who Jesus is, why His death, burial and Resurrection is so very important to ALL people…

    Loved your post and completely agree there is need for us to be purposeful and intentional about our faith, and not going through the motions only.

    Thank you for linking up with #TuneInThursday today! I am so blessed to have you linking your posts as part of the community each Thursday.

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