Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Allowing God's Word to Transcend the Ordinary


Is today's 21st century church slacking when it comes to Matthew 28:19 and Jesus' command to "make disciples?" In having conversations with many different people from many different church assemblies over the past year I have gathered that the majority are just content with Jesus just being Savior. A cursory examination with results gleaned from these many conversations has revealed that many are simply content to spend 1 hour or so with God, usually on a Sunday morning, as long as no other activity takes precedence. I thought to myself, how can they do that? How can this be? Just one hour with God and that was enough to carry them? Was I missing something? A little further conversation however, revealed fruit commensurate with their confession; for their lives did not look much different than those I have conversed with who do not profess a relationship to Christ. Sure, their language was not as bad and they seemed a little more family oriented but having a zeal for Christian piety and service to God was not the top priority on their "must do" list. Instead top items included, sporting events, running, physical exercise, the latest films, pursuit of career goals, and stuff--yes, lots of stuff.

Reflecting on this, I thought of how much greater an impact Christians could make in society if they sought to be available for God's use at every waking moment; to be alive to God and dead to self heralded as our banner. Is this what Jesus meant when He told us to go and make disciples of all nations? (Matt. 28:18-20). I think the church maybe doing a lot of "going" but not so much a lot of "making." Miriam Ibrahim. the young woman that went through quite an ordeal in Sudan because of her Christian faith, was asked the difference between her faith and others, specifically Islam, and she simply replied, "I'm alive."* She knew that her new spiritual birth (John 3:3) was the beginning of true life. When I heard her testimony immediately I thought she gets it! But how sad it is for those who do not. Spiritually speaking, those without Christ are really nothing more than walking dead. Is this not true? And we Christians who have refused to fully surrender every area of our lives to Christ may indeed have life present in us, but our outward lives will more closely resemble death than the life within because we often chase after and traffic in the temporal things that are passing away. Simply put, a persons life is shaped by the things they feed upon.

Can the words of the Apostle Paul, "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life..." (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 NKJV), be said to apply to the life of the one who is not fully committed to her Lord? Can others smell the fragrance of the Christ life in them? Sadly not so much. Instead they comfortably live amongst the walking dead because the offense of the cross (Gal. 5:11) is not present, (see also 2 Tim. 3;12). Is this not the great travesty of the Laodicean church of Revelation 3? This church was indicted by Christ for being "lukewarm." A lukewarm Christian is not of any good use to the service of the Lord for we are told they are vomited out by Him. What then can we say? Surely, this is a great conundrum of the Christian faith--the linear space that exists between death and life; where one foot is in the kingdom and one foot and the rest of the body is in the world.

When one reads the Bible it quickly becomes apparent that Jesus seems to require of His church more than just a nod on Sunday morning. His insistence for believers to go and sin no more (John 8:11), or to build our house (our life) upon the solid rock of faith in Him and His word (Matt. 7:24) seem to speak of much more of the necessity of being devoted to Him and less of a casual nod once in awhile.

The Christian life was never meant to be ordinary. On the contrary, we were made to transcend this world and by faith live a life that is filled with the miraculous works of God--things and events that thrust us forward in a hope that does not disappoint.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever, (1 John 2:15-17 NKJV).

* In the Market with Janet Parshall - 09-16-2014

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