Sunday, May 23, 2010
Last weekend we attended a local MMA fight. I wanted to go because several members of the Gym I train at were fighting that night. In addition, one of our trainers was fighting for a regional 155 pound title belt. While at the Fights I kept seeing T-shirts with our Gym Logo and the name of a fighter I had never heard of or even seen train in our Gym. It turns out that a local fighter had decided to make t-shirts for his “crew”, “posse”, “entourage”, whatever you want to call people who leach onto others in order to live off their fame. Not that this fighter is famous, he just decided to make himself known by printing many self promoting t-shirts. There is nothing wrong in a little self-promotion for an unknown fighter, but the problem was that even though he prominently posted the logo of our Gym on the t-shirts, he does not train at our gym. He has visited the gym infrequently, but he is not a team member by any means. And, no, he did not ask permission to use the Gym’s logo on his t-shirts.
So what is wrong with some un-requested free advertisement you may ask. In this case, a lot. First the local fighter in question lost the fight one minute into the first round via a choke. Second, after losing, in a very unsportsmanlike manner, he threw a fit and stomped off the ring, showing a lack of respect for his opponent, the ref, and the judges. Third, he had to be escorted by the police out of the venue hosting the event due to his post fight behavior. And finally, I heard that he was arrested later that night for getting rough with his wife. Not good exposure for the Gym. What made this situation particularly sad is that our Gym owner is very particular of who can fight under the Gym’s name. He only wants dedicated fighters, who train hard, are disciplined, respect the sport, are positive ambassadors for the sport/Gym, and are respectful & honorable in defeat or victory. Even though our trainer represented our Gym well by winning the 155 title belt, and being respectful and honorable in his victory, the actions of an “impostor” could have marred the reputation of our Gym.
The same is true with the Church and Christianity. The Church is full of people who appear to be Christians or claim to be Christians but their actions (fruits) are hurtful and negative to the message of Christ and Christianity. They wear the t-shirt, but are not members of the gym. There are many professing Christians who are doing more damage than good. They walk around with their “Christian” logo on their chest, while acting just like every non-believer out there in the world. For example, I just heard of a well known Christian Pop singer, Jennifer Knapp, who “came out of the closet” announcing that she is a homosexual in a lesbian relationship. She promoted Jesus, now she promotes her homosexuality. Christ changes lives. Once you accept Jesus as Lord and savior you are a New Creation, born again. Your life should reflect that change. If Jesus does not make a difference in your life, what difference does Jesus make?
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Ro 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Col 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
“Christians” such as these stumble true believers and push non-believers away. Why should a non-believer trust in Jesus when the “believers” themselves don’t trust him. They might profess him as Lord and Savior, but they do not obey his word or his commandments. Professing Christ does not demonstrate faith or trust in him, anyone can profess Christ. Heck, even demons profess and believe that Jesus is the Christ.
Jas 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
Lu 4:33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, 34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.
Many may state that Jesus is their Lord, but very few truly trust in him. Why do you think the Church has all of the same social problems of the world system? If we were truly living as called to do by Christ, It wouldn’t. But we love the world, we covet, we desire stuff to make us feel “happy” or “good”, we disobey God’s commandments because they are too harsh, we don’t agree, or because I “deserve” it(whatever “it” is in your life), we seek the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, while saying “thank you Jesus”. Why should an unbeliever go to the Church if he is just going to find what is readily available in the World. Saying you are a Christian and wearing a Christian t-shirt does not make you a Christian. Going to Church, frequently or infrequently, does not make you a Christian. Obedience in Christ and his Word, which is shown/reflected by your actions (fruits), demonstrate that you are a Christian.
Jas 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Ro 2:13 For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
Mt 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Christ’s logo goes on the inside, it cannot be seen other than in its reflection through your life, your actions, your behavior, your fruits. Don’t tell me you are a Christian, show me!
Jesus wants more than a logo on your chest, he wants you. He wants to change you completely, so that you behave more like him and represent him well to the unbelieving world. Would the US Government keep an ambassador who constantly behaves like a fool and misrepresents the position of the USA? Don’t think so.
2Co 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God.
Believers are called to represent Christ here in this World. We are ambassadors, in a sense we wear the T-Shirt with Jesus’ Logo. But, when you profess to be a Christian and behave like a worldly pagan, you are just like the fighter or ambassador I mentioned above. You are wearing the Gym’s logo without the consent of the owner (God), and every action you make reflects negatively on the Gym (Church) and those that attend the Gym (Believers). On the day of the fights, our Gym owner should have confronted the fighter and told him to take the shirts off. But in order to be “nice”, not cause an “issue” or maybe just compromise because the fighter did visit the gym every once in a while, he let it slide and it came back to bite him. Don’t we do the same in Church. We see alleged “believers” openly living in sin, encouraging politically correct ideologies that go against the Word of God, or just being a bad witness, yet we don’t say anything in order not to be judgmental, or because we don’t want to upset them, or offend them, or because we are afraid that they may leave and not come back.
God shows displeasure with those who misrepresent him and takes disciplinary action. From Moses hitting the rock in the wilderness, to the nation of Israel in it’s adultery with the world. Jesus also demonstrated his displeasure with the false prophets and false teachers who misrepresented God’s message to the people. Paul even ordered the men corrupting the Church to be thrown out.
See 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 Expel the Immoral Brother!
Tit 3:10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.
2Ti 3:2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power (going to Church but no believing, disobedient ). And from such people turn away!
2Th 3:6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.
2Th 3:13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
Ro 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.
Mt 18:15 "Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.16 "But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.'17 "And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
True believers should stand up to those who claim to follow Christ with their tongue, but deny him by their actions. They should be confronted and corrected with the truth, before they go on a rampage, stumble new believers, and push away those seeking the truth.
In other words, they should not wear the t-shirt unless they are going to do it justice!