Monday, July 22, 2013

Jesus Got Mad

Jesus got mad. He hung out with the lost, the sinners, the murderers, prostitutes, liars and thieves. He didn't get mad at them. He taught large masses of people who ended up not wanting his words but his free lunches. He didn't get mad at them. He was approached by people he was not sent to, who were not the chosen people, who asked him for favours. He didn't get mad at them. No, he got mad at those who turned the temple into something it wasn't suppose to be. He got mad at the religious.

Read John 2 and see the account of the incident.

Jesus,who tolerated so much in the world to bring the good news to the people who needed to hear it, would not tolerate what the religious had allowed to happen in the temple, a place of prayer. I think there is a great lesson here that we are ignoring, an elephant in the room. We've got it backwards.

We spend a lot of time judging and accusing the world of what is only natural for it to do. They are a lost people, blinded to the truth, who exist by instincts that are twisted by rebellion. In many ways they do not know better. They need a message of compassion and truth. They need to know that despite it all, God is still reaching out to them with mercy and grace. They need to hear the words of hope that Jesus brought to us.

We seem to ignore the words of instruction that came through Apostle Paul:

Why should I judge outsiders? Aren’t we supposed to judge only church members? God judges everyone else. The Scriptures say, “Chase away any of your own people who are evil.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)

How easy it is for us to point fingers at the world, accusing them of what comes natural. Paul says such judgement comes from God, not us. However, we are responsible for tending to the Church. It is here that we have to be hard on ourselves and yet it is here that we say very little.

Don't get me wrong, there is lots of judgement, but of the wrong sort. There is a lot of behind the back accusation and finger pointing but very little correction. There is also a tolerance of things that God has rejected. I see so much from my vantage point, so much that people accept as right when God has called it wrong.

These people, who I believe are sincere in their love for God, have also pursued their own interest. They twist and turn the Word of God to make accommodations for themselves. They accuse those who follow God's Word of being narrow minded. And I am speaking of much more than homosexuality.We stretch the truth to allow for what our hearts desire for ourselves.

Homosexuals are not the only ones who say they cannot change so God must have made them this way. Whatever our interest, or "pet" sin, the thing we can't or won't let go of, we make our excuses and live with it. There are those who love God but can't stop the lying. There are those who love God but continue to have sex with who ever is open to it. There are those who love God who can't stop the attraction to pornography. There are those who love God and can't stop stealing. There are those who love God who can't stop drinking or doing drugs or any list of things that God has rejected and called unacceptable for his children. But we excuse it, accommodate it and call it good.

It is what got Jesus mad in the temple that day and provoked him to action and it is what Paul said we have a responsibility to take care of:

In my other letter I told you not to have anything to do with immoral people. But I wasn’t talking about the people of this world. You would have to leave this world to get away from everyone who is immoral or greedy or who cheats or worships idols. I was talking about your own people who are immoral or greedy or worship idols or curse others or get drunk or cheat. Don’t even eat with them! (1 Corinthians 5:9-11)

There's the tree in the eye again.

It's great we are talking about the prophetic and using all kinds of wonderfully descriptive words and using a worship that moves our emotions but until the Holy Spirit moves our hearts back to a desire for holiness, it's just a bunch of words. We need to allow the real love of Jesus to provoke us to evict what does not belong in this temple of the Holy Spirit. We need to get mad that we have allowed such things to occupy us. Sexual immorality does not belong to this body any more, it does not belong in the Body of Christ. Either does drunkenness, lying, stealing, gossiping or any other perversion of God's children.

Of course we have no power to evict anything or to change ourselves. The power only comes from Jesus but he gave us his authority so we can speak to those things in us. It is not by will power but by God's power. Just as a person who is drawn to the same sex cannot stop themselves, either can someone who can't stop having affairs or a person who can't stop lying or a person who can't stop stealing, or drinking or taking drugs. But that is the beauty of Jesus, who restores us to what God has designed us to be.

If we choose to hold on to our sin because we like it, we in turn are rejecting God. You cannot have both sin and Jesus. Sin is a very attractive thing and is powerful. It is why we have been slaves to it for so long but when we accept the sacrifice of Jesus, all of that changes. We are transformed. We have the power and authority, Jesus' authority, over sin and we must use it.

We have to stop tolerating sin in our lives and in the Body of Christ. It is better to deal with it now before the time of forced separation is upon us. The sheep and goats, wheat and weeds will be separated. It's not what we say is right and wrong but what God says. Let's stop pointing fingers at the world and get back to the desire for holy living. Let's get mad about sin in God's holy temple.

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