Do you find it strange when people talk about the church “losing” its place in society? Too often you hear how the church needs to change in order to keep up. There is a fear the church will no longer be relevant in our time.
Then this produces a temptation for the church to be liked by the world. But this temptation shouldn’t even be there. This doesn’t mean we should never change. However, we do not have permission to change the Gospel message to make it more accepted by the world. If anything, we are reminded the Gospel will often be rejected, meaning we may be rejected and even hated by the world. Listen to several verses:
Everyone will hate you on account of my name. But whoever stands firm until the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)
You unfaithful people! Don’t you know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world's friend becomes God's enemy. (James 4:4)
18 “If the world hates you, know that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, I have chosen you out of the world, and you don’t belong to the world. This is why the world hates you. (John 15)
The church is not trying to be hated. It’s not our goal. However, the Gospel message is a message many do not want to hear.
It is hard to hear how we are all sinners in the need of God’s grace. It doesn’t always make sense to people to hear how Jesus lived His life and took our punishment on the cross.
People thought the Apostle Paul was crazy for sharing this message but that didn’t stop him.
13 If we are crazy, it’s for God’s sake. If we are rational, it’s for your sake.
20 So we are ambassadors who represent Christ. God is negotiating with you through us. We beg you as Christ’s representatives, “Be reconciled to God!” 21 God caused the one who didn’t know sin to be sin for our sake so that through him we could become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5)
This has to be our reminder as well. No matter if the world calls us crazy or even worse, haters, we are called to proclaim the Gospel message.
* scripture references are from Common English Bible (CEB), unless otherwise noted