Matthew 5:11-12 (NKJV) "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
There has always been this undercurrent in human beings of needing to and wanting to fit in. It's not fun to be left out, and downright discouraging to be excluded. It looks like the people that seem to be happy are the popular ones, the centers of attention. It's not true of course, everyone has their issues in life, but perceptions can really mess with our heads.
The Church today seems to be so afraid of being left out today that they have placed way too much emphasis on trying to fit into a world and a culture that hates Jesus. Of course the 'hating Jesus' (John 15:18) part is conveniently left out of their marketing plans and business models. (Yes, church leaders have turned to secular business models, too, but that's a different note altogether.) The Church wants to be relevant, cool, and hip. But along they way, she has become empty, shallow, and powerless. It was A.W. Tozer that proposed, "If the Holy Spirit were taken away from the church today, 90% of what they did would continue on unnoticed." That's a powerful indictment upon the human-centered ways of today's church.
Don't buy into it. Human methods will not reap eternal gains. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't lean on your own understanding, especially if you're a leader in God's most Holy Church!
The apostle Paul is expressing his deep concern for the church in Corinth in Second Corinthians. They were dealing with deceivers, liars, and phonies. Savage wolves had come into the church and they were ripping them off. We'll hear more about that today.All Sermons by Pastor Ed Taylor