-David Platt, from his book "Radical" pages 104-105
This is an extremely sad, but true statement. If you haven't read this book...I highly recommend it.
The issues these words bring up have been a huge issue in the church for far too long. We live in our "Christian" boxes and stand as far away from the world as possible. We listen to the right music...wear the right clothes...talk the right way...don't go to the movie theater...etc, and we look down our noses at those who do not do the same. We communicate by our actions that if you want me to talk to you you need to fix up your life first.
Is this what Jesus taught and lived, though?
Luke 18:9-14 (ESV)
When we live in the way I spoke about above...are we not behaving like this Pharisee? He defined himself as being right before God because of all the things he did and didn't do...but we should all be broken before God knowing that we are wicked sinners before our God...worthy of no pride in ourselves!
All throughout His ministry, Jesus did not spend time with the religious ones, but with the sinners. He went to those that were rejected by the religious ones. Don't think this means that I'm preaching an acceptance gospel. People argue that because Jesus ate with sinners, that meant he was accepting of their sin...but that is not what Jesus taught...
John 7:53-8:11 (ESV)
Jesus does not condone the sins of the woman, he tells her to go and sin no more. He loved them and fellowshipped with them, but he did not tell them that their sin was okay.
Now...does this mean that I think Christians should go into the bar on Friday night to share the gospel with people? No, I don't think so. This is flirting too closely with dangerous temptations. But it does mean that as we go throughout our day we should reach out in love to whomever we meet, no matter how "bad" they might look.
So...what should we believers be known for, if it's not to be known by what we don't do?
We should be known for Christlikeness! A Christlikeness that comes from an intimate fellowship with our Lord...not through external changes. It's a work that God does in our life, not a work we do for ourselves. We read the Word and allow God to use it in our lives to make us more like Him.
We need to see ourselves rightly before God...sinful people saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul said of himself that he was the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15)...we should view ourselves before God as being the chief of sinners as well. When we view ourselves like this...how could we ever look down our noses at the "sinners" around us? The man who is hooked on drugs, we should not look down on...because, but for the grace of God, we could be right where they are.
So Christians...humble yourself before God...reach out in love to those around you...share Christ with people, and do it with zeal, because we serve an awesome God...