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What Would Jesus Do?

Posted by Job on March 2, 2007

Matthew 9:10  And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 

A bank robber was once asked “Why do you rob banks?” He replied “Because that’s where the money is!” Are Christians going where the sinners are to try to get them to give their hearts to Jesus Christ? Are we REALLY? How much of our time do we REALLY ACTIVELY dedicate to it, even the so – called evangelical Christians? It can be said about us contemporary Western Christians that we are good at a lot of things. Unfortunately, a great many of the things that we are so good at, we have no business being involved in. One of those is politics, and by that I mean the religious right and the religious left. It is often said that the religious right is neither religious nor right, and the religious left are those whom “religion has left” (or who have “left their religion” as it were). Now things would be much simpler were this actually true, but as we all know matters of the spirit are seldom simple. The truth is that both the religious right AND the religious left are VERY religious in the way that the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees were in the time of Jesus Christ. By that I mean people who have taken that which was holy and legitimate and given to them by God and corrupted, perverted, defiled, and misdirected it to fit their own human desires and ambitions. Religion was created by man to suit man’s purposes, not God to suit God’s purposes, and hence the better you are at religion (though you may indeed be saved through your belief and confession of faith in the risen Christ and on your way to Heaven and doing a multitude of good works with good intentions) the further you are from God for God is the spirit of truth and rather than worshipping God in spirit AND in truth you are practicing that which is man – made.  

Now, one of the favorite – and most effective – devices of the religious right is to be shocked, SHOCKED, at how popular sin, SIN, is in our culture. They are APPALLED at the lack of morals, values, respect, decency in popular culture. They wait around for the next TV show, movie, magazine, or utterance from a university professor, celebrity, or (Democratic) politician that can be construed as “an attack on Christianity” and they go into full battle array. They talk about it on their radio and TV shows, they send out mass emails, they organize protests and demonstrations, and do all they can to raise up all of the anger, outrage, resentment, and fear. Now the stated purpose is to get these heathens to apologize for their offense against Christianity (which lest we forget, is a RELIGION) and commit these crimes no more. But the real reason: money, fame, and power. Make no mistake, the fear, anger, hate, resentment, etc. they stoke with this act opens softens hearts and opens up the purse strings for people who otherwise would never contribute to, say, AN EVANGELISM DRIVE! And when they are able to get on TV to denounce this outrage and rally the “faithful” to follow suit, it makes them famous. And when hundreds/thousands/millions of Christians respond with their contributions, emails, letters, protests, etc. and the ones on TV claim to represent these folks, it gives them power. And when the parties who committed the offense caves (often regrettably), it increases their power, both to do the same thing again (and again and again) and to use these pressure, fear, and intimidation tactics to control the actions of others.  

Now, I will grant you, the leaders of the religious left do the same. But the difference is that the religious left has m0stly fused with the rest of the left to the point where they no longer claim to be promoting or defending Christianity. Such is necessary in order for them to work for and with those who not only overtly support sin (i.e. homosexuality and abortion) but actually oppose Christianity itself (militant atheists and the like). As a matter of fact, pretty much the only time that the religious left actually claims to be promoting and defending Christianity is when they are responding to the religious right, and not only that they usually do a good job of it! Saying stuff like “we must keep church and state separate because wherever there has been state support of Christianity the result has been a co – opted, corrupted, complacent church?” That is, well, true! Look at
Europe and any other place that has a history of state – supported churches. Look at how
China,
Russia, and
North Korea now have state – run “churches” who parrot government propaganda! And then look at NAZI
GERMANY!  Now if the religious left is able to make a good, true counter – argument to the religious right as this, what does that say about the religious right? They certainly are not as Moses, Elijah, Jesus Christ, Peter, and Paul, who left their accusers speechless and convicted within their own hearts!  

Now of course, these same “religious right” leaders will talk about “the good old days” when there was decency and respect for common shared values. (You mean like segregation and wife – beating?) What these people are talking about was not actual righteousness but SOCIAL CONTROL, where social, political, and economic pressure was exerted to cause people to act a certain way; to restrict a person’s free will. Now that didn’t mean that there was any less sin in people’s hearts, it only meant that they did not act on it because of FEAR; fear of condemnation, fear of being ostracized, fear of losing one’s job and family, and even fear of being killed! Is that salvation, people? No, that is the rulers of the temple casting the formerly blind man who was healed out of the synagogue because he A) said that Jesus Christ healed him and B) it would have been impossible for Jesus Christ to heal him save the spirit of God were in and working through Jesus Christ (John 9:1-34). Realize that the very same SOCIAL CONTROL that made it impossible in the “good old days” of the 1950s for a man who hated Jesus Christ in his heart to say so publicly was what kept this man’s PARENTS from publicly admitting that Jesus Christ healed their own formerly blind beggar son! That, dear believer, is religion, a man – made system for purposes including but not limited to controlling people. But it isn’t salvation!  

And that is the whole point. These laws that the religious left wants to pass against discrimination and hate crimes; they don’t change people’s hearts. The pressure that the religious right wants to put on Hollywood and universities to stop their “blasphemies” (some of it is actual blasphemy but a lot of it is actually defiling graven images which Christians shouldn’t be worshipping – excuse me, “revering” – anyway) doesn’t change people’s hearts. And it is very convenient for a civil rights preacher to condemn racism and a religious rights activist to talk about the filthy music on the airwaves because it keeps them from examining the contents of their own hearts and preaching against the members of their churches so that they will do the same. At the time this was written, there was a scandal concerning the leader of a national evangelical group and extremely large church whose (homosexual) extramarital affair and drug use was exposed. And you also have PLENTY of leaders of the Christian left who have been found to be racists, anti – Semites, and embezzlers. Now what is worse than the people who commit these acts are the Christians who are around these people every day, see their wicked deeds and tendencies, and SAY AND DO NOTHING! Why? Because they don’t want to hurt “the church” or “the movement.” Anything bad that happens “needs to be handled in – house” because “we don’t want to give our enemies ammunition.” Yep, that is religion for you, corrupt and controlling, loyal and answerable only to itself!  

These religious people have to realize that (for the most part) the people who create and consume sin are UNSAVED. It isn’t the creation and consumption of sin that is the problem. It isn’t even the wages of the creation and consumption of sin that are the problem. Let me clue you in on something: we’re CHRISTIANS, ok? Read your Bible. It has these things in it called WORDS that MEAN THINGS. The Bible says that sin came into the world through ADAM. It says that CHRIST dealt with sin on the cross, defeating both sin and the penalty of sin. And yes, it says that Christ did it for the WHOLE WORLD, not just Christians. And it says that all remaining issues regarding sin will be dealt with during judgment; the earth and the people in it during the great tribulation, and Satan, the beast and false prophet, demons, death, and the spirits of men soon thereafter. So the problem is not that people sin. Look, even Christians sin! The New Testament is filled with accounts of Christians sinning, Peter among them! The problem is that people are UNSAVED! And if a person is UNSAVED, why do we expect them to act any different?  

You had the huge scandal in the 1980s over Andres Serrano getting a public grant for putting a plastic crucifix in a jar of urine. Now, exactly what was the problem? That Serrano did it? Well how else do you expect a person who has rejected Christ to act? That he got a public grant for it? Well, I hate to break it to you, but the government is not the church! So why on earth would we expect that which is EVIL to do GOOD? Now to tell you the truth, we WANT people who reject Christ to let us know it by putting plastic crucifixes in jars of urine. Why? So we will know who to witness to! We WANT the government funding it. Why? So that Christians won’t have this false sense of security by thinking that anything good or righteous can come from the world, or that the world is anything other than AT WAR with ANYONE who worships God in spirit and in truth! Government, big business, economic and political movements and theories: they oppose and seek to crush true Christianity, not assist or establish it. Now if we use religion to impose social control (using the government) to stop people who have rejected Christ from putting plastic crucifixes in jars of urine, then we will come to the false conclusion that since a person like Andres Serrano was born “in a Christian nation”, was “baptized in a Christian church”, and bears no outward hostility to Christianity (likely because he is afraid to) that he is fine, he is going to Heaven, and therefore we won’t witness to him. What is even worse is that people like Andres Serrano will regard themselves as saved and not seek Christ! And incidentally, doesn’t the fact that the beast (or the anti – Christ) is going to use religious, economic, military, political, social, etc. control to FORCE PEOPLE TO WORSHIP HIM concern any of these religious right (or left) types? To be honest, the most offensive thing about what Andres Serrano did was that he was so easily able to find a cheap plastic crucifix with an image of Jesus Christ on it. Not only is that idolatry, but it’s cheap and mass – produced nature debases both Jesus Christ AND what He accomplished on the cross. Which is – of course – why Andres Serrano chose it. Now isn’t it amazing that a rebel against God was actually able to effectively score a point against Christian idolatry and hypocrisy? Well, when you consider the true nature of religion: not really!  

Look, the word “Christian” means “Christ – like.” That means that people who are Christians are supposed to FOLLOW CHRIST. It does not mean that people who are Christians are supposed to get other people – especially those who are NOT Christians – to act a certain way. Yes, it means that we are not supposed to stop someone from sinning! Why? Because a person’s having to deal with his conscience and the consequences of their sin is the very thing that drives them to Christ! Helping sinners clean up the mess that they have made of their lives is the main thing that gives Christians an opportunity to minister! Notice how often Christ admonished Christians to visit prisoners in jail. Well, gee, don’t you think that a Christian should easily be able to tell a rapist/murderer/thief that their crimes are the reason why they are in misery in jail, and oh yeah in addition to being illegal it is a sin too, so you should give your life to Christ? Now I am not advocating that we allow society to go down the tubes to create more murderers and rapists just so we can witness to them. I am saying that imposing religious social control on a society so that a person who has rape or murder in his HEART but will not act on what is in his HEART out of fear (i.e. in repressive regimes who have extremely low crime rates because they will chop off body parts for minor crimes) WILL NOT SAVE A PERSON’S SOUL. Stopping a person from committing a crime (outside of personal direct intervention of course) is NOT the job of Christianity! No, that is what religion tries to do, and always fails. The job of a Christian is to share the gospel with a person with rape or murder in his heart whether that person commits rape or murder or not! Now, how do we know if a person has rape or murder in his heart if he doesn’t commit it? Well, if a person that you know watches movies or listens to music with violent graphic sexual imagery and exhibits aggressive demeaning behavior or speech towards women or people, then put him on your list.  

The root cause of this is how so many Christians have gotten duped by religion that they no longer study what Christ did and practice it. We have set up for ourselves this little religious subculture where we only deal with each other and have no contact with the outside world. This prominent Christian pastor/musician named Walter Hawkins once related that he was in such an insular religious cocoon that he couldn’t even have a conversation with an unsaved person. Someone would come up to him and say “Hello” or “How are you doing”, a regular greeting, and he would respond with a vigorous enthusiastic (programmed) “PRAISE THE LORD!” While that behavior was instilled and rewarded in his religious environment, it is NOT a way to win friends or influence people otherwise! So he discussed how he had to actually learn how to converse with the outside world so that he could be an effective minister. Note that I did not say a SUCCESSFUL minister. He could have done that within his religious environment remaining just as he was, or by becoming more so. No, he wanted to reach people OUTSIDE his religious environment. That meant exposing himself to sinners. I do not mean simply lecturing someone that you run into on the street that you have never seen before and will never see again about how they are going to go to hell once a month to fulfill your “great commission” requirement (although in truth oh if even 10% of Christians did even that!), but actually going among them, spending time with them, learning about them, showing them actual love and compassion, and a better way.  

So, when you consider how Jesus Christ “came eating and drinking”, consorting with prostitutes, tax collectors, and sinners of every sort in the streets and in their homes, you have to ask yourself: is this campaign by the religious right and left to use the power of government and other pressure tactics to impose what they personally consider to be outward righteousness on people with sinful hearts what Jesus Christ would do? Is that following the example of what Jesus Christ did? Of course not! One of the silliest things in the world is how Christians “boycott” certain things. Do they not know that sinners far outnumber Christians, so therefore not only do their actions not have any economic impact, but the sinners who go anyway actually have a better time with the Christians not around? Would not Jesus Christ Himself have gone to these events to meet sinners and try to turn them to God? Religious people will tell you “Oh no, don’t go there, you will hear bad things and see bad things, that is a sin and it will cause you to sin!” Did Jesus Christ become a publican or a prostitute by eating and drinking with them? Did Paul become an idolator by eating dinner with idolators? It was the JEWS who refused to eat in the house of an idolator! Paul, by contrast, said go to them so that you would gain them for Christ rather than offend them, with the only prohibition being not to eat things sacrificed unto the idols (and later Paul even said THAT wasn’t set in stone!). With our modern conceit of piety, we actually remove ourselves from any real chance of effectively witnessing to people. Don’t fall for this nonsense that if you go a certain place you might sin: Christ gave you the victory over sin, and if you don’t have faith in that victory are you truly saved? If so, do you even know what your salvation means? Your salvation means that you are able to RESIST sin! Look, you have to resist more sinful thoughts and urges sitting around in your religious cocoon doing nothing than you would out there in the streets contending for the lost! Idle hands ad minds are the devil’s workshop, but if you are out there among sinners contending for the lost, let me tell you, you are not idle, you are fighting a real spiritual war! Look, it is only a sin if you go with sinners for your own amusement, and if especially if you do as they do while you are there. Jesus Christ didn’t go into these places where the wine was flowing freely, the tax collectors were spending their money, and the prostitutes were plying their trade to get drunk, to be a high – roller, or to get a woman. So if you go to a nightclub not to drink, dance, and flirt but to talk to someone about Christ, you are doing what Christ did.  
And the hilarious thing is that Christians don’t even have to go to some strip club, nightclub, bar, or rock concert to sin. They avoid sin in all those places to sin right in their own homes by gossiping on the telephone and watching the same TV shows and movies that the world watches. Don’t fall for the nonsense that just because there is no nudity, cursing, or blood – and – guts violence in it that it isn’t sinful! That is another lie of the religious system that allows them to feel pious while walking in agreement with the world. If it denies, violates, or encourages the violation of the law or any other scripture, then it is sin, and if you watch it for your own enjoyment, then you are sinning. You might say: “Yes, but Christ’s Blood covers that sin.” So, Christ’s Blood will cover the sin of your watching television or listening to music in your own home for your own entertainment, but not whatever you would be exposed to while trying to gain the lost?
 

Now, of course, this does not go for everyone. Those of you who are new and spiritually immature, those of you who were in bondage to certain things and still have sensitivity in those areas, then you might want to wait a time before God sends you out to confront these things. Even then, there will be a time when God sends you to confront something to demonstrate that He has given you the victory over sin! But if you are a mature Christian, instead of boycotting and becoming all angry over all this stuff, you might pay attention to some of it. I am not saying become an expert in it, and I am certainly not saying do it for your own entertainment. But listen, instead of being the only person at your job or at your school who is oh so pious because you don’t watch this TV show or haven’t seen this movie or don’t know who this artist or celebrity is and glorying in how “consecrated” you are and how you have “removed all the temptation from your environment”, are you considering how ineffective a witness you are? You can’t relate to them. You don’t know that turns them on. You can’t even talk to them about anything other than work or school. So, they aren’t going to confide in you, share with you their pain, their fears, their hurts and failures. And if you don’t see what they are looking at, if you don’t listen to what they are listening to, then you won’t know the depths of their sorrow. You won’t ever realize how truly depraved a sinner can get. You will not see how desperate, lonely, longing, and pained a person is that they would throw away their money and time and endanger their families and lives just to get high, just to bet on dice, just to commit fornication, or just to watch someone else get high, gamble, or commit fornication on TV or on the Internet.  

As long as you stay in your little religious cocoon, you will never see the pain experienced by the sinners in this world, and you will never be able to effectively treat it with the love and compassion of the gospel. Even if you see them on the street and give them your “come to Jesus” pitch and maybe a gospel tract, they will see how you don’t want to touch their skin or clothes. They will see how you turn up your nose, squint your eyes, and wipe yourself. They will see how you hold your nose and breath as if they have some disease. And they know that when you get back to your church friends, that you are going to gossip about this pathetic sinner that you witnessed to today. Now only if such a person is so desperate and broken down by the very same sin that you wish to use the government and culture to ban will they disregard your thoroughly un – Christ – like presentation and respond. Otherwise, they will not because you will not be showing them the image of Christ. Is it any wonder that so many of the most effective evangelists are people who were literally rescued right off the streets and out of the prisons? It is because those are the ones who have not yet been instructed by the religious system against meeting sinners where they are with the love of Christ as Christ Himself did. Everyone knows that to be an effective missionary in a foreign land, you have to learn the language. How is that any different from learning the language of the red light districts in your own community so that you can be an effective witness for your own neighbors?   

What the Christians need to do is stop trying to impose artificial righteousness on sinners. It won’t stop them from sinning, and it won’t save them! Instead, we Christians need to show sinners Christ, first represented in us and then with the gospel. Christians who wrap themselves up in religion get so blinded by the sin that they can’t see the sinner well enough to show enough love for the sinner’s heart to be opened so that they will be saved. That is why former derelicts and criminals are so effective: they can see past the sin into the sinner because that is where they were a few short years/months/weeks ago. But it really shouldn’t take a guy who has been off the street for six months to show us who have been Christians all our lives how to do the job that Christ has told us to do. Instead, those of us who have been Christians for years had all that we ever needed: the example of Christ Himself. We have failed to follow it, and for that failure we will be held accountable on judgment day.  

Prayer:

Father God in the name of Christ Jesus, please lead and inspire your children to cease engaging in vain doomed to fail dead religious works and to instead follow the example of Jesus Christ in their evangelism, ministry, and all walks of life. In the Name of Jesus Christ, amen.  

Deliverance:

The demons that work in this area are false religion and control. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!

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