Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Continuing the Obedience Discussion

One discussion has been very interesting, and unless you read the responses people give, you may be missing this one, so I'm catching you up to is my latest response to this discussion:

And still, Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey my commands." Why?

Paul said in Romans 1:5:

"Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith."

Faith brings obedience; love brings obedience.I'm not saying that obedience brings faith or obedience brings love. Faith and love are the relational motive - obedience is the outpouring of the two.

"If you love me, obey me" - Jesus
"Obedience is the result of faith" - Paul

You can see why I am still of the mind that obedience is our calling. Jesus even said of His relationship to the Father in John 14:31:

"...but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me."

He loves the Father, so He obeys the Father.

Peter, when addressing God's elect, said in 1 Peter 1:1-2:

"To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:"

We were chosen by God, and sanctified by The Spirit for obedience to Christ.

No, Jesus is not ticked when we don't get it all right. That is not my point. But He has called us to obedience by His Spirit's power, through faith, because of our love for Him. It is the way He has given to show our love.

Are you ticked when your kids don't show you love? When your children disobey you, isn't it more of a sense of hurt and sadness that you feel? Deliberate and obstinate disobedience may make you a little angry, but when you know that kids have to learn obedience, you discipline them because you love them, not because you are ticked at them.

Look at Hebrews 12:6-7, then:

"...because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?"

It is a relational comparison (and a human one) that God's word uses to describe the relationship He has with us. He disciplines, we endure - two-way street. He died and rose again for us, we obey Him - two-way street.

Otherwise, it is like Jesus said when He died for us, "I love you," and we just have to say, "Thank you." Try that with your spouse some time.

Obedience, by Jesus' own words, says more than just "Thank you;" it says, "I love you, too, Jesus."

It is the difference between giving Him my life, or just inviting Him into my life; between dying to myself, or just letting Him die for me; between claiming to believe, and living out our belief.

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love."
- 2 John 1:6

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reaching the Lost vs. Trying to Grow

Churches are trying this new thing they are calling "Ancient Future Worship", or some similar name. The three stated standards or values of the Ancient-Future movement are:

1. A return to the ancient roots of the first centuries of the church.
2. Connection of the church body to each other
3. Authenticity in a changing world.

It sounds good to start, but as you get into the decided ramifications of these values, you find that there is a great potential to bend on the hard truths that divide denominations. Potentially, this church would just not deal with these issues any longer. Does that matter? Should we be ecumenical, no matter the compromise? If someone claims to be a Christian, do we just jump in with them and allow their interpretation to coexist with ours, no matter the differences?

If you are a reader, look up Robert E. Webber on He has a series of books on this concept, and actually coined the phrase "Ancient Future". The has posted their concerns about the movement, along with the entire "emergent church" movement. Between the two of these resources, along with committed prayer, you will gain insight into the validity of this theology and make wise decisions for yourself and your family.