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Summary: Don’t fight over candles while the world starves to death.

Romans 12:9-21

“Oh, This is What Christianity is All About—Very Cool!”

By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org

In this post-Christian, post-Modern era we are living in there seems to be an awful lot of confusion in terms of what Christianity is about.

There are a number of new books out which discuss this very issue.

They have titles such as:

They Like Jesus, but Not the Church,

Lord, Deliver Me from Your Followers

And,

Un-Christian: What a Generation Thinks about Christianity--which is put out by the Barna Group.

On the inside cover of Un-Christian it says, “A major new research project, unveiled for the first time in this book, describes the increasingly negative reputation of Christians, especially among young Americans.

The research shows that Christians are best known for what they are against.

They are perceived as being judgmental, anti-homosexual, and too political.

And young people are quick to point out they believe that Christianity is no longer as Jesus intended. Christianity is Un-Christian.”

And it shouldn’t be this way!

The Apostle Paul told the first-century Christians, “You yourselves are our letter…known and read by everybody.”

And how true that statement is.

There can be no doubt that the Christian Church was never intended to be a tidy garden…

…but you know what attracted so many folks to Christianity in the first place?

People were saying, “Look how much they love one another! I want some of that!”

Hate, judgment and close-mindedness are the greatest enemies of Christianity—and thus of all of humanity!

Could Satan enjoy anything else any more?

Let’s stop giving Satan deadly amo!

I was watching a reporter on CNN this past week as he spoke about the political race and the parties, when, in a matter of fact manner…he stated what one of the major parties’ basic platform is: “God, guns, and gays.”

He didn’t appear to be trying to put them down, he said it as “fact.”

Fact or fiction I have no idea.

But I’m afraid much of the world thinks that this is the platform of Christianity as well.

In Romans Chapter 12 Paul gives us an awesome glimpse into what Christianity is to be about—and from this glimpse—if we were all to live this way—Christianity would be seen as the coolest thing in the world—which it really is!!!

Verse 9 begins with the word: “Love.”

Paul says, “Love must be sincere.”

And Webster’s dictionary defines sincere as: “genuine; real.”

Is our love for God and for others genuine and real…or do we just play lip-service?

Are we putting our faith into action, or are we sitting in the bleachers with a pencil and paper creating judgmental lists?

Do we really love other people or just the folks who look like we do; think like we do; believe like we do; smell like we do?

Paul writes, “Honor one another above yourselves…Share with God’s people who are in need…Live in harmony with one another…Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.”

That’s what Christianity is about, and that IS COOL!!!

It is my belief that the most dangerous thing in the world is not some weapon made by hands…it’s not the nuclear bomb or disease or famine…

…the most dangerous thing in the world is a closed mind!!!

A closed mind does not like anyone who does not think just like they do.

A closed mind holler’s: “You’re either for us or against us!”

A closed mind causes folks to hate others…and it’s not anything personal…that other person may be the nicest person in the world—willing to give you the shirt off his or her back…

…but if that person holds a different theological or political view…

…a closed mind is capable hating that person!

But we, as Christians are to “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.”

And that love is agape love—the love which God has for every one of us…it is unconditional!

Do we love other people unconditionally?

Or do we pick and choose?

If we pick and choose, we are most definitely being “Un-Christian!”

And that ain’t even close to being “cool”!

That behavior more resembles an immature and insecure self-absorbed middle school child who is trying to decide who he or she can be seen with sitting at the lunch room table!

Recently, partly because of the economy and partly because of our Vision Statement: “We seek people with ‘messy lives’…

…we have been getting lots of calls from folks who need help paying bills…or who need a place to sleep.

Most churches have a benevolence fund that covers this…or part of these kinds of things…

…I was speaking with a pastor the other day about their benevolence fund, and he said they are tapped out…

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