Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Not Of This World

"If we discover a desire within us that nothing in this world can satisfy, also we should begin to wonder if perhaps we were created for another world." CS Lewis

“Paradise is our native country, and we in this world be as exiles and strangers”  Richard Greenham

"Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight...You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." John 18:36-37

So I started into another word study yesterday after doing my post on "tolerance".  I started thinking about how tolerance can be a little uncomfortable sometimes.  I think that is exactly for the quotes above.  Once we as Christians experience Jesus we have a totally different worldview.  In a way we do become strangers on this finite planet because we now live with an understanding of the infinite and eternal.  We have an understanding of absolute truth in a world where truth is always changing.  For this very reason how can we hold someone who has not had this experience accountable to our worldview?  We can bear witness and testify the truth, but not all will hear the voice of truth.  Jesus was OK with this, as should we be.  Remember not fighting, only making known.

The concept that we looked at yesterday is that of endurance.  To tolerate people that are different from us is sometimes a test of love and endurance.  We discussed how Jesus was extremely tolerant as he walked among us here on earth.  The almighty God in the flesh most holy and pure made it a point to interface with the most sinful and lost.  At no time condemning or judging{he saved that for the religious leaders that should have known better...why?...because their experience of God should have changed their worldview}.  To the lost and unclean Jesus always had compassion and ministered to them regardless whether they followed him or not.  The Greek word for minister is diakoneo meaning "to attend to anything that may serve anothers interests"

Now the other word I cam across in my reading yesterday is the word "suffer".  We often think of how Jesus suffered on the cross for us.  But have we ever thought of how he suffered during His ministry?  The first word I want to look at is the Greek word pascho which is a verb meaning "to suffer".  Take a look at the Strong's definition on the right.  All it really means is to be affected.  So in this sense Jesus did most certainly suffer during his ministry!  He was affected by everyone because he was pure and clean and we were unclean and stained.  So in a way He suffered in his righteousness to interface with our unrighteousness.  He came from the kingdom of God and light to the kingdom of the prince of this world{the devil} shrouded in darkness. The beauty of it is that He chose to do this.  Because of His great affection for us He chose to come to us and suffer our unrighteousness in the hope of releasing us from the bounds of this world into His righteousness.

Now who does this tie in with us?  What does it mean to share in the sufferings of Christ?  Well given what we have discussed in the last two posts I personally think part of our suffering is endurance in toleration.  This world is uncomfortable to us.  Why?  Because we are no longer citizens of this world.  We are citizens of the kingdom of God.  But we live in this world and have to endure those with a different worldview than us.  But in this "suffering"  the key is how we let it affect us.  Again we must look to Jesus and see how he let it affect him; keeping in mind His final act of affection on this earth was death on a cross for all mankind. 

 "But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd."  Matt 9:36

"And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:37

"Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt."  Matt 18:27

In our affections or sufferings we can either use them for good or for bad.  That is to say we can either use them to be a remedy or a part of the disease.  The Greek word above is where we get our English suffix -pathytake a look at the definition.

Antipathy is hostility or enmity, while sympathy is a sharing of feelings;compassion or pity.  These are our choices.  Do we tolerate our sufferings with those different than us with a heart of compassion or the indifference of hostility?  And don't say "I can't have compassion on someone or identify with someone so different than me".  Because Jesus in His divine holiness really had nothing in common with us either.  But He took on our cause out of love and out of the desire to see light overcome the darkness.  To see the strongholds of death and injustice destroyed.  So in that sense you have everything in common with everyone on this earth!  For once you were in darkness and now because of Jesus you are in the light.

"Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?' Matt 18:33

"He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness."  Heb 5:2

Ask God to change your heart if need be.  Ask him to show you His heart for the lost and hurting.  To see how it grieves the heart of God that so many have lost their way.  We must learn to be affected with compassion and not hostility.  People are making wrong choices because they are lost.  They don't have an understanding of the truth.  They don't have a correct worldview.  They have no concept of the Kingdom and what that means.  So we must tolerate where they are at in their own minds.  That doesn't mean to be condescending.  Jesus never did that.  He always met people where they were at.  He also accepted the fact that some rejected him and stayed where they were at.

Look guys this world is no more depraved than it was during the time of Jesus and the 1st century church.  We as Christians are not having to face anything in the way of cults, sexual immorality, bad politics, drugs/alcohol, crime, poverty etc that the early church wasn't facing in their society.  They counted it as their suffering to be living as a citizens of heaven in a world of despair.  They were happy to do it!  Let alone the actual physical death and suffering they faced by way of persecution.  But they never tried to dominate they always were there to serve as Jesus had served. This was sometimes actual interface with people and sometimes prayer and intercession for people.  I believe they sought out those who welcomed them and steered clear of those that didn't.  Always keeping their eyes on the call as a follower of Jesus to be a light, to live the truth, to endure, to minister, to be a friend, to feed, to clothe, to heal, to visit, to loose, to lend, to have compassion and to tolerate everyone. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...