Sunday, June 21, 2009

Seeking Jesus the Christ

Matt.11:29 - Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls.

The gospel. The word is Greek means the good news. And the narratives of the life of Jesus are called the four gospel simply because the overarching theme is good news, the good news of redemption. In this age of political maneuvering and global orchestration that seeks to bring about an earthly kingdom without the King of Kings, we as followers of that one true King must seek His face and none other. He is all we need and all there is.

The sounding brass and tinkling cymbals have draw the ears and hearts of God’s people for way too long, and we must turn our hearts wholly to Him and Him alone. The Jews desired the Messiah to overthrow the shackles of Rome and in so doing they became blind to the freedom Christ was offering. And so it is with this spiritual generation who seek to force morality on others while being blind to our own immorality in oh so many forms. We seek governmental freedom while being yoked in bondages of all kinds ourselves. The church sees so clearly the sins of others but only casually acknowledges a self serving label of "lesser sins" within her own walls. Causes and issues fill our agenda that can only be achieved by a powerful demonstration and revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our church services have become nicely compacted pageants that resemble school programs rather than expressions of grateful worship that know no limitations and have no schedule but that which the Spirit dictates. The time slots for announcements are greater than the time allotted for corporate prayer. The church building remains dark most nights and the schedule itself guards against any unexpected outbreak of God’s power and presence. Elongated seasons of prayerful seeking of God’s face are historical accounts of ages gone by and have found little place in the age of self.

There is no peace but Jesus. There is no love but Jesus. There is no mercy but Jesus. There is no grace but Jesus. There is no salvation but Jesus. There is no life but Jesus. Why has Jesus become such an invisible appendage to the church and why has He become a doctrinal test rather than a living and powerful revelation that identifies individual believers as well as the visible church? Why does Jesus find a nice and comfortable place in many lives of western believers that only slightly deviate from the lives of their lost counterparts?

And even Sunday morning, which should be the one place where believers are stripped from their cultural chains, has become a predictable and orchestrated performance that rarely changes anyone at all. And when you watch hundreds of people exiting a worship service at the appointed hour with little if any residual effect of being in God’s presence, you must wonder if God was there at all. How can people believe the claim that we have met powerfully with the Creator of the Universe and the Lord of our Souls when we are more excited or solemn when we leave a football game? And how can we expect God to manifest Himself in unusual ways when we have cavorted with the world all week and spent an embarrassing amount of time and labor seeking Him? We treat the church service like a concert where the musical celebrity shows up simply because we are there and have paid for our seats.

Church itself has become part of the culture and is given a small seat at the table of policy making. We as believers should not be concerned, much less consumed, with what the kingdom of darkness is doing and planning. Our kingdom is light and that light is Jesus who must be proclaimed and lived in humble boldness and sacrificial love. We are highly organized; we are highly doctrinal; we are highly educated; and we are highly cultural. But are we highly passionate in our pursuit for Jesus Christ? Our hedonism has ensnared our time and motivation and in so doing we remain in Martha’s kitchen uninterested in what is taking place at the feet of Jesus. Watch the church as she rallies new energy every election cycle only to return to her former self afterward. Listen as the church disrespects the president because he is not the one of their choosing, all the while giving lip service to God’s sovereignty in the rulers of nations.

Listen further as the church supports a particular war and with that support she tethers it to God Himself. The church uses the term “just war” in the same way others use the term “just abortion”. The American church has been carefully taught over two centuries the divine favor of God on this nation, but that teaching has always been false. Jesus is now a conservative, and the mystical absolutes found in God’s Word and in seeking His presence are now subservient to some moral and political agenda. This is not the faith of Christ, this is a mutation that continues to evolve away from the pure faith found in the Scriptures.

It is time the church, or at last a handful of awakened believers, cast off the grave clothes and set a course, albeit against the ecclesiastical wind, to seek Jesus and His kingdom. All of us must begin anew and afresh, and we must never question the redemption found only in Christ but we must now question almost everything we have constructed in practice and lifestyle. We must invite again the Spirit of God to fall on us in power and leadership as we fall in brokenness before our God. We must tear up our plans and strategies and create a thirst for God Himself.

Jesus. There is no thought and no emotion greater than knowing Him in all His fullness and in His experiential presence. How can we neglect such a privilege? How have we constructed such an ecclesiastical form while leaving Him behind? We have entire quarterly sermon series’ that deal with all kinds of relevant western issues and relegate Jesus Himself as an understood aside. We bring flag displays and soldiers into God’s sanctuary in celebration of a nation that rose up violently against its government resulting in a combined 50,000 deaths (American, British, German) and many more casualties. All because of “taxation without representation”. The entire war goes against all the teachings of Jesus Himself.

Let us return to the empty tomb and go forth with a new vigor and a new way of living and preaching Jesus. Not with a post modern compromise that obscures the gospel and not with a hardened orthodoxy that exudes self righteousness and judgmentalism, but with the revelation of the Savior Jesus in all His love and graciousness. The darkened world is desperate to see people who are selfless prisms that allow the light of Christ to shine forth without the self interest and political activism that sculptures a different Jesus than is revealed in written Scripture.

At the end of this post I want to exalt Jesus Himself. I want to publicly praise Him for showing grace to a profound sinner like me who did not deserve one cell of His precious blood. I have not been as faithful to Him as I could have been, and I am not what I could be for Him, but to His praise I am not what I used to be. I was a violent racist who sold drugs into the high schools and was unconcerned about God or man. I was widely promiscuous and rode a motorcycle and drove a van, both of which were vehicles that helped me live a life of sin. Only the providence of God rescued me from committing a murder in a planned bank robbery, but I heard the gospel from a sick bed and was saved forever. Morality did not save me; the pro-life movement did not save me; traditional marriage did not save me; conservative values did not save me; and humanitarian causes did not save me.
Jesus Christ, crucified and resurrected, saved me one day in March of 1975, and it is this truth that I will cling to by His grace until He receives me from this present life.
I glorify the Person of Jesus Christ forever.

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