Summary: Christianity has become a surface religious distraction from the hardships and realities of life and is no longer a relevant belief system connecting us to our Creator and Savior. In the western world the fakes are much more visible than those who stil
I think we may finally be living in a day when the ‘Christianity’ that exists in the cultural marketplace is now more fake than real. What began with liberal departures from the essentials of our faith has now moved to a wide spread illiteracy of the very truths of Christianity.
Christianity has become a surface religious distraction from the hardships and realities of life and is no longer a relevant belief system connecting us to our Creator and Savior.
In the western world the fakes are much more visible than those who still hold to the basic truths of the gospel message.
Paul struggled with the same deceptive departures from the faith that we deal with today.
In Corinth he was constantly defending the true Gospel.
False teachers who were skilled in the cultural oratory of the Greek culture were coming in and misleading those in the church who could not differentiate between a big show and a message of truth.
5 For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. 6 But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things.
There is a story of people were dinning together. After dinner it was agreed that each should recite something. A well-known actor arose &, with elocution & dramatic art, he declaimed the 23rd Psalm & sat down to tremendous applause.
A quiet man followed him. He too began to recite the 23rd Psalm & at 1st there was a chuckle. But before he had ended there was a stillness that was more eloquent than any applause. When he had spoken the last words there was a silence, & then the actor leant across & said, “Sir, I know the Psalm, but you know the Shepherd.”
Paul may not have had the oratory skills of those whom had grown up and been trained in a culture that promoted these skills but Paul had an intimate knowledge and relationship with God that these fakes did not have.
Turn on your typical ‘Christian television show’ and you will see some of the most outlandish and over the top behaviors mixed with some of the most unbiblical declarations that could be imagined. All this is done before a curious watching world with very little response from those in the legitimate church. The end result is that Christianity is no longer considered relevant but appears as an odd and strange system of behaviors by those who seem completely out of touch with reality. HOW DID PAUL DEAL WITH A SIMILAR SITUATION IN HIS DAY?
PAUL DECLARED HIS PERSONAL COMMITMENT:
7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached the gospel of God to you without charge? 8 I robbed other churches by taking wages from them to serve you; 9 and when I was present with you and was in need, I was not a burden to anyone; for when the brethren came from Macedonia they fully supplied my need, and in everything I kept myself from being a burden to you, and will continue to do so.
One of the obvious things in a false presentation of the Christian faith is a constant focus of taking instead of serving.
There is a ‘fleecing’ of the flock instead of a commitment to ‘feeding’ them.
2 PETER 2:1-3 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words
The last thing Paul wanted to do was to give an appearance of his coming to Corinth and reaching out to them for personal gain. He says that he ‘robbed other churches' in order to minister in Corinth without an appearance of personal advantage.
1) Paul was provided for by the churches in Macedonia while he ministered in Corinth.
This was done to avoid any appearance to the church in Corinth that Paul was like others who only wanted their money.
2) Modern fakes have made a theology out of taking money from people.
While they live in their big houses and drive their expensive cars they promise the same for others who share their same level of faith. The way to achieve that same level is to sow seeds of faith by giving financially to them as a way of giving a faith gift to God.
Years ago I read an autobiography of a lady named Patty Roberts.