But information, music, and coffee are not the trade of the church. Ours is truth, worship, and communion which together offer us not a product we can download and consume with diminishing return, but an inexhausible encounter with a living being, the risen Christ.
Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Category
Sinclair Ferguson on union w/Christ: “It’s as if all the medals & honors of Christ are pinned to your chest and all of heaven salutes you.”
Every church and ministry contextualizes. The question is what culture and which year?
People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.
[Jesus] did not come to teach the teachable; He did not come to improve the improvable; He did not come to reform the reformable. None of those things works … Jesus came to raise the dead.
Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (and your neighbor as yourself).
Do what you want.
In that order.
You could (and people have and will) fill libraries of books full of footnotes, addendum, clarifications, helpful hints and the like. I know it’s tempting.
But please don’t.
American evangelicalism has not done a great job at making Jesus the point of the enterprise of faith. We take the Gospel notion of “faith alone,” a belief many Reformers died contending for, and make it about us. We turn perseverance into personal empowerment and sanctification into self-improvement. We’ve made religion a bad word by turning Law into legalism and grace into license. We made Jesus our buddy, our co-pilot, our sidekick. We don’t have sin — we have “issues.” We say we have bad habits rather than admit we have sinful hearts. We look to Scripture in general as a toolbox of pick-me-up quotable quotes and to the Gospels specifically as a chronicle of warm-fuzzy behavioral aspirations. We forgo Christian repentance and gospel proclamation in favor of the culture war against gay marriage, evolution, atheism, liberalism, America forgetting her heritage, what-have-you.
But if the point of any of it is not Jesus, it will not, cannot, and does not work.
Of course, we do not use the word cool to describe greatness. It is a small word. That’s the point. It’s cheap. And it’s what millions of young people live for. Who confronts them with urgency and tears? Who pleads with them not to waste their lives? Who takes them by the collar, so to speak, and loves them enough to show them a life so radical and so real and so costly and Christ-saturated that they feel the emptiness and triviality of their CD collection and their pointless conversations about passing celebrities? Who will waken what lies in their souls, untapped — a longing not to waste their lives?
One could easily cross out young from the phrase young people because I think what Piper describes applies across the board to millions and millions of everyday people. Just replace CD collection with gadgets or clothes and substitute politicians for celebrities.
It’s never occurred to them to live any other way. That’s why it’s so important to push back against triviality with the fullness of the Gospel. Not so that we can be “good” Christians and stake our identity to a moral code, but so that we might live for the only thing that truly matters — the glory of Christ Jesus.
I was reminded again how many of us are homeless in evangelicalism. It’s sad. I know we can be a difficult and hard to please bunch, but most of us want a church more than anything else. Not a circus or a show, but a church. Is that so hard?