Modern Western Christianity has been so watered down over the past two hundred years that to me it resembles nothing more than a wet noodle. Powerless, empty, limp. (I'm not talking about every church. I know there are groups that are in revival now, Praise God!)
I don't mean to shock people, but I've been thinking about this alot lately. What is it about the American church that drives people away, especially young people? What is wrong with our message? I go to church every Sunday and do you know what I hear over and over and over? The Salvation message about repentence and allowing Jesus to come into your life and forgive your sins, and messages about living moral lives. But I never hear a message on what Jesus is saving us from, do you? I never hear a message on eternity or the coming kingdom or the realities of hell. We tell people that they must repent and ask Jesus into their hearts so they can go to heaven, but we never tell them what heaven is like or what happens if they don't. So, why should they choose Jesus? Some people choose Him because they are told He can give you your "best life now". But that's a deception. I doubt the disciples would agree that after they decided to follow Jesus, they had a great life! So, why choose Him? What is heaven? What does happen after we die? And what does Jesus have for me in the here and now?
There's 3 major things I believe are missing in our watered down messages.
1. We no longer teach on the powers of the Holy Spirit (we've taken the power out of our Faith)
2. We don't really tell people what Jesus has for them in this life besides helping us follow a list of rules (pretty boring, if you ask me)
3. We've not told them that It's not all about Heaven. (Heaven is only a temporary stop)
Regarding number 3, consider the following 2 scenerios.
A friend approaches you and asks you what your Christian Faith is about. Here's 2 responses. They are both true and Biblical. Which one do you think would have more impact?
A. Being a Christian means you've repented of all your sins, committed your life to Jesus and you believe He's the Son of God. By that belief you are guaranteed a spot in Heaven when you die. In the meantime, you follow Him and try to be as good as you can.
B. There's a kingdom coming on the earth. It will be the final Kingdom in which God himself will come down from Heaven and rule over the earth from his throne in Jerusalem. He will rule with justice and goodness and there will be no more war or famine or death. His name is Jesus and He is looking for people who will help Him reign over the earth. He came once before and paid the price with His own death so that anyone who wanted to, could join Him in this new Kingdom. When you pledge your life and loyalty to Him, He fills you with His Spirit, who gives you great power, and He begins to train you for your position in this Kingdom. He also wants you to go tell others about Him and His coming Kingdom because He loves everyone and doesn't want anyone to be left out of the adventure!
I don't know about you, but I've heard alot of option A over the years, but I've never heard option B.