Read: Luke 9
“Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” (Luke 9:4-5)
I’m really concerned! I have a nagging worry that the way we are doing Christianity these days is a far cry from what Jesus had in mind. I think we are far more concerned with doing whatever it takes to attract people into our churches than in calling for the radical transformation of their lives through total surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Just think of how the typical church in America today makes its appeal to the community: You’ll love our music—the band sounds just like Coldplay. Our pastor is great—he’ll remind you of David Letterman, only funnier. We got some great programs, too—your kids will think they’ve died and gone to Disneyland. Bring your teenager, they may win an iPhone—we have a drawing for one every week. And have we got a deal for you—we’ll help you improve you marriage, make you more successful in business, show you how to make money, and help you to feel really good about yourself. Oh, by the way, we’ll treat you to a latte from our Starbucks’ franchise in the lobby.
No kidding, I was sent an advertisement not too long ago for a start up church back east that promoted itself as a church for the really busy. The outstanding feature of their advertisement was the half-hour service—10 minutes of worship, 12 minutes of the word, 3 minutes of application, and 5 minutes of fellowship—flim, flam, thank you ma’am.
Nothing like rearranging your life around the priorities of the kingdom, wouldn’t you say? Maybe their mission statement could be, “If you’re too busy for Jesus, just come to us—we’ll fix that!”
That is a far cry from the plan Jesus gave the disciples for building his kingdom in Luke 9:1-6 (NLT):
Then One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes. Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town. And if a town refuses to welcome you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.
Building the kingdom is not a matter of entertaining people into our churches. The more we do that, the more the world finds the church irrelevant. We can’t compete with them in that realm anyway, they do a far better job at entertainment than we do. Rather, building God’s kingdom is about invading your neighborhood, workplace, school or social circle—“whatever house you enter”—in the power and authority of Jesus Christ, casting out demons, healing diseases, and declaring to those who have been under Satan’s dominion that there is a new Sheriff in town.
That probably sounds a bit radical, doesn’t it? And that very fact shows you how far we’ve drifted from New Testament Christianity. But really, don’t you think it’s time we start depending on the power and authority of Jesus again to build the kingdom of God rather than trying to be hip?
“[Jesus] was never regarded as a mere moral teacher. He did not produce that effect on any of the people who actually met Him. He produced mainly three results—Hatred—Terror—Adoration. There was no trace of people expressing mild admiration.” ~C.S. Lewis
What If God Took Over?
If you dare, spend a few minutes praying that the Holy Spirit will empower and embolden you to be a radical witness for Jesus Christ.