Lent 2013 - Vol. 66
Culture of self
Narcissism not only erodes the core values of society, it also affects how Christians view their relationship with the Lord and his call on their lives.
Jesus is Lord
My point here is that we do a good job with the “savior” part: my salvation, my soul, my eternity, my health, my improvement, my growth, etc. (It’s all about me!). I like the title “Redeemer” because it implies that Jesus saves your soul and your life. And, how does he save our lives? He saves them by giving us the power to turn them over to him. So, he saves our soul and in return we give him our lives. A fair trade, isn’t it?
Consider the following scripture verses: Luke 17:7-10
“Will anyone of you, who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep, say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down at table’? Will he not rather say to him,’ Prepare supper for me and gird yourself and serve me, till I eat and drink; and afterward you shall eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what he was commanded? So, you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’This Scripture is very offensive to our modern sensibilities. We want to cry out, “It’s not fair!” “I’ve worked all day!” “You don’t appreciate me!” “I want to talk to your supervisor!” “Savior” is a lot about us (what we get), and “Lordship” is a lot about him! (What he gets: a life dedicated to him and willing to serve even when tired.)
How this life is given over to him is the next question. How do I love and serve the Lord Jesus Christ?
1 John 3:16-17:One of the main ways that I love and serve him is in my love and service of the brethren.
The Path Between
We know that human maturity is moving away from that selfishness toward a healthy concern for the rights and the needs of others. The process of Christian maturity could be seen as the path between my salvation and his lordship. So, conversion to the Lord Jesus is the first step and not the destination. We can call that path between Savior and Lord discipleship: more on him and less on me. Or as John the Baptist said, “He must increase, and I must decrease.”
Discipleship and People
The Sermon on the Mount has been called Jesus’ greatest teaching, and much of it has to do with our postures, our attitudes, our relationships. And much of the teaching of Jesus is directed at or to the body of Christ, the people he has redeemed.
with the body of Christ
“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ “Because it is a final judgment scene you could classify it as a “spiritual” teaching or a predictive prophecy. It has devils, angels, the King, his royal throne, eternal punishment, and eternal life. Stepping back from it though, it is simply the Lord saying, “I identify with my body, the people I have redeemed who are now joined with me. What you do to them, you do to me, and the consequences are eternal!”
We again see Jesus almost equating himself with his body in Matthew 18:18-20:
“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”The incarnation of the Incarnation
One final observation about Christ and his body on earth. Notice the parallel between the Incarnation and Pentecost. The angel announces to Mary that she will bring forth the Son of God (Luke 1:26-33) because the Holy Spirit “will come upon you” (vs. 35). Then at the Ascension, Jesus tells them to wait in the city until the Spirit comes “down upon you” (Luke 24:29), and at Pentecost, the church is born. The parallels are striking. Christ intends to be physically present in all the world through us!
Four levels of
“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
Jesus’ final days
Jesus’ final prayer, given on the eve of his sacrifice on the cross, was for unity.
John 17:11:And that unity has a consequence: it is a life saver, not only for us who know the Lord Jesus, but for all who will come to recognize and believe in the Lord Jesus through his body here on earth!
John 17:20-21:Jesus’ final command (to my way of thinking) is in John 15:12-17:
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have call you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.”There is also a final warning (John 15:18-25)
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on my account, because they do not know him who sent me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. It is to fulfil the word that is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.’”and a final promise (John 15:26):
“But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me.”and a final purpose (John 15:27):
“...and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning.”Considering the final prayer and final command, I draw the conclusion that the third level of responsibility is the focal area of discipleship. Our discipleship will result in service to the world; the breakthrough area of discipleship is the body of Christ. If we don’t show real earnest care about the body of Christ, our love will never spill out of his family into evangelizing the world. Our unity and our love for one another will have the consequence of witnessing to the world.
Him and us
Then if someone asks, “Who here has accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord,” we can happily raise our hands because we have accepted the call to follow him, not simply as individuals, but as members of his body who are united with him as the head!
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