This is an excerpt from the sermon on 2/10/19 where Pastor Josh explained and contrasted Secular Christianity to True Christianity. To listen to the entire sermon, please visit our resource page.
Sermon Text: 2 Peter 2:10-12
What is True Christianity?
True Christianity is the miracle of new life. We can’t earn this life. We can’t obtain this life by our own performance or sincerity. It comes completely by a gift of free grace. That’s how Peter opens his letter in 1:1, “To those who have obtained a faith.” In other words, True Christianity is something that happens to you, just like birth. When you were born, you didn’t give your consent. I saw a headline from the BBC this week that said: “Indian man to sue parents for giving birth to him.” The first sentence of the story read: “A 27-year-old Indian man plans to sue his parents for giving birth to him without his consent.” (1) He gets it doesn’t he? He didn’t give consent to his life. What a helpful insight.
Likewise, the Christian life doesn’t start by our consent. It starts because God is a gracious God. The new birth, this manifestation of a new life, is the only cure for Secular Christianity (2).
What I mean is this: When a Christian comes face to face with the inescapable truth that they were born “…condemned sinners, under the wrath of God, who do not deserve anything but punishment and retribution" (3), and that their own rescue is Jesus Christ laying down His life for theirs, then they are completely transformed to their very depths. That’s how wretched you were. Your wickedness and rebellion was so great that nothing in this universe could atone for your sins, except the death of the Son of God on the cross.
And to think that Jesus did this willingly for such a great sinner as you and I.
Jesus said “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord” (John 10:18). Who did he lay His life down for? For people who were pretty good people? For people who just needed a little help? No! For His sworn enemies. That’s the most astonishing news that could ever be proclaimed. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:9) And then He rose from the dead victorious, conquering death, and sin and the devil forever.
He didn’t do this for His own benefit. He did this for you beloved. He did this so that you could live for Him. So that you would no longer be in bondage to sin. How can anyone of us go on sinning against such a great Savior? You see, that is the remedy to Secular Christianity: the Gospel itself. Christ dead for you, Christ alive for you, Christ reserved in Heaven forever for you.
How do we know if we are a Secular Christian or a True Christian?
You are either a Secular Christian or a True Christian. You are either in the flesh or in the spirit. Either dead in your sins or alive to Christ. There is nothing more important than determining who you are.
If this description of the Christian life that Peter has been giving us in this letter does not match your life, then you are still in your sins. If you have not been born again, you are still a slave to your sins and under the wrath of God. Playing religious games with God is the most dangerous thing you could do. Peter says in v.21 that it would have been better for you to have never known the truth, than to know it and reject it. Turn to Christ. Surrender your soul, your life, your heart to Him. Cry out for mercy, “Jesus have mercy on me, a sinner!”
If you are reading this and you are a true Christian, but you find yourself in a severe season of doubt - You’re wondering if you are even saved, wondering if you have even received this new life. - What should you do? Let me ask you some diagnostic questions: Are you troubled over your sinful heart? Are you grieved at how you have betrayed Christ again? Well consider, do your unbelieving friends have such troubled hearts at the thought of offending Christ? No, of course not. Peter says they are self-willed. They don’t give a second thought to offending Jesus. Don’t you see, Dear Loved One? Your troubled spirit is evidence that the Holy Spirit is actually within you. Only Christians can have godly grief. If you are not struggling with your sin at all, then certainly you are not a Christian. Paul grieved over his sin. So did Peter. So does every Christian.
Lastly, to the Christian that is not struggling with doubt: Secular Christianity is a threat to this church. In our membership covenant, one of our vows that we pledged to each other was this: We will seek, by God’s grace, to renounce all worldliness and to fight together against our own self-deception and the deception of the world and the devil. There are other Christians in this church who are slipping into secularization. Will you help them? Will you come alongside of them and preach the gospel to them? Paul says in Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” The cure against Secular Christianity starts with faithful church members who will fight alongside of their brothers and sisters.
(1) Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-47154287 Accessed February 9, 2019
(2) "Secular Christianity is that deadly counterfeit that has a form of godliness but denies it’s power (2 Timothy 3:5). Instead of a life possessed by God, these false teachers and their followers deny “the Master who bought them” (2 Peter 2:1)." For a further definition and explanation of Secular Christianity and its contrast to True Christianity, please listen in its entirety to the sermon from 2/10/10 titled "Secular Christianity, Part 1" located on our resource page.
(3) Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Living Water: Studies in John 4, (Wheaton, IL.,: Crossway, 2009), pg. 211