Holy Outlaw


     "It does appear that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right but are not willing to endure the inconvenience of being right.....To accept Christ in anything like a saving relationship is to have an attachment to the Person of Christ that is revolutionary, complete, and exclusive.  It is more than joining some group that you like.  It is more than having enjoyable social fellowship with nice people.  You give your heart and life and soul to Jesus Christ - and he becomes the center of your transformed life."  A.W. Tozer......."Paul and Silas have turned the rest of the world upside down, and now they are here disturbing our city."  Acts 17:6......"A Christian and an outlaw are rebels to the world."  Lyric from a Jesus movement song of the 1970's.
     As I read the words of Acts 17:6, I have to ask myself if I live in Him in such a way that my life in Him disturbs the order and way of the world?  Does yours?  The words and witness of Paul and Silas so upset the people of Thessalonica, that a riot broke out.  But here is something we often overlook in this passage.  Before the witness and lives of these men upset the world, they upset the worldliness of the church.  As they always did, they went to the synagogue to share their message of life with their Jewish brethren.  These brethren had drifted so far from God that they no longer had a relationship with the Father, but had exchanged it for a religion about Him.  They trusted in their religion, found security in it.  To hear that it was powerless to save them, and that their only hope and way to the Father was to receive and know His Son, Jesus Christ, literally turned their world upside down.  Whenever and wherever Christ enters into a life, a home, a church, the result will be the same.  Earthquakes and upheaval. And the result will be new life, new hope, and a new way. He who is the Way.  I asked if we are living lives that really do turn the world upside down.  A greater question than that is, has He ever truly turned our world upside down?
     I love writers and preachers like Tozer, Oswald Chambers, T. Austin-Sparks, and Watchman Nee.  They speak words of life and truth that pierce my heart, and above all, the spiritual complacency I can so easily fall into.  As Tozer said, we can so smoothly embrace a life that feels right, not a life that is right.  The result is I look for voices that tell my flesh what it desires to hear and feel.  Once I've embraced that kind of message, it then becomes the message I speak to those I come into contact with.  As Larry Crabb put it, we enter into a life that can give us some warm spiritual feelings, but remains unchanged, untouched, by the power of His Spirit.  It then carries over into what we call "worship" where people can be made to feel good, right, but leave the time just as they came, unchanged.  Lots of good feelings, but no real transformation.  
     I quoted the lyric of a song I remember from my first year of Bible College.  I have no memory of who sang it, and I surely don't know how many others may have ever heard it, but it impacted me as a young believer.  To truly be His would make me an outlaw in the eyes of the world, because what it stood for, valued, could never be shared by me.  Christ lived outside of, beyond, and fully above every "law" of this world, and He called me to the same.  More, He promised me all the power of His life to do so.  He is, was the First Rebel against the power of death, and He called me to join in that rebellion, a rebellion that has already succeeded.  He already has overcome and overthrown the world.  In Him, we have as well. This is why when we truly walk in the power of His risen life, the result will be a world, and yes, a church truly turned upside down.  
    His revolution has succeeded, but has it succeeded in you and I?  Has it succeeded in our homes, marriages, professions and ministries?  
Has it succeeded in the local body of believers of which we're a part?  Or have we been deceived into believing that so long as we feel right, we are right?  If so, know that the One who turns the world upside down will come calling on us.  The Holy Outlaw and Rebel brings His revolution to each of us.  Will we be "joining up?"

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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