“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the world, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1).
“The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him…” I Corinthians 2:14
Around Easter or Christmastime polls, surveys, and magazine articles all indicate the world has given up on Jesus, on God, on Christians, on the church, or on preachers. But let not your heart be troubled, Christ-follower.
We may as well ask a blind man what he thinks of the sunrise I enjoyed this morning, a deaf person how they appreciated the symphony, or my unbelieving neighbor what he thought of my sermon last Sunday.
The world is lost. Never lose sight of that, follower of Jesus Christ. So, we should not be asking it for direction or seeking its counsel. When the disciples told Jesus the Pharisees were offended by Him, he said, “Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind.” (Matthew 15:12,14)
And yet, how often do we hear of people polling the neighborhood of a designated area to find out what people see as their greatest need, what they would like most from a church, or why they no longer go to church. Then, they build a church program around the results of their poll. What’s wrong with this picture?
They are called ‘lost’ for a reason. (See Luke 15.)
Here are ten questions the Church should not be asking of the world…
One. We don’t ask the world how to get to Heaven.
The world has plenty of answers, true. But any answer that does not involve the Lord Jesus Christ and His death-burial-resurrection is manmade and thus wrong, no matter how beautiful or philosophical. The world’s answers are based on feelings and convictions, something read or dreamed or heard, or what someone wished were true.
Jesus alone has the answer to this. Why? Among other things, “No one has been to Heaven except the One who came from Heaven, even the Son of Man” (John 3:13). He is the One and Only. And then, He is The Way to Heaven (John 14:6). The only way.
Two. We do not ask the world what it thinks of Jesus.
The world does not get Him, friend. Take all the polls you like and they will consistently say the world does not believe in Jesus or that people believe Him to be something other than what He was. To the world, Jesus was a prophet, a good man, a zealot, or a misguided Jew. Christians must never be disappointed by polls and surveys indicating the world finds Him less than the Son of God. The natural man does not get it!
Three. Don’t ask the world if it would mind if you lived for Jesus Christ. This world is no friend to grace. The world is just as hostile to the dedicated follower of the Man of Galilee as it was to His ministry in the first century. And they crucified Him. So, why would we expect any better treatment?
Four. We must not ask the world how it would like the gospel presented? Sugar-coated will always be the answer.
Five. We should not ask the world “What bothers you most about Christians?” Unto his master a servant stands or falls, says Romans 14:4. Outsiders–who do not get spiritual things–should never be asked to rate the work of the Holy Spirit.
Six. What changes can I make that would make it easier for you to like me and thus like Jesus? Don’t ask that, friend! Your Lord has not the slightest desire to be liked by the world.
Doubtless the world would like us to shut up about Jesus and devote ourselves to doing good works such as feeding the poor people, of whom the world never has compassion or time. The world is offended when we say that Jesus alone saves. That sounds too narrow and they’d like us to soften that, broaden it, mute it. “Just shut up about Jesus,” will be your answer from the world. And that’s the last thing we should ever do!
Seven. What can I do to make our church service more pleasing to you? Would you like the pastor to dress the way you do? to quit using Bible language and talk the way street punks do? To bring the world’s music into the church so people don’t have to give up anything to follow Jesus?
Anyone see a trend here? Is it possible that some followers of Christ have done this very thing?
Eight. We do not ask the world for its understanding of God, of Jesus, of the Church, of the Gospel, of the Cross, or of God’s methodology. “None of the rulers of this world understood (this); for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (I Corinthians 2:8).
Nine. Should Christians stay out of politics? Do not ask the world. If you do, it’s answer will always be a resounding ‘Yes!” In fact, some will say Christians should not even vote or speak up lest they (ahem) “impose their religion on others.” So, watch for the attacks against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the latest Supreme Court nominee, since he is a religious man, we’re told. In the mind of some, this disqualifies him from serving in public office.
Ten. We must not ask the world for permission to live for Christ, to speak up, to bear witness, to worship, to distribute the Word, to spread the gospel. We must assume that those who love darkness because their deeds are evil ( ) will resent anything and everything you do. But you did not start following Jesus in order to be popular and well-liked, I hope.
Matthew 10:16-42 is your (and my) manifesto as followers of Jesus. (The earlier portion of that chapter was given just to the disciples as they went out to preach, but from verse 16 forward, it’s for all disciples for the rest of our lives.) Read it and get used to several facts: When you started following Jesus, you began swimming upstream in a downstream world. The world is no friend of those who follow Jesus. We must not ask the world what it wants or approves or finds appealing. We should take our stand boldly and take the consequence.
There is one question and one only which we should ask of the world: May I tell you about Jesus?