“Don’t seek to be the majority because you will not be. Wide is the path to destruction, narrow is the path to salvation. You understand? To begin with, we’re not of this world. We are citizens of the heavenlies. If you want to be like the world, look what’s going to happen, because He who is in you is greater than he who’s in the world. They are of the world, therefore they speak as of the world and the world hears them. The world will hear you when you speak to the world what the world wants to hear. The world will not hear you if you speak the truth.”
While there are some issues concerning the Christian faith that may be interpreted differently among us, there are also things that allow no room for debate and/or have no need of interpretation. One of them is that we’re to be nothing like the world.
John 15:18-19 KJV – “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”
1 John 2:15-17 KJV – “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”
With these – and a host of other verses that make it clear that we’re not of this world, and should be nothing like the world, and will even be hated by the world – it’s strange that some in the church have decided that in order to reach the world, we need to be more like the world. We’ve been introduced to terms like “seeker sensitive” and “relationship evangelism” in recent years, where the concern is more about how the people of the world feel about the church rather than how the church treats God’s word.
In their minds, it’s as though people aren’t going to get saved if the message of the church isn’t more consistent with what people want to hear. The thinking of this group is that if we offend them, we can’t win them. To them, that means we need to remove from our facilities and services anything that the “seeker” doesn’t like in order to make them feel more comfortable in church. While we’re obviously not to practice “offensive” conduct, the concern of those with such thinking is that we let the seeker determine what’s said and done in the church service in hopes of winning them to Christ.
Romans 10:17 KJV – “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
The faith that’s in view in Romans is saving faith, faith in Christ, the Son of the living God. This faith comes by hearing the word of God preached. Not by being more worldly in an effort to be relatable.
We have also been introduced to “relationship evangelism” in recent years. Basically, you have to build a bridge for the gospel before you can share the gospel. It’s as though one must “earn the right” to share the gospel with others by establishing a friendship with someone first. You don’t need to have a relationship with a drowning person in order to throw them a life preserver and we don’t need to “get to know someone” to tell them about Jesus.
While these phrases have been around for a while and have been replaced with others more recently, the general principles still stand. To some in the Church, being more like the world will make us more acceptable to them.
In what has been called; The Great High Priestly Prayer, Jesus prayed over His disciples “but also for those who will believe in Me through their word”, which includes us. He prayed that while they were “in the world” that they would not be “of the world.”
John 17:13-19 KJV – “And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”
Jesus did not pray that the Father take believers out of the world but rather that they be “kept from the evil one”; thus, be nothing like the world. The way for that to become a reality was that they, and we, need to be sanctified by His truth, which is the Word.
In the parable of the sower recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus mentioned various types of soils upon which the seeds would land. Some would land by the wayside, others on stony ground, and some would land among the thorns while others landed on good soil.
Luke 8:11-15 KJV – “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”
There were not different seeds for different soils. The seed on every soil was the Word of God. This means there are no amendments or cultural adaptations to the content of the gospel. The seed is the Word of God. We’re not to become more like the world in order to earn the right to sow the seed. We’re not to become more like the world to make them “want” to become a Christian. After all, we’re just like them, only saved.
Matthew 7:13-14 KJV – “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
We’re not going to win the world to Christ by being more like them and less like Him. We win souls for God’s Kingdom by telling them they’re sinners and Christ is the only Savior. He died for their sins that they might live forever with Him.
John 1:12 KJV – “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”
The church doesn’t need to play secular music and look like a club to reach the world. They already have those things. We need to give them what they don’t have, which is Christ and Him crucified!
Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.