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Counting Gods In 2011


Prior to the 1960's, I'd say most people in the western world understood God to be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Because of the influx of Islam, secularism, humanism, philosophies of tolerance, ecumenicalism, new age thinking, multiculturalism, to name a few, into the west, this is no longer the case.  The God of the Bible that supposedly died in the 1960's according to Time Magazine has been resurrected in the 2000's as an all-purpose generic god that is supposed to satisfy those of all religious, cultural, and philosophical persuasions.


On a few occasions in the past I have "counted Gods" in some Christian gatherings I attended.  I would count how many time God was mentioned in relation to how many times Jesus was mentioned in the meeting.  In one joint Evangelical gathering that began at 6 o'clock and ended at 7:30, the first mention of Jesus outside of songs and Bible readings came at 7:05.  It took 65 minutes before the name of our Lord and Saviour was mentioned.  By the end of the meeting, the final score of my counting of Gods was, God 29, Jesus 5. 


I haven't counted Gods for a while so I headed off to a popular Christian conference speaker's web site to count Gods again.  Her message lasted 25 minutes.  Outside of a couple of quotes from the Bible and a quote from another author, the final score in her message was, God 78, the Lord Jesus Christ 8.  You might think "Lord Jesus Christ" being three words might score more than 8 mentions, especially in light of God being only one word.  That wasn't the case.  She said Jesus 7 times, Lord 1 time, and Christ 0 times.   


Now as crazy as I'm sure you think I am, I believe the resulting statistics of my craziness tells a sad story.  We simply talk more about God than our Lord Jesus Christ, and in today's generic god world, that's no longer acceptable.  Most people don't consider this to be an important or practical issue, but I certainly do. 


To be clear, and I wonder if clarity matters any more, the God Christians serve is the "God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ". (Romans 15:6,  2 Corinthians 1:3, Ephesians 1:3, 1 Peter 1:3)  He is not an all-purpose generic god.  He is specific to being the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we blur this truth by limiting the use of the name Jesus in our vocabulary, as I believe we do, we misrepresent the God of the Bible.  As an aside, I believe most of us simply think in terms of believing in God or Jesus, not representing God or Jesus.  The ramifications of this failure isn't good.   


In John 20:21 Jesus said, "as the Father has sent me, so I am sending you".  This may be too technical or nit-picky for many, but according to Jesus' own words, God the Father sent Jesus into the world as His representative.  In like fashion, Jesus sends you and I into the world as His representative.  Technically speaking, we represent Jesus while Jesus represents God the Father.  That's one reason why we're called "Christians" and not "Godians".  Therefore, we should speak about our Lord Jesus Christ more than we presently do so the world is clear on who we serve.  By the way, we are to "serve" Jesus, not just believe in Him.  The apostle Paul said that he both "belonged to", and "served" Jesus. (Acts 23:11)  Serving Jesus seems to be something else that has been lost in our thinking in recent years.


God Himself has placed the Lord Jesus Christ in the center of all there is, until such time when Jesus hands all things back to His Father. (2 Corinthians 15:25 - 28)  In today's vernacular, this means that "God has given Jesus top billing".  We should do the same.  


Here's the challenge.  You try counting Gods and Jesus' during the next sermon you hear.  I understand that as you count, there are times when the context insists you say God instead of Jesus, but when the score is 78 to 8 in favour of God over Jesus, there's something a bit strange about that.   


1 Peter 2:8 in the NIV characterizes Jesus as being "a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall".  The KJV puts it this way.  Jesus is "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense".  Simply put, Jesus  offends people.  That's clearly seen these days.  Christians can talk about God all they want in politics, in government, on talk shows, and in society in general, but when we talk about the Lord Jesus Christ, bullets fly from all directions.  Most Republicans in the present race for President of the United Statescan easily say they believe in God and are Christian because both the word "God" and "Christian" have a watered down meaning these days.  If one of these candidates says he has given his life to the Lord Jesus Christ and follows Biblical teaching concerning such issues as sexuality, marriage, and Jesus being the only way to God, CNN and other media would be all over him.  Society gets all up in arms over the mentioning of Jesus because He flies in the face of their all-purpose generic god to whom they expect us to bow our knees.     


The very name of the Lord Jesus Christ is offensive these days, but that's no reason to stop talking about Him as some so-called Christian leaders suggest.  To avoid offending people, these leaders suggest we emphasize God over Jesus, and remove all crosses from church property.  President Obama, who claims to be Christian, demanded that all crosses be removed from the room in a Catholic University where he spoke last year.  The apostle Paul was right.  The "cross of Christ is offensive". (Galatians 5:11)  Paul was also right when he said, "whatever you do, whether in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Colossians 3:17)  That says it clearly.  Let's do just that.


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