Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Jesus at Church

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go to church with Jesus? He seemed to be into comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, didn't He?

Amos 5:23-24
Away with your hymns of praise! They are only noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry.

A. W. Tozer once commented “if the Holy Spirit were removed from churches on Saturday, most would go on the next day as if nothing had changed.” Neil Cole has suggested that a lot of ministry in churches today is done for Jesus, but not by Jesus, and there is a big difference!

Are you sure you’d want Jesus to show up in your church?

John 2:14-16
Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; and he saw moneychangers behind their counters. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and oxen, scattered the moneychangers' coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, "Get these things out of here. Don't turn my Father's house into a marketplace!"

E. M. Bounds once said, “Men are looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.”

God’s work in our midst is to transform us on the inside, and that’s not an easy process to endure. We often want to ‘shoot the messenger’ when our life issues are revealed.

Luke 4:16-30
When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll containing the messages of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him, and he unrolled the scroll to the place where it says: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come. " He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down.

Everyone in the synagogue stared at him intently.

Then he said, "This Scripture has come true today before your very eyes!" All who were there spoke well of him and were amazed by the gracious words that fell from his lips.

"How can this be?" they asked. "Isn't this Joseph's son?"

Then he said, "Probably you will quote me that proverb, `Physician, heal yourself'--meaning, `Why don't you do miracles here in your hometown like those you did in Capernaum?' But the truth is, no prophet is accepted in his own hometown. "Certainly there were many widows in Israel who needed help in Elijah's time, when there was no rain for three and a half years and hunger stalked the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them. He was sent instead to a widow of Zarephath--a foreigner in the land of Sidon. Or think of the prophet Elisha, who healed Naaman, a Syrian, rather than the many lepers in Israel who needed help."

When they heard this, the people in the synagogue were furious. Jumping up, they mobbed him and took him to the edge of the hill on which the city was built. They intended to push him over the cliff, but he slipped away through the crowd and left them.

Might God want to shake us up when we get together as a church? Just a thought….

Micah 6:8
O people, the LORD has already told you what is good, and this is what he requires: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

Ezekiel 15:49
Sodom's sins were pride, laziness, and gluttony, while the poor and needy suffered outside her door.

Ever want to push Jesus off of a cliff? We often like following Jesus when it's easy, but what about when He asks us the harder questions?


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