Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Irreverent Relevance

     "Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves," Mark 11:15.
     This is a day and age in which those who profess to profess the Gospel use any and every means to be "relevant".  Some play AC/DC and their unedited version of Highway to Hell and that is more spiritual than what many others peddle in order to make the Gospel "relevant".  One mailing I recently saw was a church peddling a sermon series on sex.  It was graphic.  On the opposite side of the mailing was an invitation to an Easter egg hunt for children!  This is all done, supposedly, to fulfill what Paul said, "being all things to all people" paraphrase.  Yet, did Paul promote these particular types of worship?  Well, if you read anything he wrote, Paul could certainly(to put it lightly) rebuke those who worship flippantly and irreverently.
    Another church(this is a widespread trend) was in the news for their Easter service.  They are having a raffle for first time guests with a hefty monetary reward.  This certainly is "relevant".  This is a marketing technique of the world.  Who hasn't seen this done before?  Now, let's get back to the text we began with.  Imagine Jesus walking into this church.  Verse 17 of that passage tells us, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations?  But you have made it a den of thieves."  The only prayer I can imagine that visitors will have in this Raffle House church is "Show me the money!"  This church is exchanging the Gospel message for the promise of material gain.  Jesus taught that we are to be a light that attracts repentant sinners not a bingo hall that allows the unrepentant to revel in their covetousness while allowing them to have a veneer of holiness since they are practicing their sin in a "church".
    How much did Jesus consider the issue of "relevance" before tossing out the moneychangers?  How "relevant" did those unrepentant moneychangers consider Jesus?  What about the Sadducees?  What was Jesus' relevant reply to them as He approached Jerusalem on Holy week?  He called them ignorant and powerless, Mark 12:24.  How relevant was He to the Pharisees?  His response to their catholic like adherence to unbiblical traditions was to call them a "brood of vipers", "whitewashed tombs...full of dead men's bones".  Certainly, Jesus could have been "relevant" to all of these groups of people.  The problem of being "relevant" to people is that you have to spend so much time being irrelevant to God.  You have to immerse yourself in silly rituals(tv, ungodly music, etc.) and pointless activities that have no bearing on the Gospel.  Here in Nebraska, in order to be relevant, someone has to devote 5-8 hours every Saturday in the fall to football.  People are scorned in Huskerland if they even consider planning a wedding on a Saturday during football season.  How dare they impinge on the football gods!  There is even talk within my convention of starting a Husker Church!  I can imagine the uproar in Lincoln if revival and awakening spread through the city and people stopped worshiping at the altar of the pigedermis.  The leaders of the revival would be hauled off to the middle of Memorial stadium and tens of thousands Husker congregants would chant for hours, "Great are the Huskers of Nebraska", Acts 19:21-41.  Oh what a glorious uproar that would be!  Can you imagine that in your town?  The trinket shops would close down and the economy would certainly take a hit.  Can your town survive a revival?  It's not good for business, but oh so sweet for the soul. 
    Ultimately, our relevance is only important insofar as we are relevant to the Lord.  Let me leave you with one closing question.  Think about this statement that so many today make, "I strive to make Christ relevant in the world today."  Read that again.  How does that strike you?  This Holy week, strive to be relevant to Christ.  Learn, love and live the Gospel.
God Bless,

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