A Confessional Life

September 23, 2009 at 6:24 pm (Uncategorized)

Thought it was time for a Bible study blog post:

So, in prep for an upcoming sermon, I have been studying Jesus’ commissions to His disciples in Matthew.  And a realization startled me!  Let me warm you up a little, first.

Matthew 9 ends with Jesus telling His disciples to pray that the Lord of the Harvest would send out workers into His harvest field. (ie., that He would send people to be grace-giving, truth-telling missionaries to the world around them.)  Now, this is a dangerous prayer to pray!  Because when you pray this prayer, He might send YOU!

In fact, Matthew 10 starts with Jesus sending out His disciples out on one of the very first short-term mission trips. They kicked some demonic butt and healed various diseases.  Matthew 10 records the instructions He gave them.  In the middle of these instructions you find a pair of verses that my Christian Church/Church of Christ homies (myself included) love to quote out of context! Check out verses 32-33:

Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

Now, if you have been to one our churches, you will probably have heard this in the “what you must do to be saved” section of the service.  The preacher will quote it and then tell you that part of becoming a Christian is standing before a group of Christians and telling them you believe Jesus is Lord.

BUT, if you really grasp the context, this is about living a confessional life of acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus in the midst of the people He sends you to.  In other words, it has more to do with confessing and acknowledging Him in the midst of people don’t confess and acknowledge Him! Not in the presence of the AMENer’s who already know it.

I think this point back to a common and dangerous theme I see in the theology of many churches:  We have shifted everything to an inward focus.  We treat the love commands like they apply only to Christians or MAYBE those we think might have a shot at becoming one.  We see the serve passages as if they were talking only about helping in nursery, and not about helping the 5,000 people who lost everything they own in Atlanta.  Well, enough of my rant for the day.

Reactions, both positive and negative, are welcome!

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