Christians Can’t Be Passive

Jesus said, “”From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12)

The Passion Translation reads, “From the moment John stepped onto the scene until now, the realm of heaven’s kingdom is bursting forth, and passionate people have taken hold of its power.”

The original language reads, “The kingdom of heaven is entered into by force, and violent ones take hold of it.”

The message of this verse and others like it in the New Testament indicates that you cannot be passive and a believer. You Can’t get saved and then simply sit. You were not saved to sit. You were saved to serve. You cannot be laid back and letting life just happen to you and still call yourself a believer.

A true disciple of Jesus, a believer, will be aggressive. They will be passionate about Jesus and the cause of Christ. Their love for God will grow and overflow onto those who do not yet know the love of God. They will not be passive about sharing God’s love. They will be seriously intentional. 

In their own personal lives they will have a deep hunger to know and to grow. The major constant in their life, other than Jesus, will be change. And, this hunger to know and to grow will not settle for anything less than becoming more and more like Jesus and more alive and active for Him in their relationships. 

Again, this hunger, this passion to learn and grow,  will cause them to look for leaders who will disciple and mentor them. They will be constantly reading, applying what they are learning, and assimilating the lessons and insights into who they are and how they live. 

If you want to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit that you receive when you are Baptized in the Holy Spirit, you can’t be passive. You need to be passionate, aggressive, on fire, and even “violent” in the Bible sense of that word. The power is only released by those who are aggressive and passionate. The apathetic and passive need not apply. 

I have personally found that most people who ask me to mentor them are approaching the mentoring relationship passively. They are not taking the lead. They are expecting me to contact and connect with them. They do not come to a coffee appointment or an on-line connection loaded with questions that they need insight into. They apparently see the time as more a fellowship occasion than an opportunity to learn, to grow and to mature. So, they are passive. And boring!

In one particular case I am facing the person does not initiate the mentoring appointments. Coffee yes, mentoring no! This person does not read on a regular basis. It takes forever to get through a simple and relatively short book. And then the discussion is painful with me asking all the questions. Where, in a mentoring relationship they should come with all the questions ready to be asked. We work through life issues after I bring them up because they are so obvious. But, there is no follow through. So, a year or two later we are facing the same life situations again. And again and again. Although I have not asked I can almost guarantee that this person is not reading the daily blogs I post. Nor are they reviewing the teaching that come out every week. But, time for a coffee. Certainly. Passive, not assertive and aggressive.

Passive people are not moving forward in their personal lives. Nor are they grabbing hold of the Kingdom. And, they have absolutely not “taken hold of its power.” So, I am hoping that one day I will meet a passionate disciple who really does want to reach his or her full potential in the Kingdom and who actually wants to be be mentored. A person who is “violent.”

Embrace Change

We are looking at things that need to change if we hope to be a dangerous church. We saw that we need:

1> To see things through the eyes of the unchurched and de-churched

2> Let guests and visitors be anonymous

Today – Let’s look at the need to EMBRACE CHANGE

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Let Guests be Anonymous

We are looking at things that need to change in some churches so that we can better be about the Father’s business of seeking and saving the lost. Last time we look at the need to see things through the eyes of the unchurched or de-churched…Today, let’s look at how we make visitors or our guests feel – when and if we have someone new attend our service.

When people go to watch a movie, many people like to sit in the back row, just like the many people who enter our churches wanting to test the waters. They appreciate and value anonymity. Unfortunately, in many ways, our good-intentioned desire to recognize and honor visitors in our services often has the opposite effect. Imagine if you can what it feels like to darken the doors of a church for the first time. Most visitors want to be warmly welcomed, accepted as they are, and allowed to journey at their own pace. Are we letting them do that?

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Your Religion is Showing

As we examine the life of Jesus (a good thing to do but first take off your religious glasses), we see that He was amazingly brilliant at cultivating relationships with people who didn’t fit in with the established religion or had been rejected by the religious leaders. Jesus at times even went out of His way to disrupt the established religious practices in an attempt to help people grasp the passionate core of His mission: reaching lost people.Establishing another religion was the last thing Jesus wanted to do. His real goal was to make disciples, devoted followers who would carry forward His mission with the same passion and commitment to reaching people who were far from God.

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Stop Playing God

The fourth step towards showing the love of God to our unsaved friends and neighbors and thus becoming dangerous disciples … STOP PLAYING GOD

Hypocrisy in our lives (see the last blog), hiding who we really are to cover our sin, always leads to judging. When we judge others, we play God and excuse our own sin by focusing on the sins of others. While there is a need for wise discernment and loving confrontation of sinful behavior, this is different from being judgmental. I once wrote in the margins of my Bible (I’m not sure where I heard it), “There is a world of difference between making judgment and being judgmental.” The problem is not that we make judgments but that we make judgments to excuse our own sinful behaviors.

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Stop Being a Hypocrite

The third step to change so that people will be attracted to us, to the Church and, of course, to Jesus. The third step to becoming different and dangerous…  STOP BEING A HYPOCRITE

A pastor writes: It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was in the parking lot of a downtown Portland mall… We were in a bit of a rush, as I had just realized that I was going to be late for the start of our weekend services. That weekend, I was preaching a message about God’s love. As we were rushing to enter the mall, we passed a young teenage girl. She was obviously homeless (Oregon is in the top 10 percent of the nation for homelessness), and as we walked by, she looked up at me and asked, “Sir, do you have any spare change for the bus?” Without hesitating, I mumbled a quick no and kept moving. But as I pushed open the glass doors, I clearly heard God speak these words into my heart: “You are a hypocrite.”

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Remember Jesus

Last time we saw that we, the Church, need to change. The first change desperately needed is for each of us – and thus the Church -to simplify.

The second change we need to incorporate into our lives as disciples of Jesus if we want to be dangerous Christians is to REMEMBER JESUS

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Start Simplifying

If we are going to solve the problem – yesterday we saw that the problem was “us” and the way we live as believers – we need to do a number of things.

  1. Start Simplifying
  2. Remember Jesus
  3. Stop being a hypocrite
  4. Stop playing God

Let’s do one each day …

START SIMPLIFYING

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Jesus Isn’t the Problem – We Are

OVER THE YEARS, I’ve discovered that most of the people I have led to Christ never had a problem with Jesus. In fact, many of them shared that even before they became a Christ follower, they felt some level of affection for him. Jesus consistently remains popular with people outside the church, and they tend to express their affection for him in a variety of ways.

One of the most requested tattoos people ask for is “Jesus,” and the cross has become the most famous symbol in all of history, worn by all sorts of different people. Seventy percent of ultimate fighting champions claim to be followers of Jesus Christ and proceed to thank him after they pummel their opponents unconscious. Jesus has been on the cover of Time magazine twenty-two times, and he has even made an appearance on The Simpsons. Roughly a hundred films have been made about him, and he is mentioned on more websites than any other person. He has appeared in more songs, paintings, and books than anyone else who has ever lived. His birth is the most remembered and celebrated in history, and every day he is mentioned by name more often than any other individual.

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Risk Everything for God

Becoming a dangerous church requires a willingness to risk everything for God: our plans, our reputation, and our resources. God is all about seeking and saving the lost, and if our churches are not about that too, then we are not doing His work; we are doing our own.

The key to reaching lost people is to understand the most essential aspect of effective outreach: it all begins with grace. Dangerous churches are all about God’s grace changing lives, one person at a time. Always remember, the only reason why people ever come to know Jesus Christ is because of God’s grace. So, we must show them His grace and, like Jesus, be full of grace (John 1:14). Truth is good and must be coupled with grace but grace is what draws people to the truth -grace is what draws people to jesus who is the Truth. So, we need to be a church of grace.

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