How does the world see Christians?
In a 2008 Lifeway survey of nonchurchgoing Americans, this is what they found:
79% said Christianity is more about organized religion than about God
86% said it is possible to have a good relationship with God without going to church
44% said Christians “get on their nerves”
89% have close friends who are Christians
79% are open to having an honest conversation with a Christian about faith if asked.
Also, they saw that Christians see efficiency as more important than spirituality. And that Christians just want to be entertained.
What are we to see as we look at others? Especially those who don't agree with us; who don't look like us; who aren't Christians?
1. They are Created in God's image.
"So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27
2. God desires all to be saved.
"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:1-4
3. God looks at the heart
"But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”" 1 Samuel 16:7
He doesn't see people as we do.
As yourself three questions:
How do I see myself as a Christian?
How do others describe me as a Christian?
How do you think God sees you?
God wants absolutely everybody and He is seeking everyone and talking to everyone on this earth right at this moment!
What a radical concept!
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Jesus the radical! He talked to people society told Him He shouldn't talk to!
"Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matthew 9:35-36
He had pity on the crowds! He saw they were like sheep. He saw they needed Him.
Here are the commands from Radical Jesus:
Do not judge!
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" Matthew 7:1-3
Repent – yourselves!
"From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” Matthew 4:17
Let your light shine!
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16
Love your enemies!
"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?" Matthew 5:44-46
Love God completely!
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment." Matthew 22:37-38
And Love everybody else too!
"And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:39-40