Hypocrisy: the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do: behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel.
It’s not news to state that those who despise the Christian church the most typically do so because of the hypocrisy they feel is present within her. Christians themselves, especially those of us from the millennial generation, despise how hypocritical the church can feel at times.
We all know hypocrisy is a problem, but what’s the solution? What’s the cure for hypocrisy?
Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the LORD your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you.-2 Chronicles 16:7
Does the Bible say that the ends justify the means? In other words, does God care about what we accomplish for him, how we accomplish it, or both? The Bible is very clear that in God’s eyes, the ends never justify sinful means.
Acts 20:28, Ephesians 4:16
(This article was also published on ChurchLeaders.com)
Recent statistics show that every year in the US, 4000 churches close their doors while only 1000 new churches are planted. Among existing churches, half did not add any new members to their ranks in the last two years. From 1990 to 2000, the combined membership of all Protestant denominations dropped by almost 5 million members, while the US population rose by 24 million.1
These are alarming statistics!
Each church that shuts down represents real people who have lost their church family. So if you are someone looking for a new church, someone wondering if their church is built to last, or someone who would love to help their church improve, here are 24 signs of a super healthy church.
When answering questions like “What does the bible say about those who have never heard the gospel?” or “How could God send people to hell if they’ve never heard the name of Jesus?” or even “How can a loving God send people to hell at all?” it’s impossible not to take a logical, textual approach.
The problem with that is these questions are wrapped up with all kinds of emotions, and rightfully so. Something is wrong if you are a Christian and you flippantly talk about the reality of hell. Hell is a horrible truth. But it is a part of the truth.
With that said, what follows is a biblically blunt answer to the question, “What happens to those who have never heard the gospel or the name of Jesus?”
Luke 7:30, John 12:19, Philippians 1:6
Sequels are usually not nearly as good as the original film or book in a series. Most sequels fail to live up to the greatness of the original story because they are trying to recreate the magic that happened the first time rather than building on the story. They try to go through the same plot progression as the first story, the characters end getting into the same trouble, and the whole point of the movie is simply to redo the first one under a different title.
Do you know that we can do that in our lives too? It’s good to look back at our past with fond memories. But there are countless dangers that come with idolizing our past.
Sometimes I confuse the idea of being a disciple of Jesus with being a campaign manager. I often think instead of doing his will by following Jesus in an intimate way like a true disciple was made to do, I am actually here to promote God by playing politics.
But God isn’t running for office because he doesn’t need to be elected. Even though we often forget this fact, he’s the one who does the electing. He rules whether people would vote for him or not. He’s the Supreme King, not an earthly president.
It’s a dangerous and hurtful message when someone pleads with people to follow Jesus, as though Jesus is in need of people rather than the people being in need of Jesus. God isn’t campaigning. He’s already ruling. Proclaiming this is the Christians’ mission.
How do you forgive someone who has hurt you deeply? Sadly this is a question every human will have to answer if they hope to keep their heart healthy.
If you have close friends, relatives you love, a spouse, children, or any other significant relationship, the possibility for hurt will never leave and thus forgiveness will always be deeply needed.
Therefore, the first step in forgiving someone who has hurt you deeply is to prepare in advance before the hurt even happens.
Friendships are messy. No matter how good a person seems to be, eventually they will wrong you. So what should you do when someone sins against you? First off, the Bible makes clear that how we correct, or don’t correct, depends upon whether the offender claims to be a Christian or a non-Christian.
You Should Not Correct a Non-Christian as You Would a Christian
If he or she does claim to be a Christian, the Bible lays out clear steps on how address that person (Matthew 18:15-20 for peer-to-peer relationships, 1 Timothy 5:19-20 for church authority figures). However, when it comes to unbelievers, a different approach is advised.
1 Peter 2:16, 2 Timothy 3:5
Many modern Christians have traded in legalism for spiritualism. The legalist emphasizes what you do externally. The spiritualist emphasizes your motivations, thoughts, and feelings that occur internally. Christians however, are supposed to focus on the inner and outer life.
The way to avoid legalism in Christianity is not to abandon good deeds in exchange for good motives. The way to avoid legalism in Christianity is to have good deeds with good motives, to obey God’s law out of a relational love for him.
Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Colossians 2:16-17, 23
In Jesus’ time on earth, one of his main battles with the Pharisees revolved around the Sabbath, which was supposed to be a time of resting from working. The Jews were governed by the laws of the Torah, and there it explicitly states not to work on the Sabbath.
Jesus could have just gone along with what they wanted as a way of keeping the peace, but he didn’t. Jesus clearly had an equally strong conviction about how the Sabbath rest should be viewed. He wanted to show people that the Sabbath is important not so much because we are to rest from our work, but more so because we must rest in God. So what’s the importance of resting in God?