Christianity is about truth. In fact, it is based on the one who says of Himself, “I am the way, the truth and the life”. But, if you visit a number of churches from different denominations and under different leaders, you will find that they can vary widely in their services. Some are more “comfortable” while others are more “churchy”.
If you look further into the church you are visiting, you might find a ‘statement of faith’ for the church. It may even be posted on the back of the bulletin you received at the door. That statement of faith can tell you a lot.
Otherwise, if you spend more time at the church, getting to know people as they get to know you, you will find out what operating system is functioning at that church. It’s a little like the difference between your android phone and an I-phone©. Although the apps might be the same, something is different about them. As you become more familiar with each one, you can explain the advantages and disadvantages of each phone.
So it is when you become more familiar with a church.
Most people are just interested in the ‘Apps’; the kids programs, bible studies, how they serve in the community, and what the Sunday service is like. As long as the church has it ‘all together’, and has a lot of people in your age group, it’s the right place to go.
It would take a bad experience or two to shake the regular attender from the church they attend.
Yet, there are others who have been affected by what lies underneath the ‘apps’. Somehow, the operating system is the cause of disturbance.
The good news is that there are only two operating systems in Christianity. Both claim to be Christianity, but one of them is a forgery; a counterfeit.
How can one tell them apart? If both of them mention God and sin, Death and life, devils and angels, what is the difference?
The work of Jesus Christ dying on a cross for your sin and mine is the difference. If that is not spoken every Sunday, if it is only assumed and never proclaimed, then the church you are in has a counterfeit theology. The operating system is bad.
The Apostle Paul wrote in First Corinthians,
That proclamation is the heart of the difference. If Christ is not central to what the church proclaims on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and every other day of the week, then what are they proclaiming?
They have only one option. It doesn’t matter if they are conservative or liberal. They will proclaim that you need to do something, because, ultimately, Christianity might begin with Christ’s work, but that work is left unfinished. You must complete it with great human effort.
That effort could be expressed in good moral behavior or in social activism. Either way, the self becomes the idol.
And that is just why we needed to have an intervention. No matter what we touch, human nature moves us to fill in what is lacking or to fix what is broken. What this operating system is really doing is putting the self back in charge. It is stealing glory from the crucified God.
The operating system Paul writes about is better. He is going to tell us that God saw how addicted you are to yourself. How you continue to make an effort to fulfill God’s commands and demands but are unable to produce the love that He expects. He is going to tell you that Jesus Christ is the only way, truth and life there is.
Life is not found in adding patches to a corrupt operating system. It is found in blowing up the operating system and replacing it with Jesus Christ alone.
Jesus alone came to fulfill the Law (Matthew 5:17, Romans 10:4). If He fulfilled it, what is left to do? As He said Himself from the cross, ‘It is FINISHED’. What could you possibly add to the epic work of an epic savior?
There is nothing left to do. And, by the way, you are done, too.