Basic Model

Posted by   admin on    August 6, 2014

How was the gospel response presented to you?


I mean after you heard that “Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave.” Did anyone use the word, “repent?” Did anyone use the term, “Jesus as Lord?” Here is a good one. Did anyone talk to you about “becoming a disciple of Jesus?” Or did they just say, “Follow me in this prayer—repeat after me.”


Really?


I never read about Jesus spoon feeding a prayer to anyone who was interested in following him. Did YOU? I never read about Paul or Peter doing that. Did you?


Far too often the response to the “salvation message” is presented in a way that causes people to believe the wrong thing. It also causes them to live the wrong way. They are set up for failure. Far too many people believe that if they prayed a prayer they are in right relationship with God. (By the way, THAT sounds a lot like works to me. Do something, get saved.) Far too many people believe that salvation is all about going to heaven. They prayed their prayer. They are on their way! Oh and by the way—don’t try to tell them differently. You are being harsh. Worst of all you are teaching salvation by works if you mess with our 20th century revivalist processes!


Jesus said it different.


He said following him would cost you. It would cost you everything! He said following him would change the way we live—not just the way we think. Jesus was a radical! His followers became radicals! Where are the radicals today? Maybe the way we ask them to respond to the gospel sets them on the wrong course from the beginning. 

 

There is no “salvation prayer” anywhere in scripture. Period! Just try to find me one. In fact Jesus painted quit a different picture of those who would follow him. He painted a picture of people who, when they discover a treasure, would sell everything to buy it. He told people to leave homes and families to follow him. To one young man who grieved the loss of his father, Jesus blatantly said “let the dead bury the dead.” Boy, talk about HARSH! Those who follow Jesus were, and are to be, totally sold out. They are to be totally sold out from the beginning. No room for a “one foot in and one foot out” mentality. 

 

Yet this does not take away from the message of salvation by grace through faith. Do you really think the words of Jesus would do that? Grace may give us the ability to “ask Jesus to come into our lives and forgive us.” But it also brings us the gift of repentance. The early church in Jerusalem knew salvation had come to the gentiles for one reason. The Gentiles prayed a prayer with Paul—right? NO! Here is what these early leaders said: “So then, even to Gentiles God has granted repentance that leads to life.” (Acts 11:18)   

 

This goes even beyond repentance. Grace causes us to respond to the Lordship of Jesus when we hear the gospel message. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) This confession of Jesus as Lord causes us to be redirected. We are redirected from our purposes in life to God’s purpose in life for us. (See Eph. 2) 

 

The problem with “easy believism” is that many see salvation like buying a new car. You can take the cheapest version—the basic model—and forget all the options. After all, “I’m forgiven—I prayed the prayer.” After all, “I’m on my way to heaven. I’ll just do my best until I get there.”  You know, “Jesus loves me, right?” 

 

Listen my friends. There are no options to following Jesus in scripture. You are either all the way in or all the way out. 

 

I can imagine what my theologically correct friends are thinking right now. Please stop! I do understand the doctrine of SANCTIFICATION. But sanctification is a refining process. You have to have the basic raw material in order to refine it! 

 

Grace produces Faith. Faith expresses itself in repentance—I turn from the ways of the world. Faith expresses itself in acceptance of Relationship with the Triune God through the shed blood of Jesus. Faith also expresses itself in commitment to the Lordship of Jesus. This brings REDIRECTION of purpose in our lives. These are not a three step process to becoming a Christian. Neither does one come before the other. These three things, Repentance, Relationship and Redirection happen simultaneously as the Holy Spirit, through grace, works faith in our lives. As faith explodes into our lives we repent, accept relationship and are redirected by the grace of God. 

 

Repentance is not a work. It is a gift. Relationship through forgiveness is not a work. It is a gift. Lordship and redirection is not a work. It is a gift. We continue to grow in repentance. We continue to grow in relationship. We continue to grow in redirection. But each starts with and is a part of the expression of faith worked in us by grace. These three things, Repentance Relationship and Redirection under the Lordship of Jesus, are there from the beginning. Everything Jesus taught is to be lived out through faith. 

 

In the great commission Jesus made his call clear. Jesus said “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” He did not say go make believes. He did not say go out and get people saved. He did not say go get people to pray a prayer. He did not say go have people ask me to come into their lives. He did not say go show people the way to heaven. He said go make disciples and teach them to observe ALL that I have commanded you. 

 

Think about this. If all you had were the teachings of Jesus, how different would your life look? I mean if you took them seriously; if you observed all that Jesus commanded his first disciples to do and to teach. Feed the poor. Care for the homeless. Love your enemy and those who despitefully use you. Be humble. Be meek. Hunger and thirst after righteousness. Be pure in heart.  Don’t worship until you are reconciled with your brother. These are just a few of his commands to be followed by his disciples. 

 

Get this: These things are not optional! The early church got it. They lived as radicals. (See Acts 2) None of the things Jesus taught are to be options added after salvation. The foundation of all these things is worked in us through grace. It happens at the conception of the new nature that becomes ours at the moment of salvation. 

 

A prayer of salvation is not a basic model that just gets you to heaven. We are to live as disciples of Jesus. We are to live all that he taught about life. His teachings are not options added on to a salvation that just gets you “saved.” His teachings are not just options to be added on once you are on your way to heaven. His teachings are life. They form the basis of Christianity. Everything must be interpreted by what Jesus said. Our lives must be interpreted by what Jesus said. This is not just for a select few. 

 

Being a disciple—responding to the gospel message with a commitment of discipleship--is the basic model. It is a model with no options to be added on. Discipleship is the way of life. It is the way of the cross. It is the life of an authentic believer. It is the only response to “Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead.” 

 

Ok. I’m sure I have really tick someone off. 

 

Sorry. 

 

Not really. 

 

Please pray that I can live this kind of life so my words are not just a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

Thanks!

Posted by Robin Gichuhi on
Jim,
This is exactly what I believe, you must be a disciple to be a Christian. Acts 2 they ask Paul what must we do and he says after they were broken,vs 37 he replied, repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.
Posted by admin on
Hey Robin thanks for the encouragement. According to what Jesus said in the Great Commission baptism is the outward sign of entering the life a disciple of the Triune God. We seem to confuse so many things. Once again thanks for the word of encouragement. JBW
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