Friday, September 24, 2010

Our picket fence dream part 2

Last week we talked about how Jesus stayed with the disciples 40 days, giving many convincing proofs that He was alive. Jesus was intent on his disciples being convinced eye-witnesses of his resurrection. This was the foundational truth on which the church was built – and it had two outworkings – it caused them to look back with confidence at the cross – Jesus really was their Savior. He really did pay the debt they could not pay. It really was finished. They really could stop trying to obey the Mosaic law which had been fulfilled. He really had been forsaken by His Father so that they could find Him. Like the Israelites in Egypt, the cross had dealt with their two problems - slavery and death. They were no longer slaves to sin, and no longer had the death penalty of God’s wrath hanging over them.

The Israelites smeared blood on the doorposts , the disciples drank wine and broke bread in remembrance of, and participation in the death of Jesus. We still do that today. This past week I witnessed two men settle a dispute like real men.
Not with fists, empty threats or broken bones, but with an empty cup and a broken loaf of bread. It was absolutely glorious.

Secondly, the fact that Jesus was alive meant that the disciples called Him not only savior, but Lord - a King, a Leader and a Bridegroom – who demanded their allegiance, challenged their idols, required their followership, and called for their their devotion. To profess "Jesus is Lord," was in effect high treason for the disciples, because Caesar demanded political and religious allegiance. In fact, a common Roman greeting was, "Caesar is Lord." To say that, "Jesus is Lord" was in effect to say,"Caesar is not Lord."

Today we have a weak understanding of Jesus' Lordship. We ask new believers, “Will you accept Jesus as Savior and Lord?" like he is some insecure freshman cowering in the corner of the cafeteria and you give him a seat at you table. Like we are hoping they will do Jesus a favor by accepting Him.

A recent Princeton survey (although I would have believed it more if it had come from Cal State Fullerton) on young evangelicals who professed to be Christians concluded that most were fake, possessing very little understanding of the gospel,the exclusive claims of Christ, or the call to discipleship - and termed them MTD’s. Moralist Therapeutic Deists. In other words young people thought that being a Christian meant you were moral, and had had some experience with Jesus – "Accept Jesus and he will make you a bit nicer, and a bit happier." I am sorry if we have sold you that story. It’s just not true. It‘s, “Jesus, thank you that You have accepted me, and because of your mercy I turn my life over to you, as King, leader, and Bridegroom.”

We looked at how today, professing Jesus as Lord gives him permission to rearrange our picket fence dream. That we reinstate Him as our ultimate desire, so that good things which have become ultimate, get placed in proper perspective. This is part of what it means to live distinctively and radically in Pleasantville.


  1. Alan,

    Do you believe it's possible to live a radical life for Jesus in "Pleasantville" and if so, could you give me an example of someone you think is doing so?

  2. I do, and I can think of a number of people, Christina. If I gave you an example here, it may be unfair, but next time I see you I will point you towards some of them.

  3. Thanks Alan, this is like looking at your sermon notes. Our lifegroup has discovered that we too need to life out a more radical existence, especially with a fresh revelation that Jesus is Lord.

  4. @Matt, great to hear.Are you back from Seattle?
    @Christina -we will cat soon.