The modern church today does their best to be relevant to non-churchy people. I can understand this strategy, considering Scripture teaches us to become all things to all people for the sake of the gospel (1 Cor. 9:23). We should overcome our traditions and idiosyncrasies in order to meet the culture where they are and help them understand why a relationship with God is important.
However, being culturally relevant doesn’t equate to changing the foundation of sin, repentance, faith, and the core doctrines of the Judeo-Christian worldview. These pillars of the faith are non-negotiable. For instance, you can still mention sin to an unbeliever the same way, whether you are wearing a jacket and tie or jeans and a polo t-shirt. You can still explain to them their need of a Savior using modern examples rather than outdated analogies.
But being culturally relevant does not mean you dress up sin to be a nice guy. Sin is always bad. Sin always leads to severe consequences. You can not make this truth palatable to anyone because sin is gross.
Therefore, we must be confident that God’s word can sustain us even when the culture opposes all that we stand for or believe in. In fact, this is already becoming a reality in the modern world. For example, telling the culture that co-habitation before marriage is fornication and sinful would most likely leave you with rolling eyes and a bewildered disposition. That is why as believers we need to be wise, gentle, and loving when we confront others with sin.
Additionally, we should be confident that God’s word can change the soul. No matter how dark the world gets, the church of Jesus Christ will stand strong. The Bible even promises this in Matthew 16:18 when Jesus said, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
This is comforting to know. The schemes of the devil will never overcome God’s kingdom. The power or deceitfulness of sin is not strong enough to pull you away from the grace of God. No principality or power shall ever be able to separate you from the love that is found in Christ. Even death will have no sting because our Savior rose again from the dead. He promises to resurrect us as well. This truth is amazing!
So then, let’s build God’s church, make it relevant to all people, and continue to keep the foundation of the gospel that God saves sinners! This is exactly what God told us to do. To build the foundation on the apostles and prophets, where Christ Jesus himself is the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).
I remember years ago when I preached in front of a crowd at the Kentucky Derby. The Lord spoke to me and said, “Preach Christ and Him crucified.” Because Christ is the chief cornerstone, I knew this message is what the world needed to hear. He is the foundation for our entire faith. While some people got angry and threw beer in front of me, others were thankful that I was telling people about Jesus. You could tell that even some of them felt convicted and were contemplating whether to heed to God’s commands.
Remember, God is the one who obtained the Church with his own blood (Acts 20:28). He died on the cross so that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). This is why the modern church is absolutely necessary because the gospel is always relevant! No matter whether you lived 100 years ago or today, you still need someone to rescue you from sin. You can’t be rescued by gimmicks or entertainment. You must be rescued by Jesus alone. He is the only sufficient being to bring you back into total restoration with our Heavenly Father.
Moreover, people still live in broken homes. Addiction is still an issue today. Physical and mental illness are real threats to one’s overall health. That is why God has called believers, especially leaders, to pay careful attention to the flock of God. In fact, the Holy Spirit has made mature Christians overseers to care for the church of God, which Christ ransomed with His own blood (Acts 20:28). This is a great responsibility we have as believers.
When I was in seminary a while ago, some of us graduates would go to the University of Louisville and share the gospel with students on campus. There was one student who felt convicted by the Holy Spirit. He talked to us for hours about how his grandmother would pray for him everyday. But then when he grew up, he stopped attending church. He fell from grace and began to live a life of sin.
The day we showed up, he wanted to change. He started going to church with us. Next, he got involved with bible studies, church events, and started evangelizing to his community. All of a sudden, you have this college student go from an unbeliever to a believer, and then from a believer to a leader. I am proud to inform you that to this day, he is currently a pastor and leader of the church we invited him to several years ago!
As believers, we watered and planted the gospel on campus, but it was God who caused the growth. It was the Holy Spirit who brought conviction to this man. This example is proof that Christianity speaks to modernity. This is evidence that the gospel of Christ will be forever relevant. God will be exalted in every age.
Lastly, as stated before, modernism can never replace the foundation of the gospel. Modernism can’t remove Jesus from being the chief cornerstone. In fact, modernism is looking for a Savior. The theme for finding purpose and meaning has always been ingrained in the human psyche. Salvation in Jesus is the most modern idea because it’s not about religious rituals; it’s all about a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. Isn’t this what all of us want?
After a while, people in the modern age realize that money can’t bring happiness. Prestige doesn’t breed a life of joy, but rather leads to suspicion and even envy. When unbelievers realize that all their false gods can’t save them from their anxiety and sadness, they search for meditation or their inner-self only to find more emptiness inside. Instead, people need to look outside of themselves and turn back to their Creator. Modernism fails to redeem the human heart. Only the Lord has that kind of power.
Listen, if you don’t know who God is, He wrote to you a personal letter. It’s called the Bible. In that good book, it talks about how he created the world, why man sinned, how God made a plan for us through His Son Jesus, and what will happen in the end: God will restore all things, bringing everlasting peace to this broken world.
I want to encourage you today to trust in Jesus. Find a healthy church that teaches the hard truth of sin, but with grace and a gentle spirit. If you are a believer, share this good news with your friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family members. Be confident that people around you are searching for meaning and truth. You have that treasure. That treasure is Christ. Please point them to this wonderful truth. Blessings!