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Surface Christianity

Surface Christianity

Words of Faith 12-6-17

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2017

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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2 Corinthians 10:5

   [7] You are looking only on the surface of things. If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ, he should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as he.

   [8] For even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down, I will not be ashamed of it.


       Why had the Corinthians fallen into such a dilemma over apostolic authority? Why were they even questioning the authority of the one who had led them to Christ, planted their church, and nurtured them in the faith? Paul saw the biggest contributing factor was a superficiality and shallowness that had crept in. The Corinthians were looking only on the "surface" of things.

       The word Paul used means the "appearance" or things or the "front view only,” or the "fashion or countenance" of a person. Paul's point was that the Corinthians were not seeing the whole picture. We might say that there was "another side to the story" or another perspective that they were missing entirely. They were enamored with external qualities and judged matters according to the worldly wisdom of the day and as a result the false apostles found them fair game. They were easily fooled because they had not looked more deeply at things.

       As a response to this superficiality, Paul was forced to engage in something that he found personally repugnant-- self-commendation. He would have to point out some of the deeper reality of his walk with God and his authority. His goal was not self-enhancement but restoration of the Corinthians. To that end he wielded his authority as an apostle of Christ and he did so freely and without being ashamed of it. He tore down some of the "strongholds," "arguments," and "pretensions" of his opponents as he sought to built up the believers.

       Surface Christianity is a modern malady as well. We live in a culture where appearances are everything. Churches are highly marketed. Looking good is everything. As long as you have a good "look" and a slick presentation, people will be drawn in. If a minister or ministry is marketed well people don't worry too much about anything deeper. It is easy to approach things in a surface manner worrying only about how a church or ministry will meet our immediate needs. It is easy to take a front view only in a fast paced world.

       Paul would urge us to look a little deeper. Are we drawn into movements that are superficial? Are we pulled into fads that are really just froth? The reality is that there are no perfect churches, only those that look perfect on the surface. There are no perfect ministries or missions or missionaries. If we are content to look only on the surface we may actually miss the mission that really has the greatest integrity and genuine spiritual authority. That was Paul's point.

       Are you a surface Christian? Do you judge things quickly after only hearing one perspective? Are you looking for the best deal from a worldly perspective? The slickest show? Paul asked the Corinthian to look a little more deeply. He would ask us to do the same.


       Father God, help me to see with Your eyes. Help me to look more deeply and see beyond just the surface of things. Help me to see the integrity of matters that is deeper than the surface. In Jesus' Name.