That’s what he does. That’s our Jesus. God comes to earth as the man Jesus Christ, and he goes looking for absolutely wrecked people, people on the worst day of their whole life.
Luke says it this way: “He went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out.” Do you feel that?
Read these lines, “The only son of his mother, and,” what? “She was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had,” what? “Compassion on her.” Compassion on her.
A challenging excerpt from Mark Driscoll’s sermon, The Beatitudes, Part 1from Luke 6:17-36. Watch the video or read the transcript below:
The kingdom of God is not about getting. That’s what Jesus is saying. It’s not about getting wealth. It’s not about getting power. It’s not about getting comfort. It’s not about getting fame. And the kingdom of God is not about doing. It’s not what you do so that God will be pleased with you.
The kingdom ultimately is about being.
It’s about being in relationship with God.
And there are two ways that some will teach you to work out the counterculture kingdom ethic of Jesus.
One is absolute nonsense, religious garbage that arouses anger as I travel throughout this land, and I see Muslims, Jews, and Jack Christians who are religious, worshiping places, worshiping people, identifying themselves by their performance, and their power, and their prestige, and their prosperity. This is no holy land! This is a very unholy land! This is among the most unholy lands on the nation of the earth! The idolatry is steep and deep!
It’s just like the days when Jesus went to the temple, and absolutely was filled with fury. There is a righteous anger in the heart of God over those who would pilgrimage here, and cut in line for food, and steal, and cheat, and download porno in their hotel, and flirt with others, and follow ridiculous religious rituals, and then talk about the holy land. It’s not about the holy land. It’s about the holy king, and the holy kingdom, and repentant people by grace being connected to him, and being conformed to him.
The kingdom is not about going somewhere, but about belonging to Someone.
And so for us, it is never a place, it is a person, and the center of our faith is Jesus. Continue Reading…
I really appreciated this video featuring D.A. Carson on what he believes the church in America needs. It’s a message that I believe we would all be wise to pay close attention to. Agree? Disagree?
What the Church in America needs is what the Church of the living God in every age and culture always needs. It can be put a lot of different ways. To make the first things the first things—that is to focus on what the Bible makes central.
It needs to preach Christ, but not as a cipher, but Christ as the incarnation of the Living God, who has come amongst us not only to teach us, but also to introduce this dramatic, life-transforming saving reign, all grounded in His death on our behalf, bearing our sins in his own body on the tree so the righteous wrath of God is turned away because of God’s own decisive love for us. He gives His own Son so that we may be reconciled to Him, reconciled to each other in anticipation of the climactic new heaven and new earth, resurrection life still to come, and already that transforms everything and makes us a new community of men and women who are already borne along by the Holy Spirit, living in the power of the age to come.
That’s what it needs always. Always!
Those are central things because we see them to be central in the Word of God. Well what this is the preaching and teaching of the Word of God in the power of the Spirit to see men and women transformed.
And whether people believe it or not—whether the proclamation of this message is, as Paul puts it, an aroma to some of life, of sweetness, or an aroma to others of the stench of death… In one sense, that doesn’t matter nearly so much as being faithful.
In Isaiah’s day, according to chapter six of that prophecy, he was called to preach—and preach in such a way that in fact people would be blinded and deafened. This, you find also in the teaching of Jesus in John chapter eight. There, Jesus says, “Because I tell you the truth, you do not believe.”
That is stunning, it is horribly shocking.
It’s not a concessive. “Although I tell you the truth you do not believe.” It’s causal. “Because I tell you the truth.”
So there are times and places and history, there are always people in every generation in history for whom the truth is so offensive that it guarantees unbelief. In other words, the truth itself is so offensive that articulating the truth is going to harden their hearts.
And if that’s the case, then you don’t start asking, “Well, I guess I’d better preach some untruth, shouldn’t I?”
Rather you remain faithful, and you leave the results with God, and it will draw some, because it will be an aroma of life to some, even if turns out to be an aroma of death to others.
So what we always need then is faithfulness, and understanding the Bible, teaching the Bible, preaching the Bible, living out the Bible for the glory of God, for the good of his blood-bought people, living in the light of eternity.
And that also teaches us how to live in our day-to-day existence.
On Sunday, August 23, 2009, we were still gathering together for service meeting since this is necessary spiritual need. At 3 p.m., many district security officers came into my house. At that time, we were having service meeting, they came and stopped and dismissed us. We stopped and explained to them we had made the application of permission already, but they still blustered. Several of them towed Brother — out to the house and had him sit on their motorbike. They did the same way to —. They oppressed him ruthlessly and towed him; they did not allow for him to speak a word. And other women were towed away also. They did take away one guitar but they did not make a report to taking away guitar. After arriving at the district police station, they made the report with the accusation: “They are gathering together illegally.” They used the abuse words and threatened Brother —: “If you came back this place again; you will be beaten.” … and at 6:30 p.m. they released us.
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