Paradigm~ a typical example or pattern of something; a model.
Let me make a disclaimer before we go any further. You’re either going to love this post or hate it. If you come from a Christian conservative background, like myself, this blog may sound liberal, especially when modern-day Christianity has taken a plunge into liberalism. On the contrary, Christianity has somehow found a way to twist the gospel into their own modeling and liking.
“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teaching that come from demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1 NLT)
And since modern-day Christianity has fulfilled it’s biblical prophecy, we find ourselves indulging in a New Paradigm.
The Busy Church
Never get too busy with “activity”, that you forget the main objective of the church. I like to call this the Mary/Martha syndrome (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus’ visit’s Martha’s home and Mary immediately sits at the feet of Jesus to listen. Sometimes, we just need to stop with the busyness of life and just listen. I wonder how many of us would STOP and LISTEN. Meanwhile, Martha Stewart is cooking a scrumptious meal, comes over to find Mary listening at the feet of the King and becomes upset. Martha exclaims her actions for being “unfair”, but what she did not realize, Mary discovered (as the NLT translates) the better Christian position. Not to discredit Martha’s position of service, but the way I see it; Martha was doing the right thing at the wrong time. Even Jesus stated, “Martha, you’re worried and upset over all the details!” How many of us find ourselves so overwhelmed with details that we forget the main point. We can be so busy with “business”, we forget about the Father’s Business. We create meetings just to have meetings. Our events become self-centered instead of being Christ-centered. It automatically becomes a selfish gospel.
Churches become event-driven and focused on how many seats are occupied. Every seat can be occupied, but that does not mean their hearts are full. Behind the makeup and dress, beneath the suit and tie, there is a shallow heart without Jesus Christ. If you follow that paradigm, eventually you will have a church full of shallow egotistical bench warmers. Less is more, and more details can create chaos. The church is called to be Missional, not Professional. It’s best to read or hear instructions before conducting business. It’s best to remain silent and listen to the voice of God. Remember: Listen also spells Silent.
The Condemning Church
The modern-day Church is becoming more of the Condemning Church. We condemn, condemn and condemn until there is nothing left to condemn. We even condemn each other as Christ followers within the church. How in the world do we expect to save the world when we cannot even get along with each other as brothers and sisters in the faith?
Modern-day Christianity has turned rude and self-righteous. Who are we to judge when we ourselves are messy and sloppy. Less we forget, for everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23 NLT). You see, the church has lost it’s primary focus.
God is LOVE (1 John 4:8)
God is COMPASSIONATE and GRACIOUS (Psalm 103:8)
God is GRACE (Ephesians 2:8)
God is a FRIEND of SINNERS (John 8:3-11)
how about…. God is a CONSUMING FIRE!!! (*preachers voice with theatrical flames in the background)
“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deuteronomy 4:24 NKJV)
Yes, God is a consuming fire. Yes, God is jealous and will not tolerate our affection for idols (Exodus 20:3-6). God consumed a flaming sword to guard the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). He consumed Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:28). He consumed a bush to have a chat with Moses (Exodus 3:2). He consumed the burnt sacrifice throughout the Old Testament (1 Kings 18:38, Leviticus 9:24, 2 Chronicles 7:1). But, God became the ultimate sacrifice within the dispensation of Grace and changed the paradigm of a consuming judgement to a consuming love.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
The primitive purpose of the church is to Love others and lead people to the Cross. Man cannot change the heart, only God can change the heart of man. Addictions, sexual orientation and all sorts of sin should not be tolerated, but changed by God, not man. When a non-believer comes to Christ, we (the church) want to quickly re-program them into the model of our own theology of Christianity. But Christianity, as we know it, is far from the original design. Christianity is suffering from an epidemic narcissism. We are only interested in what God can do for Me, Myself and I. Church has become a “Bless-Me” club, saturated with arrogant cliques. Arrogance develops an habitual practice of self-centered paganism. What can the gospel do for me? If you’re a believer, the gospel has done it’s work. It’s time for you to get to work for the gospel! Even Jesus’ was about his Father’s business and came on a rescue mission.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10 NLT)
God came to us! He reconciled the world to Himself. Imagine that! While we were still sinners, He came to us (Romans 5:8). What makes you think you are better than a drug addict, alcoholic and prostitute? We were all pardoned at one time. God forgave the unforgivable. Do you think your pedigree or family history of Christianity earns you a golden star? Don’t get me wrong. I grew up as a Pastor’s Kid and church is all I know. I feel blessed to be a fourth generation Jesus’ Follower. I honor the pioneers of the church and their Kingdom work that got me here. But, being a fourth generation Christian does not mean I will get extra perks in heaven. We are all sinners on this journey called life. Let’s see what the bible has to say.
“For the GRACE of GOD has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.” (Titus 2:11 ESV)
SALVATION for ALL people.
“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (Romans 11:6 ESV)
GRACE would no longer be GRACE.
“But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me-and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT)
God’s GRACE at WORK for me.
Why do we condemn? Think about it. As believers, saved by grace, we are stuck in this fixated idea of condemnation. Did you know there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ? (Romans 8:1) What does the Bible say about Condemning?
“Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released.” (Luke 6:37 AMP)
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” (Luke 6:41 NLT)
“So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” (Romans 14:10,12,13 NLT)
That should answer your question.
God reconciled the world to Himself. The primitive root meaning of reconcile (kat-ah’) in the greek is to make different and relations joined together. It amazes me that the original plan of God was to send down His only Son to be murdered for our sins so we can be joined together in relationship. What the first Adam got us into, only the second Adam can get us out, Jesus Christ. Who are we to judge when God makes all things new! What God makes righteous, no one can make it unrighteous.
“Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 NLT)
Did you know that Christ’s Love controls us? That blows my mind away in so many levels! No matter what your circumstance is, no matter how broken and torn apart you find yourself; the Love of Christ controls you and the situation. When human Love fails you, Christ’s Love controls you.
[Take a minute and deeply ponder on that]
In conclusion, I leave you with a few biblical truths to harness upon your soul.
“God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20 MSG)
There is a great misconception of Christianity. In order to be a friend of God, you must be in good position. But God has called you friend, regardless of your position. Now, GO do your job correctly. Stop condemning (Leave the condemning to God) and just lead people to Christ.
“So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these].” (Luke 6:36 AMP)
Destroy the new paradigm called the “Condemning Church”,
and get back to the organic paradigm of what God truly intended the Church to be.