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July 28, 2010

Can I be hip and cool and be a Christ follower at the same time?

I grew up in a Christian family, studied in a Christian school, went to a Christian church, wear Christian tshirt, listen to Steve Green and Michael W Smith, watch left behind movies, hair was always short. I thought this is how the world looks like.

Then I met a bunch of Christians that looked different – long hair,  a famous rock star who sings songs about Jesus, they live a life of destiny, they challenge young people to make a difference and Jesus was the Lord of their lives.  They were far from the people I knew whose main concern was that I go to heaven after I die.

I also met a lot of Christians who are trying to balance living out their faith and walking in the thin line of compromise and integrity because they don’t want to lose their hipness, fame, coolness and awesomeness in the eyes of the world.

It reminds me of the people in the Corinth church. The Corinthian Church was struggling with being hip, cool and not too religious and at the same time be solid on their faith. They were a cool people. It makes them uncomfortable at times to maintain a balance between looking like fools for Christ and cool for the world.

Martin Luther’s breaks down the scripture in Corinthians into 2 theologies. A theology of Glory and theology of the cross when he was studying the Corinth church

THEOLOGY OF GLORY
Christians are called be to be rich, powerful, leader, achieve more, cool, successful and God is the best self help guru that they could trust.

Isaiah 29:13-14
13 The Lord says:  “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men. 14 Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”

THEOLOGY OF THE CROSS
Jesus was not cool, hip, powerful and rich. He was humble, simple, he suffered and died and totally not cool.

1Cor. 1:17-19 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”

When it comes to the cross – the core of our belief – that is where God revealed Himself, died for us, displayed his love and conquered sin and death, where eternal life is given. Paul says when we come to the cross – the world thinks it is foolish. It is crazy talk for the world. For the Christians it is the most glorious event ever.

There are basically 2 people in the world when it comes to the cross.

1.    Those who love the cross
2.    Those who don’t get it.

To the non-Jewish world the cross was “foolishness” –criminals died on crosses, and they could not see how the cross provided any moral philosophical standard to help them toward salvation

The Greeks wanted wisdom.” They were the intelligentsia of the day. They had produced men like Socrates, Plato, & Aristotle. Great thinkers. Many of them we read even today. Socrates said, “The secret to a successful society is education. If we can just give everybody a good education, then it must follow that the world will get better & better.”

They also had a different concept of salvation. The Greeks believed that all souls are immortal. Therefore, when you die, you automatically go to be with the Gods. If your life was good enough, then you stayed with the Gods. But if it wasn’t, then you were reincarnated into another body, & you get another chance. And you keep trying until you get it right.?In that way everybody is finally saved. Nobody is lost. You keep being reincarnated until finally everybody is one with the Gods. That was what the Greeks believed.  They didn’t need a Savior, because everybody was going to be saved anyway. So when it came to hearing about a cross, to them that was foolishness. “Why does anybody have to go to a cross & die? We’re all going to be saved.”

It’s still the same with the way people think today. The current NEW AGE teachings that we are like little gods, and our mind is powerful than God, and we can help ourselves.

1Cor. 1:20-25  Where are the wise? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

People want to determine the means by w/c they could come to their conclusions about God and that is unacceptable. We cannot create the God that we want.

1Cor. 1:26  ¶     Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth.

1Cor. 1:27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
1Cor. 1:28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are,

1Cor. 1:29 so that no one may boast before him.
1Cor. 1:30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.
1Cor. 1:31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let those who boast boast in the Lord.

Reality is we are fools for something or someone. Whose fool are you?

excerpts from my preaching on “Foolish Wisdom”, click here to listen

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