Sunday, June 14, 2009

Do I offend you?

Bits and pieces from today (West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont, MI. Pastor Doug Crawford, and Derek Anderson).

*Jn 6:60-71*
This is the passage directly following the "Bread of life" discussion.

Apparently there is a statement out there that "Doctrine divides, but love unifies." This is slightly ridiculous, especially if you consider that "Jesus is the EPITOME of love."

Jesus does not say (to the disciples that have left him, and to those that remained- because of a "hard saying"/revelation of who Jesus is and what he actually was teaching) "Let's find peace somewhere because I love you;" rather, He asks the leftover disciples - here called "The 12," receiving that identity... - "will you also leave me, now that you know what I teach?"

Check out "If you abide / CONTINUE in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed."
Also consider those seed-on-rock believers, that had real joy... We all know of that one person (or more!) who was "saved" and experienced a real life change, and then somehow POOF just stopped coming to church, stopped attending Bible study, stopped showing up anywhere that fellowship could take place.
Part of that happening may well be from the not abiding, not continuing in the word! It is only by God's grace that any of us are continuing at all!

My Bible teacher back in the day when I went to high school stated once that it takes less than seven days of not being in the word for a person to be totally walking the wrong direction. :( Sad though it is, this is the truth. Hence the importance of not only reading "Christian books," but abiding in the words Christ is teaching, if one is truly a disciple.

Also, here are some "Distinguishing Marks" of that disciple:
-has FAITH in Jesus *needs works to be happening alongside, as the screen door on a submarine song states, "It just ain't happening..." See also James 2:19-20
-is following (progressive) Jesus. Note: not perfectly, but continuously. *facts are not equal to salvation
-persevering in faith until the end (Heb. 3:12-14)
-Take heed *lest unbelief!
-Exhort one another daily *lest... hardened through the deceitfulness of sin! (like my Bible teacher was saying... it doesn't take long! This is also referring to the essentialness of the Body. (Consider how you may spur one another...)

"Right doctrine is not only important in following Jesus, but it is essential"

...and tying nicely with all of the above was Derek's discussion on the gospel. He got us thinking about what the gospel is - besides being "the Good News." It was a very whirlwind journey-look at the "good news of what God has accomplished through the person and work of Jesus Christ," with various tidbits of Scripture for supportation. (which is not a word, but it is now!)
Thinking about things of the kingdom is very mind-boggling at times; take for example the few seconds a month our brain can handle considering eternity - less than that, sometimes!

So when you try to think about something as "Simple" - though we throw that word out there - as the Gospel, it can be quite painful (at least to us non-Calculus-comprehending types!) Take for instance, Jesus. He really is "more than a carpenter." He is the light of the world, the creator, the king, God-in-flesh, man-that-never-sinner, our priest, a teacher, and the fulfullment of multitudinous prophesies. He is also much more than that - he is our Meshiach, our redeemer, the one who can heal, the restorer of relationships, and the only one who can "truly" understand us from the inside out.

And that is only describing a very small big of the very large definition of this God-man who took our place...

you can also attempt to consider the work he accomplished while on earth -
his teachings, establishing the kingdom, living perfectly, miracles and signs, and kicking death in the butt.

So put the teachings of those two men of God together, and really, they relate quite a bit.

Who is this Jesus, that He would offend his own followers to the point of a "split?"
And why might his teachings offend those people enough for John to write, "His doctrine led many to abandon Him?"

We serve not only a "loving" God, but an exacting, precise, and jealous God. He does not want to "unify the world" in peace and harmony. That would be, well. terrible and contrary to His character. I want to say, with Paul, They glorified God in me! (see Galatians)... this can only happen when I am "continuing in His word!"
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