I was reading one of my own archived posts, and I was reminded why we do this.
What do we do?
We take a stand for change. We preach a Gospel that demands the counting of the cost and explains the cost as everything. We say you cannot be a Christian without doing so because cannot is the word Christ used (Luke 14:26-33).
The fact is, the vast majority of "Christians" don’t make it.
Many of those are trying, or at least want to try, but they don’t know how.
They pray more, read the Bible more, and it makes them dislike prayer and the Bible more than ever. It’s supposed to help them, but it seems just to condemn them.
Then they fall away, get on the internet, get besieged by atheists with loads of information on problems with the Bible and Christianity, and they join the attack on the religion that made them feel bad.
What Do We Need To Change
- Preach a true Gospel. Let people know that Jesus wants everything, that he’s worth everything, and that the church is for those that at least want to have their lives changed by Jesus.
- Bring them into the church—not a club with bi-weekly meetings, but a family. Show them that you meant what you said, and that your house is their house, your family is their family, and your money is their money.
Pretty dangerous to do that second one, huh?
It’s not so dangerous when you do that with disciples—with people who are giving up everything for Christ.
A Caveat Based on the Mercy of God
I do often sound like God is a harsh taskmaster.
It’s not so.
You do have to give up the world. The Gospel is an exchange of your own life for Christ’s life. Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone. It is only after you die that you enter Christ’s family.
The Gospel cannot be compromised.
But we’re not talking about entering a life where God is looking over your shoulder, measuring the length of your skirt, and pinch testing the tightness of your jeans.
We’re talking about obeying Christ, the friend of sinners, whose burden is easy and whose yoke is light. We’re talking about opening your home to strangers, about being free from caring about money, about trusting and praising God in joyful delight, about fellowshipping with Christ and with his people.
Entering the life of Christ is not entering a monastery. It is entering the wonderful, joyful life of Christ. Holy, yes, but also a touch wild, a touch rebellious, and more likely to get you called a glutton, winebibber, and kook than to be called righteous.
Jesus hung out with the wrong people. His holiness offended the Pharisees, and he openly expressed distaste for them. He publicly called them snakes and pretenders. He accused them of devouring widows’ houses!
You do have to be brave to be a Christian. You do have to help the needy.
You do not have to be boring, and you certainly don’t need the righteousness of the Pharisees.
Jesus commands are given so that your joy may be full.
Final Comment: Continuing in Christ’s Commands
Okay, that was a long caveat.
Back to the point.
If we are going to continue in Christ’s commands, we are going to have to do it together. We need each other. Those who sell everything are supposed to get the pearl of great price in return, not just a bunch of rules about how to live.
In other words, when the seed falls into the ground and dies, it’s supposed to come out never alone again.
We’re supposed to be a family, but we’re never going to be a family with people who don’t give a hoot about Christ’s commands or who explain why they’re unnecessary. Wish them well, kiss them goodbye, then dust your feet off and leave them.
Same with the Pharisees. There’s no hope of bringing them around until they repent of their evil ways, stumbling little ones.
(I’m a little afraid I’ve been a Pharisee on the internet by accident, though those who know me would never call me a Pharisee in person.)
But with those who will fall in love with Jesus, boldly or quietly, we can be family. We can take care of each other, worship God together, and make sure none of us is ever alone again except for when we’re sent on a mission by God.