Passage: 1 Corinthians 4:1-21 — Apostles for Christ
Key thought: 1 Corinthians 4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.
When I was teenager, I worked at McDonalds and one of my tasks was to clean the quarter grill. At the time, I was lazy, not a great worker, and cleaning the quarter grill was back-breaking labor. I had to scrape and rub all the grizzle, all the filth, off that grill to the point where the it appeared new. I hated this task so much, I quit because scraping the offscouring was just too difficult.
We could say something similar about today’s Church and today’s believer. We are no longer the filth and offscouring of the world — we are comfortable and respectable because being faithful to Jesus Christ (v. 2) has proven too difficult.
In some circles, we may be treated like the filth and offscouring, but for the most part, believers in the Modern Church are respectable, and they go out of their way to create a church that is respectable. We want to be loved by the world, and for the most part we are. The Christian passing out pamphlets or holding a road sign has become an embarrassment to us. They are not respectable.
And now the Modern Church is virtually indistinguishable from the world. The people in the Church behave the same way, and in many cases, the people of the Church believe the same things (we have embraced evolution, promiscuity, divorce, perversion, feminism, and all the rest of moral modernity). That is why the testimony of the Church is so ineffective — we are not any different than our neighbors. (And I stress different, not better. We are called to be different, not better.)
I became a believing Christian because my childhood friends, almost all of whom were Catholic, went to church regularly, went to CCD, were confirmed, etc., but were no different than me. I didn’t want what they had because I already had it. We had the same morals, same ethics, the same view of the world, the same belief in God, which was not a belief in the biblical God, despite all the confirmations and Sunday schools. That Church was never going to provide the answers I was looking for.
This is where the Modern Evangelical Church finds itself. We have diluted the Gospel enough to make it palatable to the masses, but now the believer is no longer discernible from the unbeliever. Both are ignorant of the God the Bible. Modern Pastors are more like CEOs trying to grow their business (which is the diluted Gospel) rather than shepherds and theologians proclaiming hard biblical truth and preparing people for the inevitable trials and vicissitudes of this life. (Last Sunday, my niece was baptized in a lake — she is still a practicing lesbian. In today’s Church, repentance is not a popular doctrine.) Unbelievers are no longer “lost,” they are “unchurched.” Man no longer needs a Savior, just a good church. We are in the process of renaming Baptist churches to community churches because the world finds the Baptist brand objectionable. (They also found John the Baptist objectionable — that is why they beheaded him. They also found Christ objectionable; that’s why they crucified him.) The Modern Church is tepid, lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, and the Lord has spued us out of his mouth.
And we are this way because we want to be respectable, we want to be loved and accepted by the world, just as the politician wants to be loved and accepted by his constituents. We do not consider ourselves as filth and offscouring, we do not consider ourselves to be spectacles (v. 9), and we do no consider ourselves dead to the world. And this should be a warning and a sign. We are on the wrong path and moving down the wrong road and that is why the Church has zero influence today. The Lord is judging us and he will continue to judge us. The Church is no longer the offscouring, and as a result it has lost its witness.
Prayer: Lord, give me the strength and courage not be lukewarm, to choose to be faithful even though this will make me a spectacle and the offscouring of the world.