Lifting Up Jesus
Wednesday, November 4, 2009

“Teach me Your Way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart that I may fear Your name.  I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever.”  Ps. 86:11-12      

      Over the last couple of days I have read different articles and a quote in a book which reveal some very disturbing information about the Church and the way the Church is perceived in our modern culture.  In World Magazine, there was an editorial based on a Barna survey concerning the way people view evangelicals in today’s culture.  Without going into the whole survey, suffice it to say that the younger generation perceives evangelicals as mean and out of touch with reality.  The second thing I read was from a book called, Word and Power Church, in a chapter addressing some of the ills of the modern Church.  The author, Doug Banister, said, “There is not one county in America that has a higher percentage of Christians living in it today than were there ten years ago.  Not one!”   Think about that, with all the talk about mega-churches and the church growth movement – every county in America is losing ground to the secular world.  My question of the day is, “Could there be a correlation between the two pieces of information?”  Is there a relationship between how evangelicals are perceived and the dying of the Church in America? 

           Before addressing that question directly, let me simply say that if we are faithful to God’s Word and the teachings of Christ, the culture is not going to like us very much.  And that really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise if we look at the life of Christ.  No greater example of love as God intended love to be has ever been witnessed on the face of the earth.  He was the Embodiment of God’s Love.  And yet the world hated Him. Why?  Simply because He told them what they were doing was evil.  And that never sets well with people.  We see it outside of Christianity.  When we talk about the evils of abortion or homosexual behavior, anger and wrath rage against us.  But that is not just the case outside the Church.  Look within the walls.  When a church teaches against divorce, greed, unforgiveness, and bitterness, inevitably some people get mad and leave the church.  Yes, when peoples’ behavior is held under the magnifying glass of God’s Light, they begin to squirm and be very uncomfortable.  And they only have one of two choices.  They must either change what they are doing or shoot the messenger.  So part of what came to the surface in Barna’s survey is simply peoples’ reaction to the evangelical message of the Word of God.  If you want to live in sin, you cannot love the Word of God. 

           Having said that, however, I do not want to abrogate the responsibility of Christians to mirror the teachings of Jesus Christ.  He did not come to teach the law, He wrote the law 2 millennia before He came to earth.  He did not need to become a man and re-teach what He had already taught.  He came to earth to demonstrate God’s redemption and to teach the Kingdom of God.  And the Kingdom of God is all about a treasure that is so precious, that once you find it, you will give up everything to possess it.  It is about a pearl that is so valuable, that once you hold that pearl in your hand, nothing else on earth will satisfy.  It is about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  The Kingdom of God is about loving God and loving one another and lovingly sharing the Good News with all who have not heard it.  And it is about demonstrating that living as disciples to the teachings of our Master is the only place where we can find the pearl, the treasure, the righteousness, peace, and joy.  And I can tell you that today, with all the brokenness in our culture, all the hatred in our world, all the pain and suffering on every continent that message will have a radical effect today.  Jesus said, “When I am lifted up, all men will be drawn to Me.”

            So I believe the answer to my question of the day is that we are no longer lifting up Christ.  Too many Christians lift up the law.  Too many others lift up the experience.  And yet others lift up the works.  But the failures of the modern Church will continue as long as those things are what we lift up.  What will change our hearts, our families, our churches, our communities, our nations, and our world is when Jesus Christ is lifted up.  When we tell the world of His unconditional love, His forgiveness of sins, His loving touch, and His magnificent Kingdom which is available to each of us today then people will find He is the only real solution to their problems.  When the divorcee finds forgiveness, when the young woman who has been broken by her abortion finds healing, when the drug addict finds redemption, when the homosexual finds love and grace outside of sex, when everyone finds meaning in the daily chores of life, all because Christ has been lifted up, then the statistics will be overwhelmingly changed.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455

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