I write this post from a deeply troubled heart. I write this from spending time with people who would call themselves Christians. I write this from an experience this weekend that caused me to really question where my generation is at with their dedication and love of Jesus. I write this knowing my own flaws and failures.
Have we graduated from the Gospel? Does the message of Jesus no longer move our very soul to long for Him more and serve Him with all that we have?
This weekend I attended my favorite church near where my brother lives; the reason I enjoy it so much is not because they have an awesome worship band (which they do) or because it’s got all the newest technology and sound systems going (which it does), it’s because the Pastor preaches with such a heart for the Lord and heart for His people. His devotion to God is evident, it’s infectious, it’s Holy Spirit filled.
The sermon was on Isaiah 53 [I know when I’m reading blogs I usually skim over the scripture but please take time to read this and meditate upon it.]
53 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
This is our Jesus. This is what he came to do. This is the price he paid for us. This is the Gospel. This is the reason we as Christians have life.
The sermon went on to describe in detail the things Jesus went through in our place, the rejection he received, the pain he suffered and the death he endured so that we wouldn’t have to. Why? Because God loves us!
Some sort of light caught my eye during the climax of the sermon, it was the girl next to me (mid-twenties)…sitting on her phone checking Facebook. I was dumbfounded. Tempted to think a cynical thought I ended up opting for “Oh, she’s probably not a Christian and is not enjoying this.” In that moment, I seemed to justify her actions. But then we shared communion and it was made clear from the front that only if you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior were you to take communion. She took communion. So for arguments sake, I believe she was saved.
I don’t share this story to condemn that girl, to say she’s an awful Christian or to puff up my feathers because ‘I’m such a good Christian I didn’t check my phone during the sermon’ (But I did look at it during the worship…) I share this story because I believe God used it to show me where the majority of my generation is at with him.
Friends, have we heard the Gospel so many times that it now means nothing to us? Have we reached a stage in our Christian journey where we’ve moved on to deeper, more theological and mind boggling things to meditate, discuss and be interested in? Does the death of Jesus mean nothing to us?
I’m going to be bold and share something I’ve seen in my generation… oh, can I take a moment to note why I keep talking about my generation; we are the one’s who will be leading, serving and worshiping in churches in 50-60 years from now. I know from spending time with the older generation that the decisions they made, life they lived and opportunities they pursued as 20-something year old Christians molded them into who they are today. You know the people I’m talking about; the pensioners who pray 5-6 hours a day, the older men and women who use their retirement to invest into Kingdom work they were unable to do before, the people who mentor, adopt and love us ‘young ones’ and share their lives so freely with us and dare I say it, the ones who pretty much keep a church/mission running.
So yes, in my generation, our generation I’ve seen one major stronghold on us all. I believe it is the root cause for most of the sins we wrestle with… complacency. We are content to live a boring, mediocre, ‘say a wee prayer every once in a while’ type of life. We live life in such a way that people struggle to see how we’re different apart from the fact we maybe go to church on a Sunday. Our lives aren’t lived for the Glory of God but for the Glory of Self. We say no to God and yes to us. But if anyone asks if we are a Christian we say “Yes, I love Jesus.” Really? Do we really love Jesus?
There are so many gods fighting for our worship and for the most part, winning: technology, social media, career, status, sports, music, films, fashion, money, health, relationships, family. Like all things these can be used and channeled for the Glory of God but they can so easily become idols. They take the place of the One, True, Living God in our lives. We run to them for comfort, peace, rest, hope, love.
When we look at the cross we see the ultimate sacrifice for those whom God loves. Why then are we disobedient when God asks us to sacrifice something for Him? Why do we consider our time better spent watching sport, sitting on Facebook or being with friends instead of reading God’s word, seeking him in prayer and allowing Him to do a deep work in our hearts? Why, as I’m typing and you are reading this are we feeling defensive about how we spend our time or how we best connect with God?
The Answer: We need a fresh revelation of the Gospel, not just today but EVERYDAY!
Jesus says to us; “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
We’re not perfect but by God’s grace we can overcome, persevere and be molded into the likeness of Jesus.
It’s time to shake of complacency, it’s time to study God’s Word daily, it’s time to pray from your heart, it’s time to obey the call God has placed on your life. It may not be ‘Christian Ministry’ but your life as a Christian is a ministry so go be a light!!!!
I often ask myself this one question: “Am I living a life worthy of Christ’s death?”
Are you living a life worthy of Christ’s death?