Jesus had a vision and goal that he gave his life for, Christians look for churches that meet their needs
We are continuing our series looking at some of the differences between Jesus and what “Christianity” has become (read the original article here)
I wanted to look at how the way Jesus lived and how the example he gave seems to be very different from the way that most modern day “Christians” live. My purpose in writing these articles is not to bring condemnation or unnecessary criticism upon the body of Christ. I am seeking to demolish traditions and strongholds of thinking that have crept into what has become of Christianity and which are at odds with the message and lifestyle of Jesus Christ.
First of all let’s look at a few things that Jesus said,
“Come, follow me and I will show you how to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19)
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give everything you need.” (Matthew 6:31-34)
“And all nations will hate you for being my followers.” (Matthew 10:22)
“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24)
“There is still one thing you haven’t done” he told them. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)
We can all read the Gospels ourselves and ask the Holy Spirit to show us how to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. In fact I often do this myself when I feel like I need to re-boot back to Jesus. It’s easy to lose sight of Jesus and become busy “doing stuff” that might be done in His name but that actually doesn’t resemble anything of Jesus.
What stood out to you from the words of Jesus above?
Here’s what stood out to me:
The call to be a disciple of Jesus includes the call to make more disciples. It is not an optional add on for those who feel called, confident or appointed by a human organisation.
I often hear “Christians” talking about their choice of church as though they are shopping for their favourite treat in a supermarket. Maybe instead of looking for a church that meets our needs, has great worship and which ticks all our boxes – we should find a church that teaches us how to be a disciple who makes more disciples. After all – that is what Jesus has commanded us to do right? The first disciples were invited into a life of being with Jesus and fishing for other people. Is that the kind life you’re experiencing?
Jesus asks us to focus on building His Kingdom instead of our own
Contrary to popular belief, Jesus didn’t promise us wealth, success and popularity in this life. The normal experience of a true follower of Jesus will involve rejection, hardships and suffering. Many of our brothers and sisters around the world experience persecution, imprisonment and even death on a daily basis. According to Jesus – people who don’t believe in Jesus are dominated by thoughts about building their own kingdoms and having everything they need. Followers of Jesus are invited to trust their heavenly Father for what they need so that they can give themselves to the eternally important work of spreading His Kingdom here on earth. Don’t worry about your own needs – seek the Kingdom of God and obey Him!
People will hate us for being followers of Jesus
That one is pretty self explanatory!
Following Jesus involves sacrifice and self denial
Becoming a follower of Jesus isn’t just another thing to add to your CV. It is a complete and radical change in your life through faith and grace. Jesus explained to his disciples many times that the pathway into God’s Kingdom is not through praying a quick prayer – but through living a life of sacrifice and endurance every day. We start the journey of faith by being baptised publicly for the forgiveness of our sins. Our old life is buried with Christ and we rise with Him in new life. Having left our old life behind we are then invited to continually offer our lives to God as living sacrifices every day.
It’s more blessed to give than to receive
(I nicked this from Paul and his message to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20!) Jesus loved people and asked them to give everything they had for His Kingdom and for others. Modern day “Christianity” has flipped this on it’s head and told people that it is more blessed to receive than to give. Give yourselves to Jesus and His work. Give your food and resources to those around you in need. Don’t hold things back for yourself.
I don’t know about you but me and my family long to give ourselves for this vision of life in God’s Kingdom that is founded on Jesus himself and the values of faith, love, multiplication, sacrifice, generosity and sacrifice.
Through Mission Somerset we are trying to build communities of disciples who also understand this vision and give themselves unreservedly to it! Contact us to find out more