Posted by: bellissimanh | September 6, 2010

Jesus Commanded: “Go and Make…?”

Enjoyed an incredible day at the Swiftwaters Music Festival Saturday! In addition to incredible music, we were also given the gift of this powerful speech by Chad Lindsey.  Chad has graciously given me permission to share his thoughts with you… enjoy and applaud, but mostly, I pray that you’ll be inspired to give your life even more fully to the pursuit of Jesus, living for Him, and teaching others to do the same.

I don’t think I’m saying anything earth shattering when I state that Christianity is under attack.  Political correctness has run amok and we have allowed the battle for people’s souls to be defined under the terms of our enemy.  The most feared word for the modern Christian is “bigot.”

How did this happen, and is it true?  My Dad always told me that there is no lie more convincing than one that is a distortion of truth.  We made a tactical blunder as Christians many years ago when we allowed our faith to be defined merely by the abstract term “love.” 

Who would argue that Christianity isn’t about love?  Of course, it is.  But, we then failed to define what we meant by ‘love.’  In doing so we left an opening ten miles wide for the enemy to move in.  He would define what love is for us.  How considerate of him.

Christ -like love, in the worldly definition is total acceptance of others lifestyles and actions regardless of our beliefs and feelings.  It is the notion that Jesus was non-judgmental in His teaching and preaching.

The world would have us believe that it is arrogance that says that one faith is superior to another.  It is bigotry that says that two men cannot marry.  It is cultural imperialism that seeks to end forced marriage, ritual rape, and the devaluation of human life.  It is judgmentalism that says another’s behavior is immoral.  It is hate that creates absolute standards of right and wrong.  Love, apparently is the opposite of these things.

Is this truth?  No it is not, but too many Christians, especially new ones, are buying into this lie.  Can you be homosexual and Christian?  Yes, I believe you can.  Much like you can be an alcoholic and a Christian or an adulterer and a Christian.  But are you living the life of victory and freedom promised to us in the Bible?  No you’re not, you’re missing out on the best stuff that Jesus has to offer.

By allowing the world to define our terms for us, we are robbing people of the awesome power of our Savior.  We stop short after telling people that Jesus loves them no matter what and wants to save them.

Yes, that is true, and supremely important…but.  Jesus is not just the Savior.  He is also the Sanctifier, the Healer, and the Coming King.  If we stop the growth of new Christians with salvation, they will never know the fulfillment of God’s promise to make us new creatures in Christ.  They won’t know the joy of being in alignment with God’s will, or the incredible power He has to heal our bodies and minds. 

It’s not that we HAVE to change when we come to Christ, it’s that we GET to.  The sin that so easily ensnares is broken and we get to be free, living lives of victory and grace.  No longer does drunkenness, adultery, gossip, homosexuality, lying, and hate have a hold on us.  We are free.  That’s what we need to be telling people.

I often hear people judge Christians by saying that they are not living as Jesus did hanging out with sinners and accepting them. Christians are mean and judgmental.  Maybe there’s something in that, but really how did Jesus treat sinners?  He loved and accepted them, healed them, forgave their sins, and then told them to do one more thing:  Go and sin no more.  Jesus didn’t accept their sin, he accepted them.  That is love.

I have to ask of modern Christianity, and I include myself in this:  Are we more concerned with making disciples or with popularity and legitimacy in the eyes of the world?

We have something unique to offer the world: Jesus Christ.  What if society reaches rock bottom, goes looking for truth and renewal, and finds a church that is essentially the world with Jesus perfume on?

Things that seem to be relevant, with it, happening, hip, cool, or whatever your generation’s catch-word was, don’t stay that way.

How many of you came of age in the…

            -60s – Bell-bottoms, bra burnings, and Timothy Leary

            -70s – Polka dots, polyester suits, and disco

            -80s – Stone washed jeans, ripped denim jackets, poofy hair, and aviator          sunglasses

            -90s – Hammer pants, baggy jeans, and neon

            -Now – Skinny jeans, wavy hair, v-neck shirts

Guess what?  What’s cool today, what’s relevant and popular, will be a punchline tomorrow.  But one thing stays the same yesterday, today, and forever and that is Jesus Christ.   Let’s not allow our sacred faith to become tied to a cultural movement.  Christ does not conform to culture; He transcends culture.

Islam and Mormonism are the fastest growing religions in the world.  Ever wonder why?  It’s really quite simple.  They offer people a tight faith group that is totally separated from the depraved culture at large.  Mormons don’t hide behind walls; they knock on our doors.  Muslims don’t try to imitate pop culture; they speak against it in very clear terms.  But we have the truth, they don’t.  Why are we selling Christ cheaply?  Why are we bidding low or folding altogether when we’re holding a royal flush?

Jesus needs to be an alternative to sin and to a depraved, restless, and depressed culture.  We do God no favors by packaging His truth as compatible with sin and cultural fads.  There needs to be a clear demarcation between the depression and hopelessness of this world and the unmitigated joy found only in a relationship with our Lord.

We need to be offering the whole Gospel to a lost and dying world.  We need to teach sanctification and living lives of victory as part of the Christian package.  We need to make it known that it’s not just Jesus loves me; it’s that Jesus loves me so much that He wants me to be perfect as the Father is perfect.  To be free, happy, fulfilled, content, and brimming over with a desire to see others come to the same freedom.

When we allow Him to strip away all of our wickedness, pride, and rebellion, He completes us.  As Matthew 28 teaches: Don’t just go and make converts, make disciples.

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