Saturday, September 14, 2013

SEPTEMBER 14 "CURSE HIM!"

The Great Apostle Paul would not have been deemed so great amongst us 21st Century Christians. We would have distanced ourselves from him and his ministry.  We would have been quick to say, "he's not one of us", he's with the church down the street, but yet God thought quite the opposite.  We love the "Politically Correct Jesus". We love the Jesus that gets along with everybody, the Jesus that's the Peacemaker, non-confrontational, non-controversial.  Who is this Paul that Curses People?  Curse people? In another Text Paul says (paraphrased by me) "I hope when you're circumcising yourselves you go ahead and cut the whole thing off and castrate yourselves".  We read about Paul in another text where he "Curses a man, blind!".   "Cursed be any man, or even Angel that preaches another gospel, again I say, cursed be him". I would assume that someone preaching another Gospel might be considered an enemy, didn't Jesus say, "bless them that curse you, pray for your enemies" so what in the world is Paul doing cursing people? Why is this man a celebrated Christian? Isn't he off track?  Isn't he misrepresenting Jesus? Or maybe Paul isn't not self-consciously trying to represent anybody and it is as he states himself, "it is no longer I that lives but Christ that lives in me". The modern day church doesn't know what to do with Paul? The church can't just dismiss him, after all he wrote three-quarters of the New Testament, but was does the emerging church do with the Apostle Paul?  If the Church says he was off track, we discount his Epistles, if the Church says, "he was right on the money" then our congregants might start behaving like him, would we want that?  Point is, the 21st Century Church is perplexed by this man, Paul.  Paul had an edge to him, however, it was the same edge that Jesus had, can we accept that?  When Paul wrote, "it is no longer I that live, but Christ who lives in me" or better yet, "through me".  He meant it! So was he right in saying that? The Emergent Church has taken the aspects they like about Jesus and conveniently left out the rest. We package to the World a Jesus we feel is much more palatable, more acceptable, more marketable. We have given up on preaching to sinners, we have decided preaching is not the way, let's marketing technics that work out in the Corporate World to Market/Sell products and let's use that to Market Jesus. Thence, we portray or act out, to the world the Jesus we think should be shown to them, based on very limited scripture knowledge and a very limited relationship with him.  Paul certainly would not have fit the criteria for the Poster Boy for this marketing scheme. Paul wasn't PC [Politically Correct], but then again, neither was JC [Jesus Christ]. We are abnormally way to self-conscious about who we are as Christians.  Our relationship with Jesus should be as natural as breathing. We breath all day long without being self-conscious of it. We don't sit there and think, "did I breathe in to strong...did I ex-hale to much...will I have enough for the next breath?  Our relationship with Christ ought to be as natural as breathing, the moment we become conscious of our breathing is when we start having problems or there's a problem arising. People who are always self-conscious about what they should say or shouldn't say on how to portray Christ are missing it, there's something wrong with that. Paul wrote, "if I were trying to please man, I would not even be serving God".  However, that same man also wrote, "I will be all things to all men that I might save some".  Therefore, rather than think and analyze on how best to portray Christ why not rather saturate yourself with his word and get to know him better and then let Christ live through you as He wishes and don't restrain him.  The result will be days that the things you say will offend and cut and people will say, "that's not Jesus" [though it is] and there will be others days where your magnanimity, compassion and mercy will astound them.  Just let Jesus be himself, through you.  Either Paul was off track in cursing others or he was not. Jesus was not just looking the other way at Paul's actions, Jesus either approved or He did not. Paul knew, in him, both the fierceness, severity of God and both the compassion and mercy of God. Paul is trying to pass down to his disciple Timothy, who he is and what does he tell Timothy....."God has not given you a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of POWER".  We don't like the Jesus who flipped tables, shouted, took out a whip and told people, "you are of your father the Devil" and cursed nations like Chorazin and Bethsaida that rejected his salvation, Woe to you, or doom to you, basically translated "cursed be Chorazin and Bethsaida....".  The truth is Paul probably wouldn't fit in to most of the Churches in America today.  In the Church's eyes of  Modern Day Ecumenism and PC mantra, non-threatening, churches he would be asked to go somewhere else.  This isn't a license to be rude, insensitive and damning to our lost world and turning people away from Christ rather than towards him, but it is supposed to be thought provoking. It should prompt you to ask yourself if you self-consciously go out each day trying to portray a Jesus that you best feel the World will receive on a few choice scriptures you have read and limited understanding or if you are saturating yourself with his word, with Jesus and then simply letting Jesus live through you as naturally as breathing is to you. Some days that will make you the villain at work,with your unsaved family and religious community; and other days it will make you the most loved and respected person in the room, either way, it doesn't matter, let Christ be Christ, through you and don't fall prey to the mindset of the 21st Century Church that we must present and market, only one side of Jesus, otherwise they won't come. It is God, the Father that draws, calls and brings people to his Son. The Hollywood Jesus may draw crowds and enlarge churches, but how many is it really adding to Heaven? Only time and/or the Rapture will reveal the answer to that, in the meantime, let God be himself, in and through your life and let people make their own decisions and form their own opinions about you and the Jesus you represent, even as Paul wrote, "if I were concerned about what man says, I would not even be serving Him".