Explain Yourself

Over the last few weeks I’ve been wrestling with the words Jesus preached in Matthew 5:13-16. He tells us that, by being his disciples, we are the “salt” and “light” to the world. We are to bring flavor and reflect God’s light in the dark and tasteless places of our world.

What has been striking me the most is when Christ tells us to “let our light shine so that others may see our good works and give glory to our Father who is in heaven.” John Stott claims that the mandate from Christ is to live as a counter-culture… a Kingdom-culture.

This teaching of Jesus proclaims that we are to live in such a way that demands an explanation- a gospel explanation.

So how do we live in such a way?

Here are a things that have been helping me live with Kingdom-counter-culture mindset:

  • Love Jesus. Sounds simple, but can often be over looked. If we are a people that love Jesus and pursue gospel implications in ever area of life it will change our hearts and behavior. (Romans 2:4)
  • Live in gospel community. We’re intended to live together as family. Baring each other’s burdens and providing of each other’s needs will demand an explanation (Acts 2). Working together with our own unique, Spirit given gifts will demand an explanation. Loving, caring, and serving each other will demand an explanation. (Romans 12)
  • Go out of your way to bless others. God has blessed us by eternally saving us, but with present implications. God blesses us so that we may be a blessing to others. (Genesis 12)
  • Understanding that Jesus is in control. Know that God is sovereign in his placement of you in time and place (Acts 17), he has blessed you, made you a blessing, and is working his mission through you. (Philippians 2)
  • Understand that you’re called to freedom in Christ. Christ has set you free from cultural idols – individualism, moralism, consumerism, materialism, humanism. You are set free from being slaves to sin so that you may live gospel-centered, missional-focused lives. (Galatians 5)
  • Live through the Grace of God. What difference would it make if you truely believed that there is nothing you can do, good or bad, that could separate you from God? (Romans 8 )

In order to live a life that demands an explanation we must center our lives around the gospel itself.

Imagine what it would look like to have Living Rooms filled with followers of Christ living in such a way that demands a gospel explanation. What impact would it make in Tempe?

Nick

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One response to “Explain Yourself

  1. Seeker

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Having been a Christian for a couple years now, I find myself struggling with what it mean to be “in” the world but not “of” the world.

    The principles you laid out regarding living with a Kingdom-counter-culture mindset are not inclusive of all principles we can see in the Bible but are really a challenging, thought provoking call to realizing the gospel in very tangible ways. For me, the one that challenges me the most is, “Understanding that Jesus is in control.” Though I can verbally declare this to be true. Living in the reality that God has a plan for my life and that I am not in control are two barriers for me in truly embodying this principle.

    However, in order to live out the principles of a kingdom mindset it is imperative to ask ourselves- what really is the kingdom? This is something that I have wrestled with for a couple years now. Jesus says to seek first the kingdom but how could I seek something or live out the principles of something if I am unsure what it actually is.

    As I have been thinking through this, the writings of Leonardo Boff greatly encouraged me in my pursuit of understanding the kingdom. One quote that stuck with me is:

    Initially, Jesus preached neither himself nor the church, but the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is the realization of a fundamental utopia of the human heart, the total transfiguration of this world, free from all that alienated human beings, free from pain, sin, divisions, and death. He came and announced: “The time has come the kingdom of God is close at hand!” He not only promised this new reality but already began to realize it, showing that it is possible in the world.

    Christ is aware of the fact that the end of the old world has begun within him. He already belongs to the kingdom. Christ never fed the nationalism of the Jews; he never said a word about rebellion against the Romans, not did he ever allude to the restoration of the Davidic king. Christ overcame temptation to political messianism. He came to heal all reality in all its dimensions, comsic, human, social.

    In a word, it could be said that the kingdom of God means a total, global, structural revolution of the old order, brought about by God and only by God.

    According to this new vision, the Christian does not belong to any family, but to the family of the whole world… They are in the world, work in it, help in its construction and also its direction. Nevertheless, they do not place their ultimate hopes in it. People who have dreamt of a kingdom of heaven as Jesus did, are no longer content with the world as they find it.

    Jesus affected human beings at their very roots, activating their hope-principle and making them dream of the kingdom, which is not an entirely different world but this world completely new and renewed. (Boff)

    Am I/is my LR activating the hope-principle of Tempe? Are we preaching something else than the kingdom of God? Are we content with Tempe as we see it or are we part of Jesus’ healing all reality? Are we using the principles mentioned in the blog to be part of the transfiguration of Tempe? What would happen if I/we dreamt of a kingdom of heaven as Jesus did and are no longer content with the world as I/we find it?

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