Let us begin with two simple, yet direct questions:
Are we going to believe Jesus together?
Are we going to obey Jesus completely?
The more I read through the New Testament, the more concerned I am for the status of today’s American church culture. I shudder that we are not the church without a spot or wrinkle worthy of presentation to Jesus (Ephesians 5:25-27, 32). Nor are we the city that sits upon the hill as God’s shining light and as an example for all to see (Matthew 5:13-16). What’s worst than our current condition is that many professing Christians, the very church of God, have little concern from the detours from scripture in their personal lives and in our churches.
David Platt is “convinced that we as Christ follows in American churches have embraced values and ideas that are not only unbiblical but that actually contradict the gospel we claim to believe (pg 3).”
Since we have drifted away, a radical turn, a change in direction, a commitment and accountability is needed so that the church can rise. We rise by turning our hearts again to the Lord in prayer, through the study of the Holy Scriptures, and in fellowship with a renewed commitment to be the church that God desires (1 Kings 8:57-61).
The reality is that Christianity is not an easy religion. Christ did not come and die so that we might live nice comfortable lives on earth and go to church Sunday after Sunday to receive motivational speeches and words of encouragement and practical application about how we can make better lives for ourselves.
Christianity is about a holy God who desires to glorify Himself and make his name great throughout the entire world. Everything that he does is for his glory. Out of his abundant love and grace, he sent his Son to die on the cross so that we, a fallen, sinful human race, could be reconnected to him. Because of our new position in Christ, we are no longer called to live our lives for ourselves. We are called to literally follow Jesus. We are called to sacrifice, suffer, take up our crosses, deny ourselves, and follow him (Luke 9:23-25).
This is the dangerous reality. “We do have to give up everything we have to follow Jesus. We do have to live him in a way that makes our closest relationships in this world look like hate [Matthew 10:32-39]. And it is entirely possible that he will tell us to sell everything we have and give it to the poor (pg 12-13).”
This truth my dear friends is a far cry from the “nice, middle-class, American Jesus (pg 13).”
Are you truly following the Jesus of the Bible, or are you following a version of Jesus designed to accommodate the life that you want?
We will wrestle through these issues together. I’m ready and I will agree with David Platt that “from the outset you need to commit to believe whatever Jesus says. As a Christian, it would be a grave mistake to come to Jesus and say, ‘Let me hear what you have to say, and then I’ll decide whether or not I like it.’…Then second, you need to commit to obey what you have heard (pg 20).”
Are you ready to get started? What are your initial thoughts and challenges?
In addition to the scriptures shared above, also read: Luke 9: 57-62.
© Natasha S. Robinson 2011