Today’s Diluted Gospel
By Sarah Misch
Before I get started let me say, in this article I’m a little bit hard hitting. I am calling us out on what we have done wrong. And, none of us like to hear this. I know even with myself those can be fighting words. Please, bear with me. We won’t know which way we need to go if we don’t know where we are. God speaks in the Bible very boldly against some things and for other things. We must be able to speak out just as boldly, and live a bold life.
To my Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We have failed! We have failed ourselves, we have failed each other, and most of all we have failed the unbelievers who have walked in and out of our lives. We have failed by not showing the love of Christ. We have mixed our faith with the greed of our society, and what is left is a watered down Christianity that has led so many astray. We have been walking out a Christianity that is watered down to the point that most people cannot tell the difference between a Christian and an unbeliever. It is time to get back to the truth. To start living the bold life God called us to; back to the very foundation of our faith, LOVE.
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV
There are many aspects of love that we need to learn. For example, how we treat each other, and how we treat unbelievers. Do we talk to people with kindness, and give them reproof in a loving way? Many times the answer is, no. Look at how hateful we treat homosexuals compared to how we deal with thieves. They are both spiritually lost, but so many times we treat the homosexual with disgust and condemnation, and the thief we deal kindly with to bring them out of their sin. Jesus did not treat sinners this way. He ate with sinners, made a point to seek them out, and care for them. He showed them kindness and love. We should do no less.
Also, the word “love” in the scripture above can be translated as “charity”. A diluted Gospel teaches us to ignore the teachings of Jesus that we don’t like. When Jesus told us to do something, it wasn’t just a suggestion. He meant for us to actually do it. When He told us to love our neighbor as ourselves, he meant it. Galatians 5:14 says, “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’” (NASB) Matthew 5:43-44 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (NASB). Now if we were to evaluate this and see what it would mean to truly love our neighbors as ourselves, and love our enemies I think that we would find that we have come nowhere near what Jesus told us to do. Would you allow yourself to go hungry and unclothed if you had the money to meet these needs? No! How about a more difficult issue, do you make sure that you and your family get needed medical care? Yes, if you are one who can afford it. So, if we are to love our neighbors as ourselves then why are so many going hungry, or without coats, or wearing the same clothes days in a row, or dying of a preventable disease just because we want to spend our savings on that new cool electronic gadget? Do you see it now? In our watered down Christianity we pass over what these versus are really calling us to do, because it sounds so extreme to care for someone else the same way we do ourselves. This is why Jesus says it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter Heaven. We don’t realize we are to be willing and ready to give up everything to follow Jesus.
Everything that is written in the Bible has its foundation in love. But, so often we ignore this little word. We fail to learn what it really means, or act it out in our lives. Many times we fail to show it to our own family let alone a complete stranger. We failed to show the love that God has called us to give. We failed because we were wrapped up in our own desires. I am not just speaking to you, but to myself as well. I am just as guilty of this as anyone.
Now I’m not voiding the scripture that says if you don’t work you don’t eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). We need to harmonize all the scripture together, though. This passage is talking of someone who refuses to work, and plans on mooching off of others for as long as possible. But, the majority of the people around us today in need want to work, or are working very hard to provide. In today’s economy so many have lost their well paying jobs and are now working at any job they can get, and are getting paid minimum wage that doesn’t come close to supporting their family. Others go out searching for work and nobody will hire them. These are not the people that God was speaking about in 2 Thessalonians. These are the people that God has told us to care for. How do I know this? The Bible has said it repeatedly:
1. 1 John 3:17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (NASB)
2. Proverbs 14:31 He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him. (NASB)
3. James 2:14-17 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (NLT)
Also, take time took look at Prov. 21:13, Prov. 28:17, and 1 Tim. 6:18-19
Where Did We Go Wrong?
None of what I write here will mean anything if we don’t first understand that how we have been viewing the Bible and its commands as mere suggestions is wrong, and is the root cause of the problems we see in Christianity today. I believe it all started when we stopped taking the word of God so seriously. We started teaching that the important thing is that we profess Christ as our savior, and if you can’t do the rest that’s okay. But, the Bible says in Luke 16:17, “That it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.” Not one command that God gave us in the Bible has been voided. What He told us to do then is just as important for us to do now.
The rest of what is taught in the Bible beyond the salvation plan is that which shows us what a Christian is. If we are not acting as a Christian, can we truly call ourselves Christians? It is this hypocrisy, of speaking of our Christianity but not living it, that has led so many away from our faith. The Bible teaches us that we will know a Christian by his fruit. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” We are saved by faith, but the evidence of our salvation is the fruit we bear. When we become saved we must die to our old sinful nature. In Matt.7:19 we read that “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Galatians 5:21 says in speaking of the fruit of the flesh, “….I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” If we proclaim a faith in Jesus, and yet refuse to abandon our old ways we are the people Jesus speaks of in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’” We can see now how important it is not to pass over the tougher commands in the Bible, and the necessity of living fully to the life that God has called us to.
We got to this point, because pastors are afraid to preach the Word of God. They dilute the gospel and even purposely not teach certain subjects in order to not anger their congregation and watch them walk out the door. If a pastor stands in the pulpit preaching a diluted Gospel; then he may as well be speaking about the football game. God did not give us a spirit of fear. So, when a pastor preaches a watered-down Christianity, because he fears how his congregation will respond, it is a sermon from Satan himself. For that is where fear comes from. Not only that, but God says in Galatians 1:9-10 “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” Pastors who are you trying to please? If you are not teaching the complete word of God, and instead are teaching things that are either not written in the Bible or even preaching that certain actions are okay when the Bible says it is not; you are then preaching a gospel contrary to the true gospel and will be accursed. To not teach sensitive subjects from the Bible in order to not offend people is to be seeking the favor of man instead of God. If you are in the pulpit preaching to please man then you are not pleasing God, and therefore according to the scripture above are not a bond-servant of God. The best way for Satan to tear down a church and make it completely ineffective is to have us remove the full teachings of our Lord. It would be better for a pastor to preach the truth and have members leave, and have the church be blessed by God, then have a thousand member church built on a false foundation. In the end this church will fail. God cannot bless a church built on unbiblical grounds. The foundation will crumble under the weight, because it was not built by the strength of the Living God. Do not be the person or the church like that spoken of in Matt. 7:26-27 where it says, “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (NKJV) Pastors, what will be the fate of your church?
Stand up pastors, and be bold. Do not lead your flock astray. Guide them into a true and closer walk with their Abba Father. Build your church on the truth and the unbending strength of God. Matthew 24:45-46 ??“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food ??in due season? ? ?Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.” The Lord has given you a church to lead will you be the faithful servant? Will God come and find you giving the full teaching of His word? Or, will you be a servant who shies away from doing the work God gave you out of fear?
Let’s not blame it all on the pastors. We are just as guilty. We have been in love with this world and our little pet sins. In 1 John 2:15 John writes, “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” This love of the world causes us to lose our enjoyment of God’s love. James 4:4 says, “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Do you think that an enemy of God can also be a child of God, and takes part in the gift of everlasting life? I think not. Many have fallen into that thinking though. That they can have the blessings God has for His people, but live a life that is devoted to this world. These are those who have never truly known God, or have been known by God. We try to cover this guilt by ignoring the scripture that points our sin out to us. We have not wanted to hear the truth of God’s Word. And, when a pastor stands up bold enough to tell us we shoot him down for judging us. But, it is not him who judges. He is just relaying to us what God has said in the Bible. Therefore, it is God who is judging our actions.
We have to be in love with God instead of this world. We must love God far more than the amount we enjoy our sins. Or, we will always be angry when we are told that what we do is sin. We should love to hear the truth even if it hurts to hear that we are sinning. John 14:23-24 says, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. ?24?He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and ??the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’” This is a bold statement from Jesus. He is telling us straight up that if you have my commands and don’t keep them that you don’t love Him. And, that love is the very foundation to a relationship with Him, so if we do not have that we do not have a relationship. The greatest commandment He gave us is to love Him with all of our heart, mind, and soul. To do so we must obey His words. If we find ourselves angry at a pastors teaching, and what is being taught lines up with the scriptures, then we are no longer angry at the pastor, but at God. We can access, based on the verse in John, that if we find ourselves angry and refusing to obey God’s Word that we do not truly love God. It is not enough to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. Even Satan and the demons know this. It is our walk, our obedience, our relationship with, and our love for God that separates us from them.
Where does watered-down scripture lead? To a place that nothing really has to be obeyed, it is just words on a page. We get to pick and choose what is important. It is a Christianity that is all about self; one that only thinks about me, and what I want. We tell ourselves that it’s too hard, or maybe embarrassing. People will think I’m some Bible thumping Jesus freak. Or, maybe just a – I’m not really comfortable doing that.
These are the things that have caused us to stray from what Christians are truly supposed to be, and into a worldly interpretation of Christianity and a false one. This is why a diluted gospel is so dangerous. It produces people who by their pastors preaching think they are Christians, but by God’s standards are not. We are leading people straight to Hell due to it. What then will they say to us when they realize what we have done? I do not lay all the blame on this type of teaching. It is everyone’s duty to study the Bible for themselves, but we are at fault for guiding them to this type of thinking. It also is the reason why so many agnostics and atheists do not come to a faith in God, because they see how hypocritical the people calling themselves “Christian” act.
And, this now brings us full circle. Today’s diluted gospel has polluted so many aspects of Christianity. One of the main things it has corrupted is the very foundation of our faith – Love. If we do not have the love God has called us to, then we cannot be effective in any other area of our faith. I encourage all of you, my brother’s and sister’s in Christ to live the Gospel fully, stand up and defend the word of God in its undiluted truth, and show the people around you the love of God. We are God’s ambassadors on Earth. Are we representing Him well? Are we showing the unbelieving world the truth of God? God bless you.