What the world needs now is a Church that will stand upon the very foundations of authentic Christianity.
While on their way to worship, the apostles Peter and John were interrupted by a man crippled since birth. Day after day, people would lay this crippled man at the entrance of the temple, where he would beg passersby for money (Acts 3:2). No doubt, hurried churchgoers dropped coins into his lap and went on their way. Surely he wouldn’t have kept coming back if his wants weren’t being met.
Yet Peter and John weren’t swayed by the man’s desires. When he begged them for money, the apostles stared him in the eye and Peter remarked, “Look at us. I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk” (Acts 3:4-6). As Peter offered his hand, the man’s ankles became strong. Suddenly, the crippled man leapt to his feet and walked in to worship, praising God.Go Deeper! Download Kyle’s FREE Bible study to more deeply understand
the most fundamental principles of the gospel.
A Lesson for Contemporary Christianity
The story of the crippled beggar is a lesson for us today. Like Peter and John, wounded individuals lay across our paths. Countless people of the world, sick from sin, come to our churches begging for something that offers relief from this thing we call everyday life. Of course, people of the world only know to ask for things of the world. Things which, we Christians ought to know, are temporary and fleeting. When the crippled man begged for such things, the apostles resisted the temptation to cater to his desire and instead gave him something that could truly change his situation.
The apostles resisted the temptation to cater to his desire and instead gave him something that could truly change his situation.
All too often, contemporary Christianity, however, caters to the world’s wants. Church leadership teams work tirelessly to perfect an attractive atmosphere that is similar to the polished culture to which visitors are accustomed. Lattes and coffee cakes, they think, are enough to satisfy the temporal cravings of the lost. Then, they launch into a high-energy concert, kicking off with a song our guests are sure to know from the radio. Finally, the climax of this “worship” experience features a trendy communicator with a well-illustrated message to help us feel better about ourselves.
Do you see what happens? The modern Church meets the beggar on his road and gives him just what his flesh desires. And because the beggar’s wants are met, he’ll come back, week after week, pursuing the same things. Meanwhile, the church is happy that it has another number to add to its roster. “We’re reaching people!” it proclaims. But for what? The man will never rise up and walk. He will remain crippled, always relying on other people to carry him.
What Is the Genuine Gospel?
How then do we reach a generation? The greatest evangelist/missionary to ever walk this earth, the apostle Paul, has some insight. Paul’s ministry was responsible for thousands of converts and the explosion of early Christianity. Surely he knows something about attracting people to the faith.
The only gospel that saves and holds you in holiness is the message of the cross and blood of Jesus.
Indeed, he does. In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul reveals the secrets to his success: “[This] is the gospel I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.”
Now, pay close attention as he describes the fundamentals of the Christian message: “For I handed on to you as for first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins … that He was buried … that He was raised on the third day … and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters” (1 Corinthians 15:1-6, emphasis mine).
Paul uses a lot of words to say this: The only gospel that saves and holds you in holiness is the message of the cross and blood of Jesus, His resurrection power and the testimony of a new life.
A Spoonful of Sugar?
It is the role of the Holy Spirit to make the gospel relevant to an unbeliever. It is our role to preach it without compromise.
Sadly, in contemporary Christianity’s lust for mainstream acceptance, it’s determined that these things are no longer relevant. “The blood sounds violent,” some insist. The cross—too negative. Resurrection power—too radical. With this, the faith is effectively stripped of its most organic, life-giving elements. All to be replaced with smoke and mirrors. Literally.
Perhaps Mary Poppins knew what she was talking about when she sang, “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” But the same should not be said about the gospel. Those that think they have to concoct the gospel into something more tasty to the world have a very shallow view of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is the role of the Holy Spirit to make the gospel relevant to an unbeliever. It is our role to preach it without compromise.
Back to Authentic Christianity
Don’t replace what cannot be gotten anywhere else with those things that can be gotten everywhere else.
People can get a high-energy concert within a short drive just by ponying up $15 for some cheap seats. They can enjoy a latte at one of a hundred coffee shops within a 25-mile radius. They can socialize at the kids’ flag football game. Certainly, there are plenty of talking heads on daytime television, eager to give self-help tips to whomever will listen. What we cannot get anywhere else but the Church, however, is the uncompromised message of Jesus—the only name that makes the lame leap. Don’t replace what cannot be gotten anywhere else with those things that can be gotten everywhere else.
Only by the blood, the cross, and the resurrection power does one receive the new life worthy of the testimony, “[I was] rescued … from the power of darkness and transferred…into the kingdom of [Jesus]!” (Colossians 1:13)
What the world needs now is a Church that will stand upon the very foundations of authentic Christianity. Something with real power to bring healing, deliverance and hope to any situation. It’s time to get back to the basics.Go Deeper! Download Kyle’s FREE Bible study to more deeply understand
the most fundamental principles of the gospel.