A. Clichés we have all heard.
- Clichés used by Christians to talk to other Christians.
- Oh Praise the Lord and pass the salt! (kind of flip)
- Bless God, I’m pleading the blood. (What do you mean by that?)
- I’m prayin for ya. (Say it if you mean it. If you don’t mean it, don’t say it. Don’t just say it to sound spiritual).
- ‘God helps those who help themselves.’
- Link to its roots: A Ben Franklin saying, that goes back further to ancient Greece: An Aesop’s Fable.
- Versus Romans 5: 6 – 8), Prov 28:26
- ‘The man upstairs must be lookin over me’, ‘what a coincidence!’
- ‘Let me be honest with you.’
2. Clichés used by Christians to talk to non-Christians. Maybe what I really mean is do we use christianese with non Christians and expect them to understand what in the world we are talking about? We get so used to using christianese with other Christians that we forget and use it with non-Christians. Then we wonder why they ‘don’t get it’.
i. Are you saved? Saved from what?
ii. Are you living in sin? What else would you expect them to be living in? They don’t know the Lord.
3. Clichés used by non-Christians.
- ‘Our thoughts are with you’ (rather than thoughts and prayers). My question is what ability do your internal thoughts have to change a thing?
- You ought to be a preacher, you’re so religious. (I’m not religious and I don’t have any desire to be. I have a relationship with Jesus and I follow Him).
- Sorry Joe, I know you’re religious, before they spew out profanity. (Is that some kind of a disclaimer like – ‘oh bless his heart’?)
- ‘You believe what you want to, and I’ll believe what I want to. And I don’t believe in God.’ (Interesting, cuz He believes in you, and the demons believe in Him – James)
- Real men don’t need the God crutch. If you’re a real man, rely on yourself. Religion is for women, children and sissies. My wife can go to church all she wants and take the kids too. I don’t need to listen to no preacher. What does he know anyway? I’ll stay home and sleep and then watch some football. I don’t need God, I am doing just fine on my own. (So mister macho – you who seem to think you have it so together, have you considered the claims of Christ and given Him a good look or are you just the Marlboro man, who needs no one else and can do it yourself?) Plus, I’m not talking about church. I’m talking about you and Jesus. Why is it that men will hunt and fish and do dangerous things, but are scared to death to humble themselves and bend their knee to Jesus?
B. The danger with clichés is that we start using pat answers to talkabout God. When we do that, the way we talk about God becomes routine, a ritual, and loses its meaning.
- So how do I know if I have lapsed into cliché Christianity?
i. Is God someone you only talk to on Sunday when we gather as a church? Or do you talk to Him daily, have a relationship with Him, and read His Word to grow?
ii. Are you a baby Christian who has stayed a baby Christian ever since you came to Christ?
- If you’re in a cliché rut, I challenge you to get out of it. Today I’m going to give some ideas about how to do that.
- Make some new tracks for the truck tires.
- Keep your relationship with the Lord fresh. Keep your heart.
- There are things you and I can do to ‘cooperate’ with the Lord so we will start growing again.
C. Let’s look at some scripture that helps us go beyond cliché tovibrant, Christ empowered living. Real spiritual growth.
- First what we want to avoid – Isaiah 29:13 (NASB) “Then the Lord said, “Because this people draw near with their words And honor Me with their lip service, But they remove their hearts far from Me, And their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote, 14 Therefore behold, I will once again deal marvelously with this people, wondrously marvelous; And the wisdom of their wise men will perish, And the discernment of their discerning men will be concealed.”
- And avoid this – Matt 6:7 – vain repetition, many words…
D. Instead of rote, let’s focus on these Scripture:
- Eph 3:16 – 20 – See key words below –
iv. Dwell (live, build a house don’t pitch a tent)
v. Rooted and grounded – How can I do this? First of all cooperate with the gardener.
vi. Comprehend – How can I do this?
vii. Width x Length x Depth x Height
viii. Love of God – surpasses all knowledge (blows your mind)
ix. V20 – exceedingly abundantly above – Our imaginations are not able to comprehend His love and power.
- Col 2:6,7,8 – See key words – similar to above passage
i. V7 – Received, walk
ii. Rooted (Choose your favorite plant for this and the next 3 words)
iii. Built up – how can I do this? First of all cooperate and surrender to the Gardener. He knows what is best.
iv. Established – How can I do this? (Worship, Fellowship, the Word, Ministry, Sending) Grow as You Go!
v. Abounding – How can I do this? (Grow as You Go!)
vi. V8 – Don’t be taken in by those who are teaching things about Jesus that are not Biblical and therefore not true.
- 2 Peter 3:18 – grow in the grace of God