I once heard someone say that it used to be people understood God came first and being good came second. In recent days, however, a change has taken place. Now good comes first, and God comes second.
Talk to the average person on the street and ask them which is more important: Jesus or being good, and he'll pick being good every time. The average person honestly believes that what you believe about being Christ is secondary. If there is a God, He's more interested in what you do than what you believe.
To put it real simply, the typical unbeliever believes he doesn't need Christ...he just needs to be nice.
Which is why, if we as believers just decided we weren't going to talk about Jesus so much any more I can pretty much guarantee you that we would be a much more popular group of people.
Even if we toned down the message a bit...instead of talking about Jesus as the Savior, instead of talking about our absolute dependence on Jesus, if we just talked about Him as an example, as a path to God, as one way among many, as a great leader, as a model for us to follow, if we didn't focus so much on the exclusivity of Christ, the average unbeliever wouldn't have many problems with what we were saying.
Even better, if we decided to talk more about being good and less about trusting Jesus...
The world by and large doesn't mind much if we talk about being good. Most people don't have a problem with someone talking about being patient. They may have more of a problem when they learn how the Bible defines it, but the idea of patience in and of itself is not very offensive. What's more, I haven't met too many unbelievers who have a problem with someone talking about being loving or kind.
The fact is, there are many people who are interested in being good people. Trying to be a good person, talking about being a good person, this is not something very controversial. But talking about putting your faith in Christ is.
You know that. Most people will hang with you as long as you are talking about being nice, but once you start talking about the importance of Jesus Christ, the conversation shuts down. As a result, there is a great demand for us as believers to change our message...and a great temptation to cave in; which is why over the next few blogs, I want us to think about why being good is not good enough.
To begin though, I'm interested, how would you answer this question? What are some of the responses you give to someone who says that it is rude and intolerant to talk about the exclusivity of Christ?