Christianity 101

"Why were you searching for Me?" Luke 2:49....."The glory of the gospel is that when the church is absolutely different from the world, she invariably attracts it." Martyn Lloyd-Jones...."Seeker friendly Christianity tried to revive the church by infusing it with the logic of the marketplace. Hipster Christianity tried to revive the Church by obsessing over newness and relevance....Christianity became more about apologizing for itself and affirming the culture than about extolling Christ and transforming the culture.....A Christianity with no teeth, no offensiveness, no cost, and no discomfort is not really Christianity at all." Brett McCracken

 

Very likely you're at least somewhat familiar with the current trend of universities establishing "safe zones," for students who don't wish to be exposed to speech, views, or ideas that they might not agree with, or make them uncomfortable. I think this idea has entered into the western church, and in a very large way.

Let me say that I fully believe that the true church should function as a sanctuary against the very real evil and way of the world. The true church is to be a picture of, a reflection of His Kingdom. The values, ways, and power of His Kingdom should be consistently demonstrated in the church and in the lives of those who comprise it's body, which in fact is the Body of Christ. The true church is infused with the power and presence of God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is to be, as someone said, a colony of heaven in the country of death. There can be no safer place for our souls. At the same time, if it is truly functioning as His church, it will be a decidedly uncomfortable, dangerous, even terrifying place for the flesh, our fallen nature. That nature that is so at home in the kingdom of death can find His church to be a most uncomfortable, even frightening place. Yet here is the beautiful fact. With all that being true, His heart will draw hearts that have been trapped in that fallen nature to Himself because those hearts recognize that in Him, there is life, freedom, healing, and deliverance. So they'll brave the fear of the unknown that they might enter into the life of Him who longs for us to know Him.

 

Chris Tiegreen, remarking on how the story of Jesus' parents finally finding Him in the Temple, and the disciples seeking Him at His grave, shows how we so often look for Jesus in all the wrong places. It cannot be denied that in our desperation to attract a lost culture to Christ, we have too often created a Jesus more to our own liking, and called people to Him. This Jesus doesn't cause any deep controversies, and seems to dislike His church far more than He hates sin. McCracken writes, "Rather than pointing confidently to the way of Christ, the church has narcissistically critiqued itself and praised the culture, all while Christ is relegated to a supporting actor role." Where is the Jesus that Peter beheld? The Jesus who, when Peter realized who He was, fell at His feet and cried out, "Lord, depart from me, for I'm a sinful man." This is the Jesus that I first met. This is the Jesus that after years of running from Him, confronted me in the dining room of the home I grew up. Like Isaiah, I was "undone" in His presence. And in His presence, He entered into my heart and life and began to remake me. He led me on a journey through His church that was decidedly uncomfortable, often terrifying, but was life transforming. And the transformation continues even now. Yes, this church is filled with imperfect people, all at different stages of their own journey, but the common thread is that in the true church, these lives are being transformed "from glory to glory." This is the fruit of the true church. It's messy, but it yields His beauty. The church as it should be. The church as it must be. The church this is His church.

I realize I may offend some with what I've said. I don't apologize. That evening in my mother's home, I met the consuming fire that is Christ the King, and He has been a consuming fire upon my life ever since. He received me as I was, but loved me far too much to allow me to remain what I was. With all my flaws, I've never ceased to yearn for the fullness of His fire in my life. I want nothing else. I'll accept nothing else. How about you?

Blessings,
Pastor O

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