Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Living in the Kingdom is not Impersonating Jesus

I don't know about you, but there used to be places I "felt" more Christian. There were places it was not safe to use a little Christian-ese; like work. I wondered why it was that I felt filled up at church, and drained out at work and in between at home.

I was once one of the believers that thought God pretty much lived at church; only stepping out to fix some heathens.

There is another group that does stuff in the name of Jesus too. They have decided that Jesus would do x, y or z, and they act on it. Some days I think that anyone that feeds the poor, or gets someone else to do it appears to be a Christian.Is that it, just be nice and feed poor folks?

Another group has decided that Christians must act like this or that, follow these rules while overlooking those ones. Then you have the grace and freedom group where you can do pretty much anything you want as long as you have faith.

How can they all be right?

So much time is spent in debate, acting religious, finding fault with the other side, that we now have a pile of denominations, movements and labels. The newest one the sort of irks me is, "Jesus follower."

How do you know you are following Jesus? Are you just because you say you are?

Did you know that you can't follow Jesus by faith? There were lots of folks that had faith in Him while He was feeding the 5,000 men and their families, while he was rebuking the Pharisees and raising stinky corpses from the dead. Even Thomas was there for the Lazarus event. Our faith needs to be in that which is not seen, some actions we derived from reading the Bible.

We become children of God, not by following a teaching, but by having faith in the finished work of Christ. We can try to impersonate Jesus, but that is not salvation. In fact if we are truly going to act like Jesus and follow in his footsteps, then most of us need to make some changes. For example: we need to spit in the dirt and use it to heal the sick, we need to command the power of God that is able to knock down bunch of temple guards, and we'll need to feed at least 5.000 hungry men and their families with a few fish and some bread, just to name a few. That is what impersonators would do.

We are not called to do the exact things that Jesus did. If we are going to be like him, we must know what the Father is doing, and do it. That's the key. It is doing what the Father is doing, not impersonating Jesus. And because the sheep know his voice, they can hear the instructions from On High.

I just know too many Christians that don't know how to hear from God and many have never even been taught. In a way it is sad. You have all these folks that probably would do exactly what the Lord says, and because it takes regeneration, and is not always a logical path, it does't happen like we think it is going to.

Jesus even told us that the Kingdom was not just talk. He didn't say that the Kingdom was love either. John said that God is love. We are supposed to be out there doing what that Father is doing. What is that?

Matthew 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

You don't need any credit - 

John 5:13 
The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.

The Kingdom of God is power, not talk.

Acts 28:8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him.

Jesus had many parables about the Kingdom of God, the very one that he said "was at hand."

How about you, are you really living in the Kingdom of God?


Charlie Chang said...

I like what Ravi Zacharias said once.

"We used to go to the temple. Now when we gather, we bring the temple with us."

Charlie Chang said...

I look at my life and say, "What have I done for God?"

And I don't know how to answer that.

We even put too much faith in the bible. Jesus said to the religious folks, "You guys diligently study the scriptures because you think they possess eternal life, but you're missing me!"

God is really racking my brain lately. As a Baptist, I grew up with the idea that as long as I read my bible, go to church and pray everything will be alright. Not saying those are bad things but if I put my faith in those things themselves, then I'm missing Jesus.

I don't want to miss Jesus. I want to be a blessing to someone without me knowing. It's better that I don't know, that way I won't get puffed up!

photogr said...

The better question would have been "Are we worthy enough to live in the Kingdom of God?" And the answer would be "not likely" in my case and that of many others, too.

Although some profess to be quite religious, their actions reflect otherwise.

There fore actions speak louder than words is a true gauge.

I guess I can be called a Christ follower because I rejoice in His words and use His words to guide me. Is that wrong?

I also use the bible verses to mold my life but I fail miserably some times in adhering to those words so dear to me. Does that make me a hypocrite? Probably so but I am not alone.

The only saving grace is that I feel God does forgive us of our missgivings and will guide us if we only listen for His voice.

Tonjia said...

The subject matter is certainly intriguing.

A few thoughts.

Jesus said that many decievers and false prophets would come in his name working great signs and wonders. They will call upon the name of Jesus and proclaim that they have done all these wonders in his name.

And he will say "I don't know you."

When Jesus fed the 5000, he chastised them for following after miracles, when the real bread, the real food, was TO DO THE WILL of God.John 6:26,27. In fact, they protested, saying even Moses did miracles, and we believed him. And Jesus responded: Those miracles were not of God. I am of God. Believe in me. Those who ate from the bread of Moses are DEAD. Eat my bread (doctrine) and LIVE.

It is not the working of miracles that Jesus called us to. He did these to get the attention of historians, and to show us the power of God to change the circumstances of men.

He called us to love one another and defined that love. It loves its enemies as it loves it friends. It is merciful and never sacrifices, or kills. It has compassion on its enemies, feeds the hungry, clothes the naked, and visits the prisoners.

He called us to become ONE nature, as he is one nature, and the father is One nature. They do not have a dualistic nature, which is hypocrisy. They have one nature, which nature is love and only love.

They judge not. They kill not. They hate not. They are forgiveness, mercy, life, and love. They compare their followers to sheep, who are harmless, and kill not.

Hearing from god constitutes believing the words which Jesus spoke, for they are spirit and they are life.

Tracy said...

You make some interesting points.

As to your question of if I'm really living in the Kingdom of God my answer would have to be - yes, by His grace. I blow it all the time. Sometimes, without even realizing it at the time, I've doen some of these very things you describe here. But God in His grace and mercy has reached out to me and shown me when I'm wrong so that I can change course and come back to Him and His ways. He saved me by His grace, mercy, and love and He's completing His work of sanctification in me by the same. He's teaching me how to live in His Kingdom, changing my character from the inside out, one day at a time.

Arny said...

John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Who would deny that it takes "This" Kind of POWER to love an enemey...(which by the way, in my opinion, friends and enemies are 1 in the same...we just change their title by the way they treat us)

Why are we so afraid to Pray with undoubting faith to raise someone from the dead. Or pray for someone who has cancer and actually pray for a miracle healing instead of just praying for strength to "make it through"

Jesus expected us to have power in the holy spirit in every aspect of our conversations, prayer, love, peace, family, school, name it.

David...I love what you said about it takes more that faith to follow Christ....didn't some want follow him but they couldn't leave a certain part of their life to follow and jesus says...go let the dead bury their own dead...if anyone does not love me more than mother, or father, wife, not worthy of me and can not follow me....deny yourself , take up you cross and follow's a hard thing to follow Jesus....which I know he thought it would....thats why he left us with antoher helper...the Holy Spirit....
Great Blog!!!!

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