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UNLIKE JESUS! One Area Where Jesus-Followers Excel! (Part 3)

We are focusing in this series of posts on our failure to truly follow Jesus in one specific area.  We read about that area in Matthew 11:

16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Jesus’ contemporary culture was acting like a bunch of children.  Both He and John the Baptist were being mocked for not dancing to their music.  Neither in joy nor sorrow did these two religious leaders measure up, conform to, what was appropriate and expected.

John the Baptist’s frugality was met with the charge that he was demon-possessed!  That’s an incredibly serious accusation for someone living an abnormal lifestyle.  John did not calibrate his life around his appetites.  And he was thought to be ruled by the devil!

But Jesus goes on and speaks about how He was criticized.  He says, “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.'”  Jesus’ indulgence seems to be the focus here.  He speaks of Himself as coming “eating and drinking.”  Jesus fully participated in His social surroundings.  He did not stand off to the side or on a holy hill condemning His contemporaries.  He joined them!

And that opened Him up to the double charge that He was a glutton and a drunkard!  Whereas the criticism of John the Baptist was about what he gave up, the criticism of Jesus was about what He enjoyed!  John’s lifestyle was extreme, counter-cultural.  Jesus’ lifestyle was normal, but exposed Him to the charge of excess. (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2017 in discipleship

 

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UNLIKE JESUS! One Area Where Jesus-Followers Excel! (Part 2)

Jesus followers fail to follow Him in many ways.  But one way that seems to receive little attention in Christian circles is brought out in Matthew 11:16-19.  There we read,

16 “To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others:

17 “‘We played the pipe for you,
    and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
    and you did not mourn.’

18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

In evaluating His contemporary culture, Jesus says they are a lot like children hanging out in the marketplaces engaged in mocking and ridicule.  They call out to their friends, “We played the pipe for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.”

They are critical of both John the Baptist and Jesus.  Both did not meet their expectations.  Neither was joyful or mournful when they thought appropriate.  Both the forerunner of the Messiah and the Messiah Himself didn’t dance to their music.

Jesus goes on to say, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.'”  John’s frugal lifestyle matched his in-your-face message of “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”  We read in Matthew 3: “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.”  John wasn’t into fashion or food.  He wore the least expensive clothing one could find — and ate whatever he could gather for himself.  He placed no priority on the expectations of others.  What did he get for his bizarre lifestyle?  He was accused of having a demon!  Wow!  He did not “fit in.”  He did not try to.  He was laser-focused on proclaiming the message of repentance and getting ready for the coming Messiah.  (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2017 in discipleship

 

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Time for a Great Tozer Quote: Christianity’s Surrender

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Posted by on October 12, 2016 in secularism

 

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Living for Jesus in an Un-Christian World (Part 1)

Friends:
Please remember me in prayer for my conference in Detroit, Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 9.03.37 AMNov. 6-8. The theme we have chosen is “Living for Jesus in an Un-Christian World.” We’ll be working our way through the little epistle of Jude.

In this series of posts I would like to touch on several of the issues we will be discussing during our weekend together.  I’m working on a booklet with the title of the conference that I hope can be done by the November weekend.

Introduction:

Before we look at the little letter from Jude to a group of Jesus-followers, let’s think about the issue of life in this world.  How is the Christian to conduct himself or herself in this God-forsaking, Bible-rejecting, Jesus-ignoring culture?

Although we could multiply such negative descriptors of our world, we must first acknowledge that there is much good in the universe that God has made, and we are commanded to enjoy His physical blessings with thanksgiving (I Tim. 6).  However, we find ourselves in a progressively unchristian or post-christian or even anti-Christian environment.   The Supreme Court decision on June 26, 2015, legitimated same-sex marriages, forbidding all states from banning such unions.

The 1973 Roe v. Wade SCOTUS decision, one which has cost the lives of an estimated fifty-five million children made in the image of God, rocked the Christian world — and we have been unable to do anything to have that ruling overturned.  The third most populous country in the world with 321 million people, the United States, one might argue, has systematically executed almost 1/6 of its citizens.

What are the believer’s options in living for Jesus in such an un-Christian world?  There appear to be only four possible choices that a Christian can make.  The first option is:

CONFORMITY:  The believer in Jesus can choose to not rock the boat, to Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 9.09.04 AMbecome exactly like the world around him, holding the same ethical values as his culture, and live a relatively conflict-free life in comfort.  The world will then see no discernible differences between believers and unbelievers, but will also have no reason to persecute those who claim to be Jesus-followers.  They will be seen as people who have nothing better to do on Sundays than attend half-empty churches, sing ancient songs to each other, and occasionally enjoy a pot-luck meal together.  The Christian can choose to conform.  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2015 in CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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