The Discomfort of the Cross

In churches today we water down what it will cost a person should they decide to become a follower of Jesus Christ. We have this radical inclusivity concept where we will do anything to get people involved and to become a part of the family of God and build the numbers in the local church. We simply don’t want anyone to miss out and walk away from Jesus Christ.

So, because of the possible discomfort of the cross we are to take up daily we clip the claws of the Lion of Judah a little bit, we clean up the bloody Passion we are called to follow and woe people into a false sense of security and assurance. They can have all the benefits without any of the responsibilities and obligations.

Jesus is talking to His disciples – that included you and me – about who can get into the Kingdom of God and comments that rich people will find it hard. The disciples react because, after all, they need some rich followers to support the ministry and give the cash necessary to keep the ministry functioning. Therefore, let’s not make it too hard as we might scare them away and lose them permanently. The disciples cry out, “Who then can be saved?” In other words, “why must you make it so hard as we are trying to build a movement here Jesus?”

Jesus does not exclude rich people, He just lets them know that rebirth costs them and everyone else everything. The story is not so much about whether rich folks are welcome as it is about the nature of the Kingdom of God, which has an ethic and economy diametrically opposed to those of the world. Rather than accumulating stuff for oneself, followers of Jesus abandon everything, trusting in God for providence.

The temptation we face today in the Church is to be radically inclusive and I am all for embracing people regardless of their sin and their lifestyle. However, the temptation we face in our tolerant societies is to compromise the cost of discipleship, and in the process, the Christian identity can get lost. We don’t want folks to walk away – we sincerely long for others to come to know the Father’s love and grace and be saved. But, not at the cost of true discipleship.

It is interesting that one of the stories of the early church in Acts is the bizarre tale of a couple named Ananias and Sapphira, who withheld a portion of their possessions for the common offering and then lie about it. Peter confronts them and God strikes them dead. Not tolerant and not very inclusive. Definitely not “cheap grace.”

Maybe it is time to rethink the way we live?

2 replies
  1. Karen
    Karen says:

    I cringe every time I see a “Repeat after me prayer” situation going on.

    In church, out of the church, anywhere.

    No repentance from the person, no turning from their wicked ways to ‘follow’ & ‘obey’ Jesus.

    Just the repeating of words that someone is leading them through about belief and Jesus coming into their heart and yada, yada, yada, and “bamm” the congregation breaks into praise? What is with that?

    We then selfishly assume they are ‘saved’ and we stop praying for them for salvation, stop telling them the truth and help to lead them into a false sense of security in Christ.

    They then ‘park’ on their belief that they are OK and that nothing else is required of them.

    And come the judgment, we are responsible (with them) for the terror they experience as they slide into hell.

    No second chance.
    No “wait, I changed my mind.”
    Just hell.
    FOR ETERNITY!

    And for that; we water down the gospel, sugar coat it and push it onto others without any thing required from them.

    Who are we doing that for?
    Them?
    or US?
    Just wondering . . . .

    Reply
  2. Ralph
    Ralph says:

    This week I sat through a senior minister in Russia praying for a couple for healing. I was just a spectator. He told them that they needed to be born again to be healed (utter nonsense) and then led them in a sinner’s prayer commenting afterwards that now that they were born again and children of God that God would heal them. No Gospel presentation, no conviction, no godly sorrow, no repentance, NO SALVATION but they think they are okay because a senior pastor / bishop told them so and led them in a prayer. I am sickened by the state of the churchworldwide – not just in my own nation but here in Russia as well. We are in trouble and it is time for Jesus to build His Church His way.

    Reply

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