Sunday, June 15, 2014

Trying to be Cool verses Bearing the Reproach of Christ

Dear Pastor,

Stop trying to be cool.

It’s a trap.

When people who are outside that faith – that is, they have no appreciation for Scripture, the call of God, the blood of Jesus, or the penalty of sin – keep complimenting you on your coolness, you can get in danger real quick.

The moment he craves those compliments is the moment he begins to order his life and ministry by the coolness factor.  If he preaches a certain doctrine he knows his friends will not appreciate, he will water it down or conveniently find another topic.  If he speaks up for a particular value, they will suddenly find him uncool, so he mutes his message.  Accordingly, he wears his hair and arranges his clothing that will make him appear cool.

It’s a seduction.

Someone once asked an old time preacher, “If I follow Jesus, do I have to give up the world?”  He answered, “If you get truly converted, you won’t have to worry about that.  The world will give you up!”

John the Baptist wore camel hair and ate insects.  They called him mad.

Anything but cool.

Jesus attended wedding parties and was called a winebibber.

Again, not very cool.

In the OT sacrificial system, the carcasses of animals were burned outside the city, away from the general population.  It was too unpleasant to see.  The writer of Hebrews in the NT draws a parallel with the Lord Jesus dying outside the city gates (Heb. 13:11-13), and then makes this application:

In the same way, “we Christians should go with Him outside the camp – that is, away from the crowd and flow of culture – and thus bear His reproach.”

It’s an ideal metaphor, one that speaks perfectly to our situation.

  • Woe to the man or woman who longs to be accepted by the world.
  • Woe to the Christian who wants to be trendy rather than striving to hear God say, “Well done good and faithful servant.”
  • Woe to the preacher who orders his sermons and selects his topics that will keep him cool in the eyes of friends and unbelievers.
  • Woe to the pastor who shies away from certain subjects taught in Scripture because people will turn away from him.
  • Woe to the one calling himself a disciple but who discounts any scriptural teaching that conflicts with todays accepted values.
  • Woe to the cowards who want God… but fear rejection from the world.
Let us never shy away from bearing the shame of the Lord because we prefer acceptance of the world.

God help us.

We cannot have it both ways.

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