Sometimes I feel like the American church needs to forget everything it thinks it knows about Jesus and the Bible and go back to Sunday School. What would Jesus do? Fight those liberal Pharisees in the name of absolute truth? Fight against Roman taxation and imperialism? Purge his disciples of anyone who did not agree with him?
Philippians 2 is a good place to start. "Do nothing from selfishness or for empty glory but in humility regard others as more important than yourself."
What's that? Love your neighbors and your enemies? Put others ahead of yourself? Really?
"Think this way among you, which also was the thinking in Christ Jesus..." What are we going to hear? That he stuck up for absolute truth? That he fought statist thinking? That he put lawbreakers in their place? That he refused to compromise on principle?
How about this? "Although he existed with the status of God, he did not consider equality with God something of which to take advantage, but he emptied himself, taking the status of a servant."
But was that just around other Christians who were doing the right thing? Did he just help others who were in the right? Did he just help others who were in his group who agreed with him? Those who looked like him and followed the rules? How about Romans 5:7-8: "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
And how about Philippians 2:7-8: "Having been found in the likeness of mortals and having been found in human form, he humbled himself, having become obedient to death, even the death of a cross."
That's what Jesus would do. He would die for his enemies.
I fear that much of the American church knows little of Jesus, despite its zeal for the law and angry sounding words. I fear that a good deal of what will resound from American pulpits today will little resemble anything truly having to do with Jesus. We are a lost church that is angry about the wrong things.
"Lord, Lord, did I not set everyone else straight about the right way to think and how to be a good American?"
"Depart from me. I never knew you."