Thursday, May 29, 2014

Revisiting Scripture 5

I find it constantly amazing (and a little amusing), that so much of what I thought I knew by way of interpreting scripture has been wrong! (Ouch!)

Often, my understanding of a particular passage has proven to be the exact opposite of that which culture or tradition has led me to believe!

Perhaps not so surprising I suppose; when you consider that we are talking about ‘an upside down kingdom’!

Let me give you an example. In Matthew 28:19-20, we read:

19 Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. 

My understanding of this passage went something like this:

‘Go (mostly to church and bring someone with you) … get them saved … (then) disciple them … (then) teach them … (leave this bit to the pastor) baptise them etc’.

This was the church’s (Great) Commission and somehow the emphasis seemed always to be on ‘getting them saved’. Now some of you may see nothing wrong in this interpretation; but consider the following by contrast.

Go into all the world … and make (friends who become) disciples (i.e. give them something to follow) …teaching them (as your relationship grows they will learn from your example) … baptising them (they will encounter the Holy Spirit, who at the appointed time will convict and draw unto salvation etc).

This emphasis on making friends in the world i.e. where-ever you find yourself throughout your everyday life is not difficult. No need to go to college for years to learn how to become a missionary, or to raise large sums of money for the mission field etc. Simply be led of the Spirit DAILY.

(Please note I’m not decrying the need for training etc. or making light of the great work done by many fulltime Missionaries. I simply make the point that ALL of us are called to be missionaries. We cannot therefore abandon this call to the relatively few who give up so much to follow this command).

Also note here; when we make friends based on an authentic desire to relate to them and NOT to get them saved, we base our relationship on integrity. If however we have an ulterior motive for befriending them (getting them saved) our integrity abandons us (oops). Even in the Kingdom the end DOES NOT justify the means!

Consider also, the ‘disciples’ of Jesus who followed him for 3 years while he walked the earth. At one point he told his disciples that he considered them friends! But when was it that they were saved? Before they became disciples … or much later?

Why is it then that we consider we have to get them saved FIRST … and only then do they become disciples? I now consider that this erroneous thinking has led to a great many people simply giving intellectual assent to a salvation challenge, but NOT actually becoming saved!

Surely it is more appropriate (read authentic) for someone to increasingly desire to be changed (saved) because of an ongoing and transforming relationship both with an earthly friend and the supernatural One they are both following!

Imagine if we all did this! Imagine the amazing journey that we would experience as we invited the Holy Spirit into our everyday relationships and DARED to become radical in our obedience to his leading!

Certainly worth considering don’t you think?

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