Casual Christianity

There is no greater word that can describe the state of the modern day American church than compromise. The root of all the fruitlessness is compromise.
Most of us are content to set up camp just out side of Egypt and far from the entrance to Canaan(The Promised Land), and are content to live free of bondage but not in the land flowing with milk and honey.

Numbers 32:1-7(HCSB)The Reubenites and Gadites had a very large number of livestock. When they surveyed the lands of Jazer and Gilead, they saw that the region was a good one for livestock. So the Gadites and Reubenites came to Moses, Eleazar the priest, and the leaders of the community and said: “The territory of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam,[a] Nebo, and Beon, which the Lord struck down before the community of Israel, is good land for livestock, and your servants own livestock.” They said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession. Don’t make us cross the Jordan.”But Moses asked the Gadites and Reubenites, “Should your brothers go to war while you stay here? Why are you discouraging the Israelites from crossing into the land the Lord has given them?

They have livestock that God gave them, the land they were in was suitable for livestock but they weren’t where God told them to be. It is subtle example of comprise. The problem with compromise is it is always pregnant with logic. We have fallen into a logical western way of thinking and have birthed a heretical thinking that God is logical. God is the most non logical being there is.
Numbers 31:32-35 (NLT)32 The plunder remaining from everything the fighting men had taken totaled 675,000 sheep and goats, 33 72,000 cattle, 34 61,000 donkeys, 35 and 32,000 virgin girls. All given to them from God all from the spoils of war. God gave it to them in the most illogical way.
The issue with them was not that they were or were not blessed it was that they were about to make a big mistake by letting the blessing dictate their position.

Compromise is a leaven that when it hits a church it does not only affect the ones in compromise but it permeates to the point that a little leaven, leavens the whole loaf.  Jesus talks about this when He is sitting with the disciples talking about the doctrine of the Pharisees.
Matthew 16:6 -12(NLT) 6 “Watch out!” Jesus warned them. “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

7 At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. 8 Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “You have so little faith! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread? 9 Don’t you understand even yet? Don’t you remember the 5,000 I fed with five loaves, and the baskets of leftovers you picked up? 10 Or the 4,000 I fed with seven loaves, and the large baskets of leftovers you picked up? 11 Why can’t you understand that I’m not talking about bread? So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’”

12 Then at last they understood that he wasn’t speaking about the yeast in bread, but about the deceptive teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Then the disciples though revelation got that He was talking about the teachings of the Pharisees was a teaching of compromise. Do enough to follow the rules but don’t really respond appropriately out of the heart. This is what Jesus was primarily concerned about talking with the disciples.

1 Kings 11:1-8(HCSB)King Solomon loved many foreign women in addition to Pharaoh’s daughter: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women 2 from the nations that the Lord had told the Israelites about, “Do not intermarry with them, and they must not intermarry with you, because they will turn you away from Me to their gods.” Solomon was deeply attached to these women and loved them. 3 He had 700 wives who were princesses and 300 concubines, and they turned his heart away from the Lord.4 When Solomon was old, his wives seduced him to follow other gods. He was not completely devoted to Yahweh his God, as his father David had been. 5 Solomon followed Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom, the detestable idol of the Ammonites. 6 Solomon did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, and unlike his father David, he did not completely follow Yahweh.7 At that time, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh, the detestable idol of Moab, and for Milcom, the detestable idol of the Ammonites, on the hill across from Jerusalem. 8 He did the same for all his foreign wives, who were burning incense and offering sacrifices to their gods.. That is what compromise is—a weakening or giving up of our principles or ideals for reasons of expediency. Expediency is doing or considering what is of selfish use or advantage rather than what is right or just. Expediency is always based in self-interest.

Solomon compromised with God’s way because of expediency; he decided to give in to his wives’ idolatrous practices for personal and political advantage.

Solomon still allowed himself to reject God’s commands by not using the wisdom at his disposal. Wisdom is the right application of true knowledge, and compromise erodes it quickly.

Solomon’s example teaches us a lesson about how dangerous compromise with God’s law is, particularly in those areas we may view as small and unimportant.

Wise Solomon fell victim to the same temptation that the rest of us so often face: to compromise in what we think are small concerns or the “gray” areas. The danger in such reasoning is that small compromises weaken character and over time, lead to major sins.

King Solomon may not have understood how far-reaching his “little” sins would be. By giving His royal sanction to the worship of pagan deities, Solomon set a precedent that was followed by most of Judah’s kings after him. Solomon, having learned the hard way, writes,
Proverbs 14:12(HCSB)There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

Satan begins making headway in our lives when he influences us to compromise on biblical disciplines and follow our own way. Once we compromise, the process of sin has begun, and its ultimate end is death James 1:14-15(HCSB)14 But each person is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own evil desires. 15 Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.

The time to stop the process is in the beginning, when the situation and the pulls are still small and simple. It is the little compromises—the ones we think are so meaningless—that grow into full-blown sin and apostasy. And the enduring consequences of compromise will never have a chance to bloom. We need to kill it before it kills us, what we do in moderation, the next generation will do in excess. One Generation’s compromise will be the next generation’s demise.
Lets talk about what happens to a compromising person, if they continue in their compromise,they become a Casual Christian.
If many Christians went to their jobs each day as they go to church, millions of Christians would be promptly fired.

Many folks are seriously late for the church meetings.  They drag in, sometimes missing much of the worship service.  They are saying with their feet, “I hate this!  I wish there was some other place I could be for the next 2 hours!” Too many folks in our day don’t bother to go to church at all, or else they do the “every-other-Sunday routine,” or perhaps “the once-a-month routine” in their attendance.

In many parts of the world today it is impossible to be unconcerned and casual in church services.  In these places, worshippers assemble fully knowing that they could be slaughtered for doing so.  We would have to agree that these are some very serious christians.

But in the US particularly, we are unconcerned, casual and apathetic to what is happening at church.  Many seem to greet it all with a big yawn.  It appears that a lot of people are simply bored with their relationship with the Lord.

Church is apparently not very important to a lot of Christians today.  Many seem to be agreeing with the priests in Malachi.  They were saying of their sacred priestly functions: Malachi 1:11-13 (HCSB)11 “For My name will be great among the nations, from the rising of the sun to its setting. Incense and pure offerings will be presented in My name in every place because My name will be great among the nations,” says Yahweh of Hosts.12 But you are profaning it when you say: “The Lord’s table is defiled, and its product, its food, is contemptible.” 13 You also say: “Look, what a nuisance!” “And you scorn it,” says the Lord of Hosts. “You bring stolen, lame, or sick animals. You bring this as an offering! Am I to accept that from your hands?” asks the Lord.

We no longer feel that the Christian Church and our assembling together is the most important thing in the world—that it is literally the hope of the world.  We probably cannot understand how Israelites of old could journey on foot the one-hundred miles from the Galilee to Jerusalem, to worship and make their offerings.  We will also probably not understand how these same Hebrews generally offered up at least 50 percent of their incomes to the Lord in the various sacrifices and other requirements each year. We sigh, and go on with our casual christianity and lukewarm living. Obviously, serious Bible study and prayer times are on the decline these days.

David Platt Said “There are a whole lot of people in our country who think that they are Christians but they are not, there are many Americans who culturally identify themselves as Christians and biblically are not followers of Christ.” He cited Jesus as saying in Matthew 7:21(HCSB)“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

The Christian Church needs to shake off the “spectator mentality” that allows people to sit by while others are on a path to hell

“This Jesus is more worthy than nominal adherence and casual association, that self-professed Christians “who confess Jesus” but their lives “don’t look any different” than the lives of nonbelievers.

He emphasized, “When you know this Christ, the Christ of the bible everything begins to change in your life.”

Casual Christians give money to charity and to the church as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so, After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right?
1 Chronicles 21:24(HCSB)24 King David answered Ornan, “No, I insist on paying the full price, for I will not take for the Lord what belongs to you or offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

Luke 21:1-4(HCSB)He looked up and saw the rich dropping their offerings into the temple treasury. 2 He also saw a poor widow dropping in two tiny coins. 3 “I tell you the truth,” He said. “This poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4 For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

Casual Christians tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives. Luke 6:26(HCSB)Woe to you

when all people speak well of you, for this is the way their ancestors used to treat the false prophets.
Matthew 23:5-7(HCS)5 They do everything to be observed by others: They enlarge their phylacteries and lengthen their tassels. 6 They love the place of honor at banquets, the front seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by people.

Casual, cultural Christianity focuses on self instead of God. It concerns itself with what it can get rather than what it can give. It desires (and demands) all the benefits God offers His people but dismisses His expectations and standards for them. It says yes to God’s mercy, healing, forgiveness, salvation, and material blessings but shouts no to obedience, trials, sacrifice, holiness, worship, and surrender.

Casual Christians don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Casual Christians don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one. John 10:10(HCSB)A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
Romans 6:1-2(HCSB)What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? 2 Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

Casual Christians are defined by the desire to please God, family, and other people while extracting as much enjoyment and comfort from the world as possible…For Casuals, success is balancing everything just right so that they are able to maximize their opportunities and joys in life without undermining their perceived relationship with God and others…A Casual Christian can be all the things that they esteem: a nice human being, a family person, religious, a good citizen, a reliable employee – and never have to publicly defend or represent difficult moral or social positions or even lose much sleep over their private choices as long as they mean well and generally do their best. From their perspective, their brand of faith practice is genuine, realistic and practical. To them, Casual Christianity is the best of all worlds; it encourages them to be a better person than if they had been unfaithful, yet it is not a faith into which they feel compelled to heavily invest themselves.

Jesus confronted this disconnect directly during his discourse with the Pharisees. In response to their assertion that His disciples transgressed tradition by not washing their hands before they ate, Jesus exclaimed: Mark 7:6-7 (HCSB) 6 He answered them, “Isaiah prophesied correctly about you hypocrites, as it is written: These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.7 They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.

Casual, cultural Christianity sounds authentic because it honors God with the lips. What makes it faux-faith, however, is that it proceeds from a heart filled with rebellion and ruled by self (the flesh). Casual Christians never surrender their heart, soul, and lives to God, never express genuine repentance, and never undergo a life transformation by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They simply go through the motions of the Christian faith, play church, and act religious.

Consequently, Jesus explains that whatever worship they exercise toward Him is in vain; it is worthless. They might as well not even waste their time. Unless we worship and honor God with our hearts, and not just our lips, we face the same rebuke. How do we know the difference? If we embrace as doctrine the commands of men instead of scriptural truth, then our hearts have not engaged Jesus. Unless we offer to Him our lives and not just our words, we are not truly His.

Romans 12:1-2 (HCSB) Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

The exhortation that Paul presents is that since we have been the gracious recipients of God’s great mercies, we are to be “living sacrifices” to God. How do we do this? We are living sacrifices to God by not conforming to this world, but by being transformed by the renewal of our minds.

A living sacrifice to God is one who does not conform, but is transformed. We are not to be conformed to this world. Paul is using the word “world” here to refer to the spirit of the age. In other words, “world” refers to the popular worldview that rejects God and His revelation. As unbelievers, we are naturally conformed to the world.

Ephesians 2:2-5 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!

As believers, we are no longer conformed to this world because we no longer belong to the spirit of this age.

Colossians 1:13-14 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.

Therefore, rather than continuing to conform to this world, we are to be transformed by having our minds renewed.

Where do we put our time and energy? Do we spend more time thinking about the things of the flesh, or do we spend more time on God’s word and the application of it in our lives? Whatever you do, it will be seen by your fruit, whether it be the fruit of the spirit, or the fruit of the flesh. Where we get into difficulties though is when we think it is okay to mix the two, for they cannot live together in harmony, they are opposite to each other. We have to put in a lot of time with the spirit to overcome the natural flesh.

It would be so easy if Satan came as a red man with horns and a tail but he comes as your hearts desire, he comes after you with the things of this world that captivate your attention. When our attention is on the world and not on the kingdom we become susceptible to being deceived with things that are not sinful in itself but easily becomes an idol.

Don’t think the devil wont try to give you everything you desire to keep you from your purpose. He can only tempt you with what you can be tempted with. He knows if he can get you to compromise in worship, then he can get you to compromise in church, then in your prayer time and eventually you will fall way. If he can’t get you to do that he will keep you busy with work chasing the American dream to keep you from your purpose. Don’t think he won’t make taking that job away from home, stepping down from ministry, missing your wife and kids and forfeiting your purpose of God very appealing.

How do we compromise the Word of God?

• When we fail to accept the Word: 2 Timothy 4:3-4(ESV)“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths”.

• When we place our desires, and that of others, ahead of the Word of God:
Acts 5:4 (ESV)“While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God”.

As true believers in Christ, we must accept God’s Word as absolute, inerrant truth. We must be fully obedient to His Word. And we must recognize that His Word is not to be compromised for any reason or for anyone.

1. Are you willing to give up EVERYTHING and put Christ ahead of EVERYONE to follow Him immediately, indefinitely, and exclusively?

2. Are you living up to your commitment to put Him first in all things, at all times, under all circumstances?


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