Monday, May 9, 2011

Not Everyone Who Says "Lord, Lord" Is Part Of The Kingdom

It is not right for us to judge the Bride of Christ or to separate ourselves from her, but I think most of us realize that many people in the Church do not love Jesus as they ought to love him. The Church is filled with tag-a-longs, people who have never encountered Jesus but follow along in the crowd. They come along because they see some value in the followers of Jesus, they simply haven't gone all the way to encounter the source for themselves. Unfortunately there are far too many people who carry the title "Christian" who have never been baptised in the Spirit which makes it impossible to know Jesus.

Jesus was taking the time to explain things to his disciples prior to his arrest. He wanted to make sure they understood what was about to happen and was answering several of their questions. After Jesus had answered Thomas and Philip's questions, the other Judas (not Iscariot) had a question that many of us may also want to ask:

“But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” (John 14:22)

How much easier it would be if Jesus simply showed himself to the world. At least we could end the bickering about his existence and concentrate on why people should trust him. Jesus answered in such a way that we should understand that maybe we are more pretender than we are authentic followers:

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." (John 14:23-24)

It is not good enough to sing songs of love or to do what you want to do to demonstrate your love. The only thing that convinces Jesus of our love for him is obedience. It is unfortunate that most of us do not even know enough to say that we know what he has commanded. How can we obey if we do not know the instructions? Some people pick and choose which instructions and commands fit them best. They are deep into sin, never having been transformed by the blood of Jesus and yet tell the world they are followers of Jesus. Talk about robbing him of his glory! We know Jesus has not shown himself to these people because it is impossible to encounter Jesus and remain the same.

The blessings are found in our obedience. As we encounter Jesus, surrender our will to his, we are compelled to demonstrate our love through obedience and he makes his home in us through the Holy Spirit. We become one with the Father and the Son. Then things begin to really change and the resurrection power flows.There is something extremely powerful about encountering a soul that walks in obedience to Jesus and even the world sits up and takes notice. Jesus will reveal his glory to sinners so they will repent and find rescue in him, but he will not "show" himself in the intimacy he did with the disciples until we are willing to obey him. Obedience requires love.

We are not meant to live weak and questioning lives. We are not meant to live with a lack of assurance and nagging doubts. We are not meant to live with an empty feeling that allows us to be tossed about with every changing thought. Jesus has called us to a powerful life, filled with determination, strength, faith, trust, where we are more than conquerors over those things that would enslave us. Jesus' language was always one of victory, never defeat. He never backed down but always stood his ground. Even when the whole world, including his disciples, abandoned him and attacked him, he continued the course. His strength and resolve was found in his "oneness" with his Father. The secret to everything in the Christian life is found in an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus, where we become one with him. We have no other source. It is not found in intelligence, wisdom, systems, kindness or anything else. These things are found flowing out of this bond of love and trust that we have with Jesus. The blessings are found in our obedience. This is the Jesus who is revealed to us in great intimacy to those who love and obey.

No comments: