Posted by admin on July 25, 2015
UNDERSTANDING THE LESSON
Our relationship with Jesus is based on being DISCIPLES. Discipleship equals radical obedience to Jesus. The objective is not to escape hell for heaven. Our objective must be to live in God’s kingdom while on earth.
Faith produces repentance, relationship and redirection from our old cultural ways to the cultural ways of the Kingdom of God. Relationship is with the Triune God and his people through the shed blood of Jesus. Redirection turns us from being lord of our own lives, living for our own purposes. Instead we live under the Lordship of Jesus, living for his purposes. Repentance is turning from the principles of one’s native culture. It is turning toward living God’s Kingdom Culture in our everyday lives. All three of these, repentance, relationship and redirection take place immediately as Father’s grace works faith in those who believe. We also grow in all three of these daily.
The principles of God’s Kingdom Culture are radically different from any humanly developed culture. This includes the “does” and “don’ts.” Yet even more it is the very processes we use and the character we live. Kingdom processes and Kingdom character must be our hallmark in approaching both God and our native culture. Kingdom living is a radical departure from any earthly culture. Those living in our native culture will respond with the epilate “Radical” to Kingdom Culture. Our natural culture will see anyone who leaves their native processes and character to follow Jesus as a radical.
Are you living with the flow or living a radical departure from it? Really? Think about it for a while. Then ask yourself how do you use your time and other resources differently than those in your wider community?
A young boy grew up in the church. He actively and energetically participated in everything. His parents prayed with him and read the Bible to him. Jesus was a regular part of his life at home. In High School he was moved into an advanced World History course. There he began to study eastern cultures and religion. The one thing that struck him was the idea of obedient discipleship that ran through those religions. Then he realized that Jesus talked about his followers as disciples. He also realized that what he saw in the Christians he knew was anything but discipleship. The big change came however when he realized that Jesus CALLED disciples. He became appalled at easy believism though he did not call it that at the time. This young man knew faith in Jesus was so much more than “going to heaven to skip hell.” He realized that was not what Jesus taught. He realized that Christianity had to be more radical than what he had experienced.
Then it hit him. If he was going to be called a Christian he had to let Jesus control his life—and that was the last thing he wanted. He wanted to call his own shots. So he began to study those eastern religions and sought to disprove Christianity at every level. He even read through the Bible three times in order to disprove it. He called the shots in his life and lived a life in which today he takes no pride.
At work a strange man kept talking to him about Jesus. He became furious. The man offered to leave him alone if he would promise to read a small tract. He sat down to read. The tract was simply scripture verses that talk about the gospel. It talked about its ability to change a person’s life. He knew these things since he was very young. But something was different. He went back to work sneaking peaks at the scriptures in the tract whenever possible. He realized that the forgiveness of sins was a great gift. Even though all the questions swirled in his head somehow, deep inside, he understood those scriptures. Yet who was going to control his life? Would he allow Jesus to be Lord? Would he take the mantle of a disciple of Jesus? As he sat outside on a break he cried out, “Father I Quite!” That was it. He knew Jesus had died on the cross for his sins. But he was not looking for a quick fix. He knew only responding to God’s grace with a radical commitment was what Jesus demanded. Yet he was surprised how simple it was. With no effort of his own he surrendered to Jesus. From that moment on his life became radically committed to Jesus.
Soon he discovered how simple the answers really were to all those old questions he once had. This young man fell short many times. Yet somehow from deep inside there was a call to pick himself up and continue. I know this young man well—for this young man was me.