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Mere Christianity?

Dr. James White often refers to what he calls the “mere Christianity” movement where people try to make Christianity as small as you can make it.  In the 2000 years of the Church, orthodoxy has been the standard for what is deemed as Christian.  I grant you that at times this has not always been clear and sometimes people made non-essentials as essentials of the gospel.  In our day, mere Christianity has come to simply believe that if you affirm Jesus, you are a Christian.

I have been following a blogger for some time who I have seen him drifting this way.  His view is that Jesus is what matters yet it seems to me that he does not care what people believe about Jesus so long as they say they love Jesus and desire to follow Him.  While this blogger seems to affirm that the Bible is the Word of God (though I’m not sure if he holds to inerrancy or infallibility), he often muddles the water by using the liberal “red letter Christian” mantras.  It is as if this blogger makes Jesus someone that we should merely copy (and by that I mean be a hippie and be focused on “peace and love man”).  This blogger even has been writing about how he has seen Jesus in a Muslim friend of his and how this Muslim has taught him more about Jesus than many Christians.

This is the mere Christianity movement.  There is no focus on the doctrine of Christ nor about His atonement.  There is little emphasis placed on His perfection for our salvation.  There is nothing said about His death, His resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He lives to make intercession for the saints.  There is nothing said about His coming again in glory to judge the living and the dead.  In fact, mere Christianity makes Jesus just someone that we should copy and imitate to have a better life.  Jesus becomes nothing more than a “great teacher” along with other “great teachers.”  Jesus’ own declarations are ignored.

I don’t assume that someone is a Christian simply because they name the name of Jesus.  Jesus Himself said that many would come in His name (Matthew 24:4-5).  John the Beloved wrote that many antichrists had come (1 John 2:18).  Antichrists are false christs.  Paul the Apostle issued curses on those who preach a false gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).  Thus we can see that there are false christs and false gospels.

Not everyone who says Jesus is truly His (Matthew 7:21-23).  Jesus said that those who are His are those who hear His words and put them into practice, who build their lives on His teachings (Matthew 7:24-27).  A disciple of Jesus is one who abides in His teachings (John 8:31-32).  This means that the disciple not only reads the Word of God (and not merely the “red letters”) but they study it as well.  I study God’s Word to know God, to love Him more and to obey Him better all by His Spirit and His grace.

So many claim Christ but they don’t even know the first thing about Him.  They don’t know His Word.  They don’t read His Word.  They don’t study His Word.  They don’t care to study His Word nor do they truly care to know Him because Jesus doesn’t fit our views when we read and study Him.  The perfect Son of God is not like us in that He is absolutely perfect, holy, blameless, and His ways are beyond our ways.  We seek to imitate Him (1 Peter 2:21-24; 1 John 2:6) but we recognize that He alone is perfect.  He is perfect for our salvation (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Because He remains forever perfect, He now stands before the Father in our defense (Hebrews 7:22-25).  As we abide in Jesus through faith (Romans 5:1; 1 John 2:24-25), we find that He is faithful to wash our sins away (1 John 1:7, 9).

The mere Christianity movement wants to place Jesus among others.  Jesus is far above all others (Colossians 1:15-20).  Every knee will bow to His glory alone (Philippians 2:5-11).  This includes all false teachers, all false prophets, all false religions.  Jesus is not equal among others.  Jesus is God (John 1:1, 18; Romans 9:5) and He is to be worshiped as God.

The mere Christianity movement has to dethrone Jesus to make Him equal among others.  For example, the Muslim view of Jesus is not at all equal with the biblical view.  The Quran teaches that Jesus is not God, that He is not even the Son of God.  Yes Islam says that Jesus is the Messiah but they deny His divinity and the Quran condemns to hell those who would say that God is a man or has a son.  The Quran falsely believes that the doctrine of the Trinity includes Mary.  The Quran denies that Jesus died for our sins.  Most Muslims believe that Jesus didn’t even die on the cross but rather Allah made someone else to appear as Jesus on the cross such as Judas.  While Islam teaches that Jesus will return, they believe that He will return and set up an Islamic kingdom on the earth.  The Islamic confession of faith is focused on Mohammad and not on Jesus.

And yet mere Christianity says that since a Muslim claims to love Jesus (the Jesus of the Quran and not the Jesus of the Bible), then they are “saved.”  If a Muslim denies the Quran’s teaching on Jesus and embraces the biblical view of Jesus then I would submit that they are not a Muslim but a Christian.  Of course, true salvation requires faith and repentance in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38-39; 3:19-20; 17:30-31).

One final point.  The mere Christianity movement especially detests evangelism.  After all, the evangelist is preaching that Jesus alone saves (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) and He alone is our mediator before a holy God (1 Timothy 2:5-6).  The evangelist preaches that faith and repentance are necessary for eternal life (Luke 13:5; John 5:24-25; 6:29; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 5:13).  This goes against the mere Christian view that all religions are essentially good so long as they love Jesus.  It also goes against the postmodern mindset that there is no absolute truth since Jesus Himself claims to be the truth of God (John 14:6).  When religious people are confronted with their sins and with the truth of Jesus, they always strike back with a vengeance.  I have witnessed this myself. People don’t mind if you preach a peace and love Jesus but the moment you preach that a person must repent, they quickly turn on you.  People love Jesus but the Jesus they create in their own images but not the biblical Jesus.

I am often confronted by the biblical Jesus as I read.  I am confronted with my sins.  I am confronted with my lack of being like Jesus in all I do.  I am confronted with how wonderful Jesus truly is and the more that I study Him and the more that I seek Him, the more I find that I am not like Him, that He is God and worthy to be praised, and I will never truly grasp Him in this life.  Jesus is simply too wonderful, too mighty, too holy for me to perfectly understand but what I do know is this: He died for my sins (1 Corinthians 15:3; Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 3:18) and He is coming again in glory (2 Timothy 4:1).  I long to see Him and worship Him forever.  I will continue to preach the biblical Jesus and preach against the false christs of this world.

Why Pragmatism Reigns in the Modern Western Church

Pragmatism is the notion that meaning or worth are determined by practical consequences.  If a church has large numbers because of its programs, its rock band “worship” team, its shallow preaching, its non-doctrinal position, then it is deemed good.  If a church is the opposite with a focus on preaching, on prayer, on confrontational evangelism, on preaching against sin, on confronting sin in the camp, or singing songs that are doctrinally sound and God-exalting, then it is deemed bad (but only if the numbers are low).  In our day, success is viewed in size terms and behind the scenes with money.

In the Bible, faithfulness is placed above success.  After all, many in the Bible where not successful but they were faithful.  Even Jesus, who once had the crowds following Him until He began to preach the radical demands of discipleship (Luke 14:25-35; John 6:60-66), must be viewed as a “failure” according to modern church growth and seeker sensitive churches yet His disciples turned the world upside down with the gospel.  Paul died a lonely man in prison (2 Timothy 4:16-17) but he was faithful (2 Timothy 4:18).  Noah preached the judgment of God to his generation but he only saw his family repent and believe and were saved from God’s judgment (1 Peter 3:20) yet Noah was faithful.

The fact is that Jesus said He would welcome faithful disciples into His everlasting kingdom (Matthew 25:21).  Faithfulness is what God is after.  Faithfulness to His Word.  Faithfulness to the gospel.  Faithfulness to follow Christ no matter what.  Sadly, few want this today.

The modern church wants success.  Preachers (if you can call them this for they are not preaching the Bible but only proof-texting from it) are out for power and control.  The drive is to be bigger, to be bolder, to out-do the other guy.  The competition among pastors is gross.  The drive for more money and power seems to drive them.  Pastors today rally around methodology and not theology.  Theology is not even a serious issue.  This is why seeker churches have no trouble modeling this guy or that guy with no thought to their theology.  They are willing to embrace whoever because of pragmatism.  I remember having a conversation once with a pastor about the modalist, TD Jakes, in which he defended Jakes not by looking at his theology but his “anointing” and his numbers.  How could we reject Jakes when it is clear that God is using him?  This is pragmatism.

In the modern pragmatic church, numbers often equal success.  Larger numbers equals more money.  More money equals more programs and bigger buildings.  But what you win them with is what you win them to.  This is why seeker churches are doctrinally shallow.  This is why I consistently meet lost sinners who know nothing of the gospel but claim to be members of such and such seeker church.  This is why you can meet a “youth pastor” on the street and ask him to explain to you how to become a disciple of Jesus and he has no clue.  His entire outlook is pragmatic.

This is why pragmatic churches deplore churches that are Christ-centered and Christ-exalting.  While seeker churches give lip service to Jesus, Jesus is used as a means to an end.  They use Jesus to lure the people into their promise that He will give them a better life now, that He will give them hope.  They fail to mention that the “seeker” is a lost sinner who needs to repent.  They fail to mention that the “seeker” is an enemy of God apart from faith in Christ (Romans 5:10).  They fail to tell “seekers” that they must turn from their wicked ways and turn to Christ alone and completely for eternal salvation.  Instead, they preach a Jesus who is just this cool, hip, shallow guy who loved them so much He died for them.  But they ignore why He had to die.  They ignore the fact that Jesus died for our sins and that it was our sins that brought the wrath of God down upon His Son (John 3:36; Galatians 1:4).

Pragmatic churches are perfect for this “selfie” generation.  It’s all about me.  It’s not about the wrath of God.  It’s not about the holy law of God.  It’s not about the coming judgment of God.  It’s not about eternal damnation.  It’s about my best life now.  This is what counts and this is what matters.  And this preaching gets results.  This preaching gets numbers and power and money.  The preaching of the cross gets you one thing: a cross.

Yet Jesus warned us in Luke 6:26: “Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.”

My earnest prayer is that the Church would rise up and cast off the gimmicks of this world.  Cast off cheap “Christian” music that doesn’t exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and declare His glory.  Cast off shallow preaching for expository preaching that is biblically focused.  Cast off dead prayer meetings that don’t truly seek God while He may be found (Isaiah 55:6).  Cast off friendship evangelism that is the evangelical copout for not preaching the gospel to the lost but instead declare the gospel to the sinners.  Cast off churches that are focused on pragmatism and lack any doctrinal preaching, any doctrinal discernment.  Instead, love the truth and defend it (Jude 3-4).

I urge you to pray.  Pray for the Church.  Pray against pragmatism.  Pray for God to raise up godly leaders who will preach the gospel with no focus on being men-pleasers (2 Corinthians 2:14-17).  Pray for a revival of expository preaching in our age.  Pray for the Lord to glorify His name in His Church just as He has promised He would (Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 3:21).  Pray for sinners to repent of their sins and turn to Christ in true repentance and faith (Romans 10:1; 1 Timothy 2:1-6).  I urge you to pray (Luke 18:1)!

Faith and Practice

I was amazed recently when I posted on Facebook how true disciples of Jesus could vote for any candidate for political office who holds to abortion on demand or same-sex marriage as being valid and actually had people who claim to follow Christ attack me for this.  This is not an issue of politics.  It is a biblical worldview issue.  Far too many people who claim to be Christians seem to be able to separate their faith in Christ from their moral choices including how they vote or what they read or how they talk.  They claim to be followers of Jesus but with their lives, they do what they like.  This runs contrary to the Bible.  I find nothing in Scripture to suggest that we can claim Christ only when we are in fellowship with other disciples at church (Hebrews 10:24-25) or that we can claim Jesus but do whatever else we like including support those who would uphold murdering unborn babies or supporting legalized homosexual unions.  The attitude seems to be that when it comes to our faith, it should not affect our entire lives especially when it comes to politics.

I want to say before I write further that I don’t believe politics are the answer for our nation.  I believe the answer is the gospel of Christ.  The great need for our world is not reformation or morality but regeneration (John 3:3-7).  The preaching of Christ alone will transform our world as people turn from sin to Christ for salvation (Ephesians 2:1-10).  The proper attitude of the disciple of Jesus is not a focus on the kingdoms of this world but upon Jesus, our King (Romans 10:9; 1 Timothy 6:15).  The kingdom of Christ does not derive its power from this world but from the Lord God (John 18:36).  The power to transform our world lies not in the flesh but in the power of God (Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5).  I have no doubts that true change will not come through governments of this world but in the gospel.  My hope is found therein.

That said, let me state that I do look at ALL things through the lenses of Scripture.  A disciple of Jesus is not a disciple only when its convenient.  If that is the case, you are not a disciple.  Jesus makes it clear in passages such as Matthew 7:24-27 that His disciples are those who put His teachings into practice.  In John 8:31-32 Jesus tells us that His disciples are those who abide in His teachings and His teachings set us free.  In Luke 11:28 Jesus tells us that His true disciples are those who hear the Word of God and do it!  I find nothing in the teachings of Jesus that says that we can follow Him but do what we like, think how we like, or not be His total slave (Luke 17:10).  We are to abandon all for Him (Luke 14:25-35).  Jesus is to be our everything for without Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5).  The entirety of Jesus is to fill our lives (John 6:53-54).  Everything about the disciple points to Jesus Christ.  We are not our own, we are His who bought us with His own blood (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

So how can people who claim to be disciples of Jesus turn around and vote for ungodliness, watch ungodliness on television, watch and support ungodly movies, fill their minds with worldly thinking and with the junk of this world?  How is it that people could openly support people who hold to things that run contrary to God’s Word such as abortion or homosexuality or any number of other issues?  How is it that disciples of Jesus claim to follow Jesus but they look and act more like this world than like Christ (James 4:4)?  Have they forgotten Jesus’ words in John 15:18-25 that teaches us that if we follow Christ, the world will hate us?  Why do churches want to attract the world using the things of this world instead of obeying Ephesians 4:11-16 and equipping the saints through faithful teaching from God’s Word to go into the world to make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20)?  Have we forgotten 1 John 2:15-17?  Have we forgotten that our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20-21) and that heaven should be our focus (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)?

For me, all that I do and say and think revolves around the Lord Jesus.  He is my everything.  I love Him more than life itself.  I love His salvation and His mercy and His grace.  I love His kingdom and His power.  I love His reign.  I love who He is.  When I go to bed, my heart is focused on Christ.  Throughout my day I think about Christ (Psalm 1:1-3; Isaiah 26:3.  When I work, I meditate upon Jesus and all that He has done for me.  He is my all in all (Philippians 3:7-9).  He is my life (Colossians 3:4).  I know that the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus my Lord (Romans 6:23).  I love Jesus dearly.  I long to see Him face to face and fall down and worship Him for a thousand years (1 John 3:1-3).

In Revelation 14:4 we read of the 144,000 and those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.  I am not going to work through the different views of what that verse means but I do notice that these faithful disciples are to be what we are called to be as well. Notice that they follow Jesus completely.  They follow Him wherever He goes.  He is their faithful Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4; cf. John 10:14).  Jesus said that His disciples are those who hear His Word consistently (John 10:27-29).  You’ll also notice that these disciples in Revelation 14:5 are people of holiness just as we are called to be (Matthew 5:48; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16; 2:11-12; 1 John 3:6-9).  The word “saints” implies being set apart from sin and unto God (Romans 6).  We are saints in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:2; Hebrews 10:10, 14).  The only way to be holy is not by avoiding things that we should not do but by focusing on Jesus who rescues us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  Jesus alone is able to keep us from sin (1 Corinthians 10:13) and it’s when we turn from following Him that we stumble into sin (James 1:12-15).

The focus of the disciple of Jesus is always on pleasing our Lord (Philippians 1:20-21).  My joy is found in Jesus.  My delight is found in Jesus.  My confidence is found in Jesus.  My very life is found in Jesus.  I want all of me to revolve around His Lordship over my life.  I want nothing of my own.  I want all of me to be under His reign (1 Peter 3:15).  What I watch on TV.  What I do with my mind.  Even how I vote all falls under His Lordship.  How I love my wife.  How I raise my boys.  How I do my job.  All of this flows from my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who gave His life for my sins.  My entire world revolves around Jesus.

And frankly, that is the gospel (James 1:23-27; 2:14-26).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/09/2012 at 10:00 AM

Jacob’s Blessing of Judah

I was reading in my devotions from Genesis 49 and I noticed the prophecy that Jacob (Israel) pronounces over his son, Judah in verses 9-12.  I have read these verses many times before and knew that they applied to the Lord Jesus as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Revelation 5:5).  But what struck me is the sovereignty of His reign that we see in Genesis 49:10.  Jesus was to be a strong, sovereign King.  This prophecy is partially fulfilled at this point as we wait for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ who will establish His eternal kingdom that will crush all others.

This kingdom view is seen in other places in the Bible as well.  In Isaiah 2 we see the prophecy from Isaiah that the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the highest of mountains and above the hills and all the nations and peoples will come and go to this mountain and learn of the Lord, that He might teach them His ways.  In Daniel 2:44 we see another prophecy that the kingdom to come will crush all other kingdoms and He will reign forever and ever.

This kingdom is not fully come.  It is still to come.  The kingdom is being preached now and we can become part of the Lord’s kingdom when we become disciples of the Lord Jesus but the complete reign of His kingdom is yet to come.  Acts 28:31 says that Paul preached “the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hinderance.”  Notice that Paul preached the kingdom of God.  And yet in the Epistles of Paul it seems that the kingdom of God is yet to come.  Notice how he placed the kingdom as something to come in 1 Corinthians 6:9 or Galatians 5:21.  The kingdom then is advancing in that people are repenting and coming into the kingdom but the ultimate manifestation of the kingdom of God is not yet come.

My point is to point back to Genesis 49:10 and to notice how sovereign Jesus is to be according to Jacob’s prophecy and blessing of his son Judah.  This lion (verse 9) is to be a ruler.  He will reign completely and notice that the obedience of the people will come.  This Jesus is not to be a “gentle” leader but He is to be Lord of all.  We are to submit to His Lordship over our lives as the King.  How dare we call Jesus “Lord” and not do what He tells us to do (Luke 6:46-49).  He is Lord of all and we must bow down to His sovereign will.  Either we submit to His Lordship now and obey Him or we will bow later at the judgment of God (Philippians 2:5-11).  Either way, every person living and dead and yet to come will stand before Jesus and declare that He is Lord of all.  Revelation 19:16 says that both on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”  There is none like this Lion!

How then can we confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9) and not submit to His Lordship?  How can we believe Genesis 49:10, that Jesus will reign supreme over His eternal kingdom, and yet not obey Him now?  The fact is that we can’t.  1 John 2:3-6 makes it clear that we are to obey Him or we are liars and the truth is not in us.  To simply believe facts about Jesus is not enough.  We must obey Him as Lord.  We are to seek to know His commandments and obey them (John 14:15).  Romans 6 is forced on that end, that Jesus reigns over us and we are His slaves.  He is completely the Lord and we are His slaves who simply submit to Him and obey Him.

The blessing of Jacob toward Judah is a powerful example of the truthfulness of Scripture and the dominion of God.  He reigns.  This is one of the main points of Scripture.  Jesus came as a baby in Matthew 2 and Luke 2 but He will return to reign forever and ever in the end and this time He will come in power and authority (Hebrews 9:28).  All the nations will bow down to Him and praise Him as Lord (Psalm 2:8-9).  Even Satan will declare that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11) and then will be cast into hell (Revelation 20:10-15).  Let us seek to praise and obey Him now as Lord!  Let us exalt our King above all things especially in laying down our lives for our King and our God.

Jesus is Lord!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/25/2012 at 10:00 AM

>These Will Not Inherit the Kingdom of God

>Several times in the New Testament we read that certain people will not inherit the kingdom of God.  1 Corinthians 6:9-10 provides a list of people that Paul the Apostle said would not inherit the kingdom of God.  This list includes:

  • Sexual immoral
  • Idolaters
  • Adulterers
  • Homosexuals
  • Thieves
  • Greedy
  • Drunkards
  • Revilers
  • Swindlers

In 1 Corinthians 15:50 Paul says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul gives more people that will not inherit the kingdom of God by giving us a list of sins of the flesh:

  • Sexual immorality
  • Impurity
  • Sensuality
  • Idolatry
  • Sorcery
  • Enmity
  • Strife
  • Jealousy
  • Fits of anger
  • Rivalries
  • Dissensions
  • Divisions
  • Envy
  • Drunkenness
  • Orgies
  • And these like these

In Colossians 3:6 Paul says that because of these things (sins of Colossians 3:5), God’s wrath is coming.

In Revelation 21:8 John reveals who will be outside of the kingdom of God.  He lists:

  • Cowardly
  • Faithless
  • Detestable
  • Murderers
  • Sexually Immoral
  • Sorcerers
  • Idolaters
  • All liars

John even adds that those of Revelation 21:8 would be cast into the lake of fire which is the second death.

My point in posting all these sins is 1) avoid them (1 Corinthians 10:13) and 2) to show that some will not inherit the kingdom of God.  This is clear from these passages.  To teach universalism would mean that we would have to either completely reject these passages of Scripture or twist them.  Both  are certain when dealing with universalists.

Even John 3:16 makes no sense apart from understanding God’s coming judgement and wrath against sin.  Even those who hold to annihilation such as Edward Fudge acknowledge that people will perish without the gospel.  But universalists reject this.  They hold that all will be saved either in this life or postmortem.  Yet the beauty of John 3:16 is that God gave His Son for our sins so that by faith in Him we can be saved.  I add that it is only by faith in Jesus’ name that we are saved (Romans 1:5).  We are not saved by believing that God created everything or that there is only one God but we are saved by personal faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  This is the message that brings salvation and peace with God (Acts 11:14 and notice that the Bible says that salvation comes through the message).  God saves sinners through preaching (Romans 10:14-17; 1 Corinthians 1:21).  God saves those who believe (John 3:36).

We are living in a dangerous time.  All around us people are turning away from the faith and embracing lies.  The spirit of tolerance has gripped the Church and we must stand up and preach the truths of Scripture.  We must be clear on these issues.  We must preach all the Bible as the absolute truth of God and live that way.  I know that because of culture and spiritual laziness many will embrace the lies of the enemy but true disciples of Jesus must rise up and preach the Word of God with all that is in us from our lives to our lips (1 Peter 2:11-12).  We must stand for God’s truth even if it cost us everything (2 Timothy 3:12).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/31/2011 at 2:05 PM

Posted in Kingdom of God, Truth

Power Not Power

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

– Acts 1:8 (ESV)

It’s amazing to me how the disciples of Jesus often acted toward the Lord. In Matthew 20:20-28 we read the account of the mother of the sons of Zebedee coming up to Jesus and asking Him to allow her two sons to sit on his right and left in His kingdom. Jesus then asked the sons pointed questions about their discipleship to which they gladly replied that they could suffer with Him (Matthew 20:22). This made the other apostles quite upset at this asking for power and authority and made them angry toward the two brothers. Jesus quickly taught His apostles that this is how the rulers of this world act but it must not be in the kingdom of God (Matthew 20:25-28). In the kingdom of God, its about being a servant above a leader like our Master (John 13:1-17).

Amazingly the apostles debate who would be the greatest among themselves at the last supper with Jesus (Luke 22:24). I would not want to look back at my last night on earth with Jesus in the flesh and remember that I debated with the others about who would be the greatest in the kingdom. Oh to have a heart like Jesus’!

In Acts 1 we again find the apostles asking Jesus another question about earthly kingdoms and power and authority. In Acts 1:6 we read, “So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?'” (ESV). Their minds are still on earthly kingdoms, earthly power, earthly authority. But Jesus doesn’t even answer the question (v.7). Instead, He tells the disciples that they will receive power but not power, a kingdom but not a kingdom.

The Church today needs to hear Jesus’ words again. We want a kingdom but we want it to be led by men. We want a kingdom where we control things. We want a kingdom where our rules, our thoughts, our laws, our power has authority. We want a kingdom of men, controlled by men, and ruled by men. We want a church where boards, pastors, and committees lead us. We want a church that is seeking a kingdom among men and led by men. We want power over others. We want a kingdom but God wants to give us another kingdom. We want power but God wants to give us true power.

The kingdom of God is not like the kingdoms of this world. The power of God is not about power over others. The kingdom of God is not about legislated authority. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of slaves to our Master (Luke 14:25-35), where Jesus is Lord and we are His servants and priests (Revelation 1:5-6). The power of God is not a power over others but is the power of God within us to equip us to be Jesus’ witnesses through holiness (Hebrews 12:14), through good deeds (Matthew 5:13-16) and through being servants (Matthew 20:25-28). The power of God is not given to us for power but for power (1 Peter 5:1-5). The kingdom of God is not about the kingdoms of men but about God’s reign and authority (Romans 14:17).

Churches split nearly all the time. They split over the color of carpet, over using hymnals or not, over the sound or styles of music, etc. These are churches who want a kingdom but not a kingdom. These are churches who want power but not power. Jesus promised us power but not power. Jesus promised us authority (Luke 10:19) but not authority. Jesus promised us a kingdom but not a kingdom (Matthew 16:18-19; John 18:36).

With the recent elections, we in the Church must once again realise that we are promised power but not power. We are promised a kingdom but not a kingdom. Our hope is not in men but in the Lord God of heaven. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright” (Psalm 20:7-8 ESV). We want power (Acts 1:8) but not power. We want a kingdom (Matthew 6:10) but not a kingdom.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

11/08/2008 at 12:38 PM

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