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Are You a Christian?

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December 30, 2020 1:00 am

Are You a Christian?

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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December 30, 2020 1:00 am

Pastor Dean Inserra contrasts the difference between those who say they are a Christian and actual followers of Jesus Christ. Inserra walks us through the list of eight different cultural Christians, including Country Club Christian, Christmas and Easter Christian, and Social Justice Christian, and tells why these people are missing the mark.

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We often talk about the Bible Belt as the place in our country where Christianity is thriving. Pastor Dean and Sarah says that may not be accurate.

Bible belt is somebody who loves Jesus, but their loving Jesus is more of a country music Jesus is the actual use of the Bible. Somebody once and for Jesus to be person identified with donative personal inconvenience was a lot about about folks don't really have a saving faith of Jesus is part of life will claim a church usually don't go to one is that means that's their grandmother's church. They got Mother's Day means a lot to her told mother of their mother become a pressure type things for believing me so much humanity can church on Sunday.

We please come is Mother's Day. Of course he of course will do that will show up to some friends never come back again until the next. This is family like today.

Our hosts are David and Wilson unlevel team depending on what you mean by the word Christian Dean, and Sarah says we have some people who are saved Christians and some who are unsaved Christians talk more about what he means by that today stay with us and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us to use the phrase, what would you call it a priest or priest or a creased or not. I'd heard us and I give her to Christer hazardous CEO Christian you turn your Christian essay think at Christmas and Easter only counter that what CEO stands for but that's what you're talking about increased her right but that's also what Dean and Sarah is talking about the little bit. That's one of the categories he talks about in his book the unsaved Christian and working up continue our conversation. We been having with Dean this week or just a minute. But before we get to that, we've got a special announcement from the president of family life David Robbins 2020 has been a vivid reminder of why we need to stay really deeply rooted and connected and committed to Jesus and doubled down on the vision and mission God is given family life. We want to keep living out the passion of reaching every home with the gospel and there are more opportunities than ever today. This year, every home is feeling deep needs, especially right now I can't tell you how many heartbreaking stories I've heard about someone losing their job. Husbands and wives feeling isolated in their own homes and the impact that coded and quarantine has had on families. We need you as a listener as someone who's benefited I pray from family life today to come alongside us. If you find yourself saying guys. I really do believe God is still in control and he's doing something unique through all the craziness of 20/20 and if you're passionate about receiving and sharing biblical help and hope and passionate about calling people to surrender to Jesus Christ to make their marriage and family go the distance and I invite you to partner with us as we turn the page on 20/20 time is running out to have your gift matched. We have not yet hit or match goal and we need your support. Will you consider donating today. Your gift helps make our mission possible to go out and reach every corner and every community. Thank you for being such a blessing to us and thank you for helping us meet this critical match and we do hope we can hear from you today or tomorrow so we can take advantage of this matching gift. As David mentioned, you can give or you can call one 800 FL today to make a urine donation will send you a couple of thank you gifts when you donate will send you a copy of my book. Love, like you mean it, and will also send you a flash drive with more than 100 of the best family like today programs from the last 28 years. So, again, help us take advantage of this matching gift and make a urine donation today online the family life or call one 800 FL today to make a donation. All right, let's talk about what we mean when we talk about unsaved Christians Dean and Sarah is joining us again today. He's the author of a book by that title.

Dean welcome back to family life today.

Good beer. Thank you Dean is the pastor of city church in Tallahassee, Florida, and this book again.

A provocative title but you're trying to get to the heart of the fact that there's a difference between a person who says I'm a Christian and a person who really is a follower of Jesus, yes, and is hopefully equipping the church to go to reach these people who I believe are by large mission film America, which are people that claim to be Christians but the Christianity claim is not the Christianity of the Bible is sort of an American hobby. Your superstition or type of approach in the mid-1970s back before you were born I would hi remember the governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter, who was running for president who made made the big deal about the fact that he was a born again Christian will it entered the vernacular.

All of a sudden, people like what is this mean what is a born again Christian and there was a dividing line.

You remember this so I don't. People would say so. Are you one of those you one of those born against.

That's exactly how they would say half as almost heretical. Yeah it was like only one of those born-again's and the like are you one of those nut jobs. Yes, one of those crackpots.

My mom actually asked me that to use that term. I became a follower of Christ. My junior college came home on fire just fanatical about going to hell you gonna you know if became an evangelist and she said are you one of those born-again's my family, my ass. I am not one of those born-again's are you, but because the idea of that was that that you were kind off the deep end and when it came to Christianity and in the presupposition was we need to keep our Christianity moderate. We don't need to be extreme about our Christian my dad said to me let's not get carried away and this young in our day. I think there's a there's a little different phenomenon going on, which is like are you an evangelical and what that means to a lot of people is are you a Republican right you talk a little bit about this in the book, I do. So how do we deal with that when when a friend says so are you in one of the evangelicals. How do you answer that in a way that that is through the clutter loading fire rated rock 'n' roll amount of the first responsive and must be what you mean by that is not a copout. We have to because it's so confusing about was in a jungle.

What is not, and somehow over history what is happening in on my right, read through it.

Look back, it seems like it's a little bit of the mid-baby during the communist rain this, became a thing where we equated being an American. With being a Christian is that Christianity defined by the blood of Jesus on the cross and his resurrection no more is a sort of twist of marrying patriotism and this kind of idea family values. With this religious aspect that we call Christian and it really is problematic not problematic. Love your country. I think it's a wonderful thing. I think gratefulness is a Christian posture.

We should be grateful for the things that we have here in our country and for those who have fought to defend it for us.

At the same time, for many, I called God and country Christians if they moved to Poland tomorrow would drastically affect their faith because their faith is so wrapped up in the sort of nationalism is sort of patriotism that is not a Christian faith, and they forget that the Bible was written before Thomas Jefferson's like great great-great-grandparents resident born, like where America was even a constant diamond sort of kind of a concept sleeves have to make sure we realize the legs of the global faith.

And this is not some sort of use things like the American Venus city shine on a hill, that's not the church is the city shine on America and I think it I think of a fun at the end of your book you list eight different cultural Christians. I think be helpful for people I'll read your title and you you to find it. Gary did one of them. But let's start a top to first when you say is the country club Christian yes the people to the country club. He thinks knobby and is what I mean by that I mean the country club Christian is someone who is just a member of the organization and all they have to do is just pay their dues when it comes the local church that is never challenged their needs are catered to the secular needs are catered to the move to another country club that the lax church membership were joints or doesn't mean anything outside of just paying your dues has really impacted and really allowed cultural crochet to flourish or being a part of the church means nothing demands nothing major.

And if I pay my dues. I can use the facilities from time to time when I have a wedding or funeral or something like that come to the club right now. Just realize this can be hard to do because you want to stop on each one, and I sounded so maybe the Stillman and this go back if there's something Bob or Andy has went on about going Christmas and Easter Christian Christmas and Easter Christians is that for them. There's nothing really spiritual about the holiday used to be that way. But now, going to church on Christmas and Easter is no different than wearing green on St. Patrick's Day bidding turkey on Thanksgiving. The going trick-or-treating on Halloween than giving mom ugly flowers and a card on Mother's Day is just what you do as part of the celebration of that day is no religious to biscuits whatsoever. So I encourage pastors, especially don't rail and attack these people and actually show up on Easter and Christmas for not coming. The rest of the year. They're not Christians but the people you pray. We pray God, please bring unbelievers to our services and please bring them and they actually show that answers our prayers.

Give him a hard time for not being there regularly affect other lost, only to realize that so we have a massive Easter crowd. Every year we we have it for states basketball arena in which filtering is incredible and people say well you must.

These outreach gurus like that were not claims they go to our churches shows up on the site and that's all it really happens. Go get in their superstitious celebration of the days. This is what you do you wear green on St. Patrick's Day or something up into what you're told. Growing up, you shoot fireworks on 4 July go to church on Easter and Christmas.

That's all it means is, no throttles biscuits whatsoever. How God and country. That's what we were just talking I have someone who marries their faith, their patriotism is really troubling because that is so cultural that would not work if with another country like your your love for America shows be a separate category in itself is also subordinate to your love for God. The promise don't think that an issue with that good with this is the bear little bit here but go to AA evangelical very conservative church on a what I call the high holy days of cultural Christianity which our Memorial Day, Fourth of July Veterans Day, a lot of the Sunday after September 11, and you will see a greater celebration is on Easter Sunday. Oftentimes I see uniformed military personnel get a louder ovation than returning missionaries from the mission field so we shouldn't appreciate and Carrigan gratefulness the Christian posture. It's really become problematic.

I could talk about anything and the one thing that gets pushed back.

I could do sermons on divorce and on sexuality I could cover so many controversial topics abortion, but if I poke a bear on the God and country issue. That's the number one thing to push back on very sensitive about shows this problem. I have gotten the same thing really. It's interesting it really is gone it passes the really hard time for not doing enough Memorial Day. It's likely pray for people acknowledge the day they want extravagance and like will. This is also true for another country in the Gospels are retired from the nation and you walk into our services and it's America, it's on display were you thinking this problem so my go while they shouldn't just say no I don't think this is for every time tribe, tongue, and nation should be confusing right right liberal social justice Christian yet that is somebody who really believes the faith is simply a humanitarian effort, and that they almost exist now to hate the president had to head to hates all things Republican party is also the opposite of the God and country person with all the problems we had with God and country also got a caduceus like unwavering allegiance to all things Republican into a president was also very problematic for people of faith much on the same who you vote for. I don't care about that some of the unwavering allegiance of the same is true for the liberal social justice Christian that everything is about just humanitarian efforts and also just this generic idea of love not love the Bible. Justice generically makes everything okay everything permissible you think the answer is just a love love love love with a mean by that is that nothing is wrong.

You hear them talk about any of the moral issues we have going on in our nation and the church or anything like that. Everything that everything's fine Love everybody. I saw Pastor on Twitter recently who said I heard someone recently say the message of the gospel is that God cares for the disenfranchised, and for the marginalized people in our society and the pastor said to his Twitter audience what you all think about that.

So how would you what you think about that is that the message of the gospel. No duplications of gospel message you confuse living that is the gospel. So what happens also as a get there I think is really kind of ungodly bitterness and angst and attack towards people who might have some affluence or have a big become very envious. They attack people like the 1%'s rather low. Many gods bless these people maybe are being generous with their money and maybe been earned honestly and so it really becomes. And I can become a ungodly effort, but it's all done in the name of Christianity just become very problematic because it's just as political as the right wing people to criticize. It's just as political, can I ask about the next one because I've used this phrase go for a dozen times, maybe more than that in our church, not in your sermon that I have in my sermon that I talked about about what it means the moralistic therapeutic Deist approach and and this is from Christian Smith, the sociologist of Notre Dame who did this study explain what a person is a moralistic therapeutic deistic Christian news yet.

I think this is probably the most prominent. I think Iran that extends outside the self is easy to think cultural Christian is a Bible Belt issue, but really it's a nationwide issue when you understand this Mexican is a God who is very vague. He's very generic is not really involved in the affairs of men and women he there's no sovereignty of there's really no sin.

There is no punishment for sin. No drug against generic big guy upstairs kind of God. He wants us to be good people. And he wants us to when we can go to him for, superstitious kind of reasons. It's good, it's a gimmick, Jesus take the wheel. I kind of idea. There's more to it than that. That's kinda big snapshot of the characters there again.

We may, mixers, Christians were clear in these conversations that our God is not vague. He's not generic. He is made himself known the book of Hebrews chapter 1 starts out the letter by saying that in the past. He is spoken to us by the prophets of the law. Now he is spoken to us by his son, so there's no understanding of God. Apart from her sending Jesus Christ the shorthand.

I've used is there's a really nice God who made everything he wants you to have a really good life and if you'll just keep some rules that he's laid down everything will be cool and a lot of people think that's the gospel that's not the gospel. That's the moralistic therapeutic deistic gospel and its it's not a saving gospel. We had a conversation with my dad for years of him saying I could write any life is a good guy and when we explain the gospel of there is no one that's righteous. We've all thing and found sort of the glory of God, he would tape.

I am so much better than that guy over there. It says he's a Christian he's not moral in the least, and so is this back-and-forth and I think so many people think that good person. Yeah, I believe, and when you're having the conversations I've had this conversation as well and and I failed at this in the past. We have to keep in mind that when we talk about the gospel and the need for Jesus. The other person is often hearing us say I'm better than you exactly up and so when they say I'm a good person there trying to say you're good I'm good to and we would have to go into the sand, look, this is not I'm no better than you. In a lot of ways I'm worse than you just recognize I need Jesus. And I think we only Jesus because it's real easy for them to get defensive and are you saying I'm a good person. Are you getting) what's next on the next one is the generational Catholic that is part of my story. I was, not race and racial, generational Catholic, but my whole entire dads are the families generational, Catholic, and these are very difficult people to reach because being Catholic is the goal not the gospel, not God, not the Bible and Christianity just being Catholic, grandfather Italian Catholic I we went to the Notre Dame Miami football game in 1990 in South Bend Indiana was like the grandest trip was really neat, really special and my grandfather and I had never had a spiritual conversation ever he might every now and then do the cross of himself before he eats his meal. So we go to South Bend and when we get there we go into the cathedral so beautiful going to the casinos want to say a prayer of a prayer my life in the time I was a cultural Christian didn't realize it and we went into the cathedral and he knelt down and said a prayer for walking back out on the way the stadium us. In order to pay for it so I picked the game today. I said okay so were driving back and I asked Thomas that Poppa so I called him we Notre Dame fans. What we like Notre Dame and he said because were Catholic. I went oh okay well then the conversation will years go by. Come to face in this time of an adult. By this time and were sitting down years that is in his knees and was 90 years old this time and were washing Notre Dame football. To this day may come on.

I remember him.

He died about 10 years ago brings memories and slid my grandfather and great man war two veteran salt of the earth in terms of bicyclic standards kind of God and he originally little game asked the question he goes to Catholic compassion church. But this time I said what what you mean he does want to Catholic.

I'm Catholic your dad's Catholic your uncles or Catholic support my debts on Catholic go across from Ascom my uncles on Catholic one is professing atheist, but he is like Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins books on his bookshelf like you would a proud atheist mother uncles agnostic. He's another another Catholic I said okay I'm putting in fight may not know grandfather to write but like Poppa, they are not Catholic but you can go call them right now.

They will tell you he insisted in the covers went nowhere. So I just ended it but here's I learned that day for generational nominal Catholic. Being Catholic is more important than believing Catholic and that's the huge barrier you have to get through if you were baptized as a Catholic or Catholic, and that lasts forever no matter what you do right will have Florida State students forsaken the town where I live life Catholic students come for state and will have them get baptized.

This will come to faith in Christ on their own will choose get baptized, and they will ask us not to posted on social media accident. Her parents to see it right in the first response was I going to parents be excited that you have faith, and that your Christian year in college. Following Jesus at a secular university.

No, it's not Catholic like what, let's talk that's that's intense strike. That's real at some extreme examples are real for me.

How you get me on that barrier because we've had so many people in our church that if given their lives to Christ have surrendered so how do you help them bridge that gap and get beyond that barrier we tell them in conversation with her family to be very respectful of how they were raised not to concede to their beliefs, but be very respectful. That anti-conflict are not resentful, but this is what I have come to realize is true, the very Bible that you know that you wanted me to learn and believe anything ever touched it. Logging their entire lives. So let me ask you with some folks were listed to us right now who say I am a born-again Catholic your Baptist preacher is that an authentic category. Other born-again Catholics. Yes I believe so, but I believe a true born-again faith would venture to lead themselves away from the Catholic Church, not to the Baptist Church about say that's the right way, but Rome believes a lot of this is is very not consistent with Scriptures and outsell the same thing a BuSpar United Church of Christ. That's a different spectrum, but they might have church in the name might be good people might has a couple good things they believe those with money to believers, not Christians like a month and you can be saved and you Catholic. I was so I believe that eventually someone who refuses to leave the Catholic Church is doing so wanted two reasons.

One, the heritage of being a Catholic is more important than they realize it is made even towards idle or they think they're being a remnant in staying in it as an evangelist on the same is probably not the best method interesting way of a lot of the people in our church to go to our service on Saturday night and mass on Sunday is a really still feel I half to continue to do both. It's almost like well at what I do at your church that really count and also to please family that's the main thing that we ideally did a child dedication we bring up new babies and pray for them and and dedicate a famous Lord of the church and we had a family one time bring their child to do that accident or church on Sundays are not members may come regularly and after that they ran over to mass with her family to do the cha-cha christened ongoing what in the world just happened to any of this kind conversation brings to mind conversations I've had with people in our church to Sam I'm gone. I'm going home this weekend to be with my mom and dad dad sick know how long he's got. We've had conversations about faith before and my parents insist that their Christians I have questions. I wonder if they are, and yet the conversations we've had them seem to go nowhere and we pray form and pray for what those conversation should look like. If your coach and somebody was headed in that situation what your coaching for wantonness and confidence that faith the size of mustard seed you know is faith is susceptible to God. You know what gets us to to Jesus is not a huge huge Savior, special, important to remember other also not ask him to be just like I like what our exact representation of Christianity and articulate the gospel the exact same words we use so it so that could be what they really do believe that Jesus is the only way an incentive repented of their sins and believe the gospel that we did make me trust God with gift, mustard seed faith in my b-day whenever a disciple but a least a conviction of who Jesus is the criminal on the cross. Please member me in paradise. Yeah right.

He peeled the Christ not to himself. That's what happened there but for the one that truly is concerned by many young Tonya that they think they know they don't know II get that I came from that yacht. I've lived that life. This is urgent. Don't be afraid to to sit there employee Paul wrote I please free to be reconciled to God. Gothic we've lost that those they were embarrassed by its awkward where I can actually sit down and like plea was someone to put their faith in Christ, not manipulation likely plea was someone like like dad, that's not what this is what you keep going back Your good person. You keep going back to the fact that you've done good deeds like I need you to understand that those things are rubbish compared to knowing Christ listings do not get you into heaven likely quickly pollute the land and I'm not trying to like give an extreme answer there, but those kind of situations where it really is like literally life or death.

Don't be afraid to go in there and said look, what's up anything else like I'm here because I love you on here because I need to make sure that you are clear on who Jesus is and what he's done for you do that humbly, yes, do it full of grace and full of love and respect don't come in thinking that you got it wheeled the Bible and and preach.

Adam but that it is urgent is truth and graceful history series is said about us and about and what is it you're there I decided flew down from Oklahoma City to Florida to be here with you Lincoln and and I'm not just coming for fun like you. This is this is this is urgent that we think that's important. By the last two are big categories may be hidden both her quick mainline Protestant Bible Belt, mainline Protestant Michael of the water downward many nonpositive just to have the Bible as we reach those people is not sheep swapping its evangelism live across above above the choir, but don't preach it makes him I was a professor at Princeton back in early 20 century read about partitioning liberalism in the book, he contended, is whole point was there different religions likely what is now mainly simply prophetic. But what is my my process analysis, different religion, often times that the next will push and make an arson remnant one's own thinking for this, but not enough and Bible Belt Bible Belt is somebody who loves Jesus, we tell you what, but their loving Jesus is more of a country music Jesus than is actually the use of the Bible.

Somebody once enough for Jesus to be person identified with the nonactive personal inconvenience since I was a lot about about folks don't really have a saving faith of Jesus is part part of life. It's like America and their favorite college football team and their job and it's the kind of if you had a jersey that patches on it for different things of life mimic a Boy Scout uniform resident patches being a Christian is to pass on. It doesn't really mean very much at all. And those are people that we reach a lot of and what happens there is is the light goes on there actually exposed to gospel preaching of his ago. Oh that's not what I've been between my entire life but someone who again very vague God very vague Jesus, but very very pro those things is very socially acceptable to be a part that will claim a church usually don't go to one of these.

That means that's their grandmother church leg on Mother's Day means a lot to her visitor told by their of their mother become a pressure type things for illegally moving so much dear Nan, if you can.

The church on Sunday. We please come with Mother's Day. Of course he of course will do that though show up see some friends never come back again until the next are you getting pushback on this book on this message, you know, not as much.

I thought I would. I'm getting a lot of as I read your book and always people come to mind.

I was at the southernmost convention and I had Pastor stopping me in art, walkway in the hallways saying I'll take our staff this right now you just wrote this book about our city that he wrote this book about our town. I've been told by others. The book is done is its help them create a category that didn't exist before Clinton Osuna say in a reason it makes me think there's a whole mission field that you often don't think about that is huge and I you know you so you get excited. Think man I can be an evangelist to love people that need to be loved.

I'm imagining that some listeners are thinking wow am I an unsaved Christian, what would you say to those listeners right now that are maybe doubting and wondering. I would ask them what do you base your idea of being a Christian. Upon but if you are claiming to be a Christian. What does like what is the basis for that. If your basis for that answers other than the work of Jesus Christ on your behalf but you might not be. I don't say that to make someone doubt is to be clear, it was hot. What cultural clichs are to be the finest of maybe a sentence or two. It is a Christianity that is not dependent on Jesus Christ and your knots and memorize the right answer and then you're okay now your sand. That's gotta be the basis for everything you think, believe and live yes my feelings, myself and my heritage in my actions and my background, my resume will call her my will just resume my plea to Christ.

I would tell you my want a copy of the book right that a little bit more. We appreciate your writing the book be in here talking with us about it.

Thanks for your time. Thank you for having and again, I will encourage listers go to family life to get a copy of the book the unsaved Christian reaching cultural Christianity with the gospel by Dean and Sarah can order the book from us or you can call one 800 FL today to get a copy. Again, the website is family life or call 1-800-358-6329 and 2000 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today, we mentioned this earlier, but a quick reminder today and tomorrow. The last two days for family life to be able to take advantage of the matching gift opportunity that has been made available to us a $2.7 million matching gift fund every time you make a donation today or tomorrow.

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