THE PROPER REPRESENTATION OF JESUS AND BENEFITS THEREOF
I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies—presenting all your members and faculties—as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.
Do not be conformed to this world—this age, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs. But be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind—by its new ideals and its new attitude—so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn every one among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought—not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance; but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. [Romans 12:1–3 (Amplified Version)]
There is a connection between the fact that witnessing isn’t easy and the fact that most Christians seem to represent Jesus improperly. When left alone from outside influences, most people will always choose Jesus when given the opportunity. Why? Because Jesus offers life. He offers to remove from a person his or her heavy burden of sin. He offers the ability and strength to be a real disciple. He offers the means toward success and victory according to His will. He gives us the knowledge of our destiny. He gives us purpose and protection. He allows us the honor of being an integral part of His plan in the salvation and edification of others. To sum up, He offers us everything we need as well as our heart’s desire,  if it is in our heart to serve Him. The blessings of God, however, are never given to those who refuse to make Him Lord.
In light of all these gifts and benefits, what sort of person would turn his back on Jesus? There are two possibilities: An impervious, dense, obstinate, thickheaded dolt, or a person who is deceived. The former might be construed as a person who is hopelessly deceived, but a better characterization would be a person who loves darkness more than he or she loves light. God gives these people every opportunity at salvation but also allows them the choice of departing this life in sin if that is their desire. The second category is almost the polar opposite from the first in that it involves people who desire to do the right thing but get cut off at the pass by the religious chucklehead posse. These are people who have been taught that their glass is full when it is empty, that the grass is always greener on their side of the fence even though their backyard is dirt, that up is down, joy is pain, bears only use gas station restrooms, the Pope is Episcopalian, and God is out to get them. And the biggest problem of them all? They learned it all in church!
Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
There are certain people who have lived on this planet at some point after Acts Chapter 2, and some who live today, who refer to themselves as followers of the Lord but insist on a higher platform than everyone else. They love the veneration paid to them by their followers. Many of them appear to be humble or put forth the pretense of keeping a low profile, but are essentially hypocrites in this regard.
Though a probable majority of all “Christians” believe in a distinct clergy-laity division, and that some believers must be treated with more respect and honor than other believers, they did not learn either of these from the New Testament. In fact, the opposite is true.
Why is it that certain believers must be called by a title while they themselves do not even honor the Lord Jesus with a title? They call Him by His first name. In fact, the Gospels most often refer to the Lord by His name and rarely a title.
There are some who have made such a name for themselves that an entire movement composed of millions of followers is dedicated to them by name. Of these, perhaps the worst offender is John Calvin, who instituted Calvinism.
We can debate whether or not Calvin’s doctrines were called Calvinism during his life, but this does not really matter. The man created a distinct theology that many others latched on to and believed in, and millions continue to believe in Calvinism do this day.
I prefer to believe in Jesus. And I will insist on believing in His teachings, and attempting to learn and incorporate His teachings, and make the claim that there are no other “Christian” teachings than His. Therefore, we should have no “isms” before the Lord. Whatever Calvin got right, he merely received from God. But if Calvin got everything right, and he certainly did not, he still would have received it all from God, it would all line up perfectly with the teachings of Jesus, and there would thus be no distinction between what he taught and what the Lord taught.
And then John Calvin could properly blend back into the vast collection of believers, lose all the name recognition and distinctiveness of His name above so many names of unknown real believers, and be an actual follower of the Lord Jesus, the possessor of the one and only original and perfectly correct curriculum, and only possible “ism.”
In other words, if God Himself insisted on keeping as low a profile as possible while still getting the job done, and remaining as humble as possible, and as much of a servant as possible, and as self-effacing as possible, where do so-called Christian religious leaders get off in promoting themselves above their brothers and sisters?
We think a lot of the apostle Paul but clearly, the vast majority of Christians would prefer to not have to go through what Paul went through, and thus, do not, and thus, are not as effective or effective at all. The last time I checked, Calvin and Luther and many of their upper level clergyite followers and supporters never faced the sword of martyrdom, while these same people created martyrs in that they had Christian believers killed, or supported their deaths—those who they referred to as heretics. And, of course, Catholic Church leaders wanted Luther and Calvin dead but apparently couldn’t get to them!
Paul, after his conversion, NEVER killed or supported killing anyone for any reason, and certainly not for someone being a “heretic.”
But Paul certainly believed in killing heretics BEFORE his conversion. Think about that when assessing who the real believers are, even if some murderers are venerated as great men of the cloth. The Lord Jesus was seen by great religious men as the greatest heretic of all time. Whoever then does to another what was done to the Lord cannot be a real Christian. Period.
The original apostles never killed “heretics” either. And most of all neither did the Lord Jesus. In fact, HE WAS THE HUNTED. The apostles were the hunted. The real believers were the hunted. And the Lord, His men, and many early believers were the ones killed for their faith, not the ones doing the killing.
Therefore, “Christians” can be divided into two types (See Genesis 4:1-8)—those who kill those who don’t believe correctly, and those who don’t. Those who kill and have killed did not learn it from the Lord’s example. And if they were willing to kill, and are willing to kill—obviously the worst violation of the Lord’s teachings—then everything else they do and teach is completely suspect and I wouldn’t trust them with a lemonade stand.
“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’
“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” [Matthew 25:41-46] 
And He didn’t even mention murder:
“Lord, when did we castigate you as a heretic and kill you?”
“Whenever you have done it to the least of these…”
© 2013 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Psalm 21:2
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.