Page 4 - 2017 JFBNews - October
P. 4

from Pastor Tim Dodson

              If  you  have  attended  this  church  for  any
        amount of time, you have heard the old CT Studd
        quote  that  has  become  a  mantra  for  us  and  our
        ministry pursuits. The quote goes “Some want to
        live within a church or chapel bell. I want to run a
        rescue shop within a yard of hell.”
              In today religious culture, few are willing to
        acknowledging the radical nature of Jesus and His
        ministry.  We  want  to  rather  pacify  and  calm  the
        locals out there. Let’s all ‘just be nice.’
              The  Merriam-Webster  dictionary  defines
        the  term  RADICAL  as  “marked  by  a  considerable
        departure from the usual or traditional. Tending or
        disposed  to  make  extreme  changes  in  existing
        views,  habits,  conditions,  or  institutions.”  That
        doesn’t sound so bad. In fact, it sounds logical and
        faithful  to  Christendom  as  a  whole.  But  still…
        “Radical Jesus?”
              For  many  of  us,  such  is  a  difficult  thing  to
        acknowledge.  We  want  to  be  liked.  We  “don’t
        want  no  trouble…”  So  we  “duck  and  cover.”  We
        “lay  low”  in  hopes  of  not  being  noticed.  Such  is  not  just  a  reflect  that  we  have  no  idea  the  extent  of  what  those  things
        personal individual  “drift” but rather one that has affected the  actually mean! Jesus, a radical! He violated almost all of
        whole of the wider church. An image of an extremist at the helm  the  religious  traditions  of  his  day.  He  touched  the  “unclean.”
        can be disturbing picture for a vast segment of the comfortable  Communed  and  communicated  with  the  un-wanted,  the
        social  club  atmosphere  that  has  become  the  modern  church  unacceptable, and He ministered to their needs. He argued with
        today.                                                 the  religious  leaders  of  His  day  condemning  them  for  their
              Yet  the  fact  remains,  if  we  actually  READ  the  gospel  hypocritical adherence to the law, and their legalistic view of a
        accounts  we  would  be  hard  pressed  to  dance  around  the  fact  meaningful  relationship  with  God.  His  intentions  were  not  to
        that Christ shook the very core of culture and rocked the status  form  a  new  religion,  but  rather  for  us  to  form  a  new  radical
        quo of society…even the religious society. If we are truthful and  relationship with the God of the religion we already claimed! Yet
        yes, bold enough to take that fearsome next step, we must admit  He was deemed a rebel and a no-good trouble-maker who simply
        that  if  Jesus  was  indeed  a  radical,  it  stands  to  reason  that  the  wanted to change things.
        religion in which He would advocate therefore would have to be     For sure, Jesus was always and purposefully transparent.
        a Radical Religion.                                    He was who He was, and He did not pretend to be something He
              Ooooo…the ‘other shoe drops.” The concept grates upon  was not; and He made no bones about it. He stood His ground,
        the fragile sensibilities of the modern “Christian” and the popular  and did not waiver to please the desires of others. He spoke the
        notion of a Messiah “meek and mild” as well. Jesus once asked  words  God  gave  Him,  and  He  was  sure  of  the  power  of  those
        His apostles the “ultimate question,” who do you say that I am?”   words. With Jesus, “What you see is what you get.” There was
        I would imagine it was received with very little fanfare when He  no  façade  of  religion  that  was  worn  as  a  cloak  that  could  be
        said  it.  But  the  answer  had  some  profound  ramifications,  both  taken off in the evenings when He got home from work.
        then  and  now.  For  the  answer  to  that  one  question  in  effect     Often I hear said, or at least implied, the idea of “I like to
        determines the eternity for each of us.                think  of  God  as__________.”  What  a  strange  thing  to  say!  It
                                                               doesn’t  matter  how  we  wish  to  think  of  God!  He  does  not
        So let pose the same question: Who do we say that He is?   conform to our ever-changing ideals and views. After all He is the
              In  a  world  of  lifestyle  diversity,  cultural  diversity,  and  same “yesterday, today, and forever!”
        ethical-diversity,  who  do  you  say  that  I  am?  In  a  world  of     Some say the main thing about God, is “love.” But actually,
        individualism,  commercialism,  and  a  long  list  of  “other-isms,”  the main thing about God is that He is HOLY! And he has asked
        who do you say that I am?  In a world of single parents, broken  therefore  that  we  be  holy  as  HE  is  holy.  Holiness  is  not  just  a
        homes and children giving birth to children, who do you say that  state of being, but an active involvement in righteousness. And
        I  am?      In  a  world  defined  by  product  recognition,  catchy  make no mistake, the destiny-determining reality is that we must
        slogans and designer jeans, who do you say that I am?   worship God in Spirit and in TRUTH” (John 4:23). When God does
              The  “raised-in-church”  in  us  would  no  doubt  quickly  not conform to our preferences, our preferences must give way
        answer,  “He  is  the  redeemer….the  Son  of  God…the  Messiah.”  to the precepts of the Word of God, which is the only real truth
        But  the  greater  church  world  we  live  in  today  would  certainly  there is!
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