How Satan Stole the Church

I listened to this podcast from Your Move with Andy Stanley. I enjoy his preaching and he is one of the few podcasts to which I subscribe.

I wrestled with the term “Christianity” recently. Actually, for over a year I have struggled with the definition or lack thereof.

Andy Stanley has a series right now on this. While listening to one particular podcast in this series called “Christianity: Quitters”, I realized something. I want to share with you this thought.

First, let’s give you some background on this subject.
Above is a link that is part of Andy’s introduction of his 30 minute podcast. He so eloquently describes an atheist turned Christian, turned non-Christian 10 years later. If you watch only this segment and stop you will miss the point.
(Maybe you were raised in church, maybe you don’t like church because of the people. I get it. And so does Andy Stanley. Watch or listen to his entire series on this subject if you are struggling with this same issue of the definition of Christianity.)

The term Christian is my issue. There is no definition of this term that is universal and agreed upon by all. It is one word that means different things to every person.
To some it means to act like Jesus Christ or to resemble him as much as possible.
To others it describes someone who attends church. To others it may mean someone who believes in Jesus. And yet, I do not have enough time or space on this page to list all the possible definitions I personally have discovered.
I get so confused with so many definitions of this one word. Even to the group that call themselves Christians they don’t agree on just one single definition.

Did you ever speak to someone that said “oh yeah, I’m a Christian”? But then your definition of that term did not match their actions. So you determined quietly within yourself that they are not really a Christian. And thus judged them as not the same as you. “I don’t know what he/she is but it’s not what “I” call a Christian!” And they may have said the same thing about you.

Andy made an interesting point. The term Christian was not even used by the early church. They called themselves disciples of Jesus Christ. The term Christian was actually a derogatory term used to describe Christ’s disciples of the early church.
Over time this term stuck and is a widely popular and most used term to describe people of the church. I live in the Bible Belt so it’s super common.

Here’s my profound thought! (It was Big deal to me)

Satan is the king of compromise. If he can’t get you to out-right break one of the Ten Commandments maybe he can blur the lines a bit. Let’s diffuse the label. Let’s take out all the meaning. Since the term Christianity can mean a wide variety of lifestyles, beliefs, and practices the term has no substance.
The term Christianity has no standard. We say the Bible is the Word of God and is the standard by which we all must live and be judged. But anyone referring to that term does not have to adhere to the standard of the Bible.
In fact, there’s much confusion in the church world even of what the standard is.

The term Jesus used was “disciple”. That carries a hefty weight. You can do all kinds of things in the name of Christianity but if you call yourself a disciple you are “locked” into a very specific, well defined description. It describes behavior. It describes thoughts.
Disciple: learner, pupil, follower.

John 13:34-35 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


THIS is how you know you are a disciple.

If you want to make an impact on the world it will be because HOW you love. Not what you say you are.

1 John 5:2 NIV This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.

If I do not SHOW love to everyone I cannot say that I am a “disciple” of Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 13:1 NLT If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I pray better than anyone else. If I can preach so well that all who listen are stirred to tears. If I can sing so that goose bumps go down your spine. If I am used in the gift of the Holy Spirit but I do not love I am no better than a clanging cymbal. I make no more impact on the world than a loud, short, annoying, forgotten noise.

Satan will try everything he can to cripple the Church from promoting the Kingdom of God. Anything he can do disable the Gospel.

How easy is it then to destroy the meaning of Christianity? Water it down. Take out the LOVE command. I can love my friends, love the people I hang out with. But don’t expect me to love those heathens. Or to love those that hurt me.

If we don’t love the way Christ loved then we cannot call ourselves a disciple of Jesus Christ. That is what “Christianity” is supposed to mean-Disciple of Jesus Christ. My life should resemble His. I should strive for the same standard by which Jesus lived.

It is time to take back the church. Take it back what God intended.

The author Andy speaks about in the clip above said “It’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group.”

My prayer is that the church of Jesus Christ does not resemble that description. Granted, not everyone that calls themselves a Christian behaves like that. However, it is too common to see hateful, judgmental, condemning behavior.

Join with me to pray that the church gets a new, full dose of LOVE the way Jesus lived it.

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