Contend Earnestly: Hairy Legs and the Kingdom of God

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Hairy Legs and the Kingdom of God

I was at an event this past weekend called, Jesus in the Quran, and was caught off guard when I heard one verse read from the gospel of Luke. I actually looked it up to make sure he wasn't making it up. Check this out:

The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.
Luke 16:16

This is Jesus speaking here, and he is speaking to the Pharisees. Think about this...the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it. This is quite amazing. This idea of "forces" is also seen as someone pushing themselves into the kingdom in a forceful they can't wait to enter because of what they have heard preached. Now, I am not denying God's sovereign rule here, so don't read that. But, the question has to come, "Why aren't people around you (me) forcing their way into the kingdom?"

Some will say that is because they are like Jeremiah, who brought the oracles of God and it was just God's will for him to be "unsuccesful" in the eyes of the world. But what if it isn't? What if what we are preaching is causing people to be turned off to the gospel? What if we have created our own Gospel, that isn't good news at all? Think of this. Just after this Jesus brings up that not one jot of the law will be destroyed, yet people will force their way into the kingdom. Meaning, the only way the Pharisees were going to keep people out of the kingdom is if they ADD to the law and the prophets, which they did plenty of.

I remember when I was in middle school, or somewhere around there, and I learned that some women around the world didn't shave their legs or arm pits. I was honestly disgusted. I couldn't believe it. How could women not understand that in order to be beautiful, they needed to shave? Not only that, but the dudes didn't mind if their women had hair all over their bodies...seriously?

Throughout my life, the more I learn about other cultures, the more I learn what is truly Western, or cultural, and what is actual truth. As I read something like this in Luke's gospel, I wonder if people aren't pushing, or forcing their way into the kingdom of God because we aren't making Jesus look as glorious as he should be? What if we have created such a Western, consumeristic Jesus that he looks disgusting instead? What if it is more about accepting a certian cultural standard than what the gospels actually speak about?

Not only that, but what if what we preach, we don't live? So, not only do we preach a Western Jesus, but we aren't even willing to follow that Western Jesus? How much of the gospel do we need to bastardize before we wake up and see the lives we are ruining?

Jesus said this:

My yoke is easy, my burden is light.

Seems like we are creating some sort of quasi secret club, where you need to climb the levels of understanding and culture to be redeemed.

What is amazing about this, is that the gospel is so simple that the theif on the cross merely believed and was said that he would see Jesus in paradise.

We have lost our first love...belief in Jesus and his power. Not only that, but we refuse to live like he calls us to. We don't love our neighbors, we don't love, pray for or bless our enemies, we aren't peacemakers, we aren't humble, etc. etc. etc.

Return to the gospel and look to see where you have Westernized the good news and get rid of that as a requirement to enter the kingdom. If it is your conviction, that is fine, but don't put your conviction onto others, or they might never force their way into the kingdom.


hiram said...

Amen! The Gospel is stupendously simple. We, being the sinners we are, don't like that though. We try to add condition after condition to God's free and amazing grace, when the Lord says:

Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

I enjoyed this :)

Josh in Chillicothe said...

Seth, I have thought a lot about some of these things over the last few years. I agree much with what your saying. What I have come up with is this and I am not sure how to actually live it out..

1. Christianity by default is known as an ethical religion.

2. Christians speak and talk in a way that assumes/reflects that we have arrived

3. The World sees our human nature our fallibility our sinfulness.

4. We do not embrace the fact that we do sin, are going to sin, are sinners and try to hide the fact

5. The only ones fooled are us.

In short, we talk about an impossible standard and act like we are able to keep it, while our friends and family look on and think we are deluded.

I think I need to preach grace and forgiveness and drop pointing out to others why they need the gospel. They actually already know they need it, they just do not see any reason (thanks to us) to embrace it.

Dr. Sam said...

I liked your article on hairy legs! Found it funny. I agree that the Gospel is so simple that the thief on the cross could just simply be accepted on his faith. He already knew he was a sinner (obvious).

If it is Okay with you I would like to leave a link to an article that might interest you and your readers about how the ministry is full of narcissists. I was a pastor/church planter for 25 years before moving on and retooling myself in secular fields as a new calling on my life.

Hope you enjoy it:

God bless,

Dr. Sam
Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

Anthony Bell said...

Let me first say that I love the picture! haha, simply amazing.

I completely agree with this, and I praise God that He is opening up His children's eyes and pouring out wisdom and revelation.

I love the scripture in Romans 2:4 - "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance."

His gospel is so beautiful that His glory and goodness should be the leading factor to lead people into a lifestyle of repentance. God's in such a good mood.

Many people are beginning to see the reality of the Kingdom of God vs. the Western Church. We're in just the beginning of this paradigm shift.

I also liked how you talked about returning to our first love and said, "belief in Jesus and His power." Look at this in 1 Corinthians 2:5 - "that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." He seriously can do anything.

My advice to you, is now that God has given you this revelation, you've got to do something with it! haha. Tell the body. Pray and Decree it around your life and your sphere of influence!

I believe God is using you. Keep writing and be encouraged, and speak life & love.

a brother you didn't know you had,
Anthony Bell
James Madison University

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