Immanuel Voices
February 7, 2019, 6:00 AM

Daily Inspiration: Explore God--Is Christianity too Narrow? 4


Is Christianity too Narrow in Our Culture?

 

1 Corinthians 5:9-10, 12-13

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral. . . In that case you would have to leave this world. . . For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.

 

Thought for Today

The main reason Christianity is considered too narrow in our culture actually has nothing to do with anything Jesus said. It has to do with the way Christians behave towards those outside the Church. We read God’s expectations for our lives, that we would not be sexually immoral, greedy, dishonest, idolaters, drunkards and the like, and we immediately begin to judge people who do not know Jesus by the same standard. We are gracious towards Christians who struggle in areas of morality and condemning of non-Christians with the same issues. The world sees this hypocrisy and it informs their opinion of everything else we say. Paul tells the believers in Corinth that it is not our place to judge those in the world. For avoiding those who sin in the world would mean that we would have to withdraw from the world, which was ridiculous to Paul. For how then would they ever come to know the truth about Jesus’ grace and mercy? We are called to hold each other to the high standards of God’s Word, with an abundance of grace and care. Those outside the Church should not be held to the same standards. Instead, we should be exceedingly gracious and compassionate with them in order to win the right to share with them the Good News of the cross and empty tomb. This does not mean that we abandon the national conversation about what is good and right. It means that our conversations with and expectations of individuals are very different from our socio-political stances. God is the judge of non-believers not us. If we begin to deal more compassionately and less judgmentally with those in the world we will actually increase their desire to know what Jesus said and why He said it.

 

Prayer

Holy Spirit, help me to be gracious and compassionate with those who have not met Jesus yet. For, as Jesus lamented, they are like sheep without a shepherd. Instead of condemning them, help me to lead them to the Good Shepherd. Amen.

 

Devotional Quote

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. –Jesus Christ

 

Quote of the Day

If we judge ourselves only by our aspirations and everyone else only their conduct we shall soon reach a very false conclusion. ― Calvin Coolidge



Comments

02-07-2019 at 2:49 PM
T Holmes
And again, I say Amen! I read a quote recently that said, "Do not look down on someone unless you are helping them up."
02-07-2019 at 7:46 AM
Lori Rueffer
And Amen!
02-07-2019 at 7:22 AM
Tom Scott
Amen!
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February 6, 2019, 6:00 AM

Daily Inspiration: Explore God--Is Christianity too Narrow? 3


Is Christianity too Narrow in Our Culture?

 

John 8:31-32

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 

Thought for Today

We need to challenge the premise of the question, “Is Christianity too narrow?” The question implies that narrow is bad. This is not usually the case. We build dams because narrowing the water flow allows us to use it to create hydroelectric power. We narrow our educational focus to make ourselves more knowledgeable and more valuable. We cast clear and compelling visions to focus the energy of people and move our cause forward. The diffusion of many possibilities is rarely a benefit outside of brainstorming. When Jesus declares that He is “the Way and the Truth and the Life,” His statement gives us clarity. How do I get to heaven? Jesus is the way. How can I know what is ultimately true? It is found in Jesus. Where can I find life beyond the grave? Jesus can grant it. The plurality of answers given by the religions of world do not clarify the matter, they confuse. I don’t know anyone who was offered the plurality of answers to these ultimate questions and was able to sort it out for themselves. It has always left them confused and frustrated. We don’t do our friends any favors when, in the name of tolerance and inclusion, we pretend like Jesus claims are one among many. People want clarity. We should be careful not to put down any other claims in the process of lifting up the Truth. We are called to proclaim the Good News, not tear down others. We can be confident in simply speaking the truth of Jesus, because the truth we offer will be the only one empowered by the Holy Spirit. Simply speak the truth and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

 

Prayer

Holy Spirit, help we to winsomely speak the truth of Jesus and allow You to use the words as You desire. Amen.

 

Devotional Quote

Truth, according to the Christian faith, is God's love for us in Jesus Christ. Therefore, truth is a relationship. — Pope Francis

 

Quote of the Day

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. ― Mark Twain

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February 5, 2019, 6:00 AM

Daily Inspiration: Explore God--Is Christianity too Narrow? 2


Is Christianity too Narrow in Our Culture?

 

Luke 13:23-25

And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’

 

Thought for Today

One of the challenges our culture has with any religion is that a religion is based on truth claims. Truth is by definition narrow; it excludes anything contrary to the truth. Modern American culture believes in the oxymoronic “relative-truth.” That is, a truth is only true for those who hold it to be true and those who hold a contradictory position can be equally correct. While logically impossible, relative-truth makes us feel compassionate and inclusive. The narrowness of truth is not bad as our culture supposes. Rather, it clarifies and shines light upon how things really are. When Jesus says, “enter through the narrow door,” He is telling us that the way to heaven is narrow. Many misunderstand this to mean that heaven is only for a select few. However, what Jesus is actually saying is that if you want to enter heaven you have to come before God empty handed. You cannot carry your diplomas, trophies, or resume. Those who demand to prove that they are worthy of God’s respect or love will not be able to get through the narrow opening. Only those whose empty hands are reaching out to Jesus on the other side of the narrow door will make it through. While some may see this truth as exclusionary, it is actually incredibly inclusive. You don’t need the right good works or the requisite amount of hours caring for others to get into heaven. Everyone can come in. You just have to be willing to lay down your trophies and enter heaven on Jesus all sufficient merit.

 

Prayer

Blessed Jesus, thank You for opening heaven to everyone. Help us to understand that it is open on Your terms to all who put their trust in You. Amen

 

Devotional Quote

Only through repentance and faith in Christ can anyone be saved. No religious activity will be sufficient, only true faith in Jesus Christ alone. — Ravi Zacharias

 

Quote of the Day

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence. — Henry David Thoreau



Comments

02-05-2019 at 8:59 AM
Lori Rueffer
"Truth is narrow. But grace is wide. Hold to the narrowness of truth while maintaining the width of grace." That's what we heard last night on the video we watched at the Bible Study at Pal Joey's. This is a powerful way to think about this topic. These words said it all to me.
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