“Followers of Jesus are not fearful people. Followers of Jesus are not angry people. Followers of Jesus are the least offendable people in the world because they are not of the world. When did so many followers of Jesus forget this, I wonder, and why?” —JRM
Back from ministry in Ireland—high time for another great quote.
Jesus prayed for all His future followers—us—that we may be “one” as He and His Father were one. What did He mean? What should we do? C.H. Spurgeon had an idea…
“Are you alive by the life of Christ? Does God dwell in you, and do you dwell in him? Then, my dear brother, give me your hand. Never mind about a thousand differences if you are in Christ and I am in Christ, we cannot be two—we must be one. Let us love each other with a pure heart fervently. Let us live on earth, as those who are to live together a long eternity in heaven. Let us help each other’s spiritual growth. Let us aid each other as far as possible in every holy, spiritual enterprise, which is for the promotion of the Kingdom of the Lord; and let us chase out of our hearts everything that would break the unity that God has established. Let us cast from us every false doctrine, every false thought of pride, of enmity, of envy, of bitterness, that we, whom God has made one, may be one before men, as well as before the eye of the heart-searching God. May the Lord bless us, dear friends—as a Church, make us one, and keep us so; for it will be the dead stuff among us that will make the divisions. It is the living children of God that make the unity; it is the living ones that are bound together. There will be no fear about that—Christ’s prayer takes care of us, that we shall be one…” —CHS
It’s not an ideal—it’s just what He asked His Father to do with us. No wonder He taught us to pray “Thy will be done”.
The world is in trouble, but fret not—the church isn’t. The pressure is on, but it’s been on before. The world even tried to kill Jesus, and look what happened…
“Nothing can extinguish it. To the end of time it shall be there and shall always manifest itself, and men must never lose heart because of that. All [mankind’s ideas and struggles to create his own utopia] are absolutely worthless—the society in which utopianism is the great pursuit is the one who is about to commit suicide. The great guarantee that human life is always worth creating, always worth bringing into this world, always worth living is that there is built into it an indestructible awareness that life belongs to eternity and not to time. [This] shines with an incredible brightness in the one place in the world where you would not, under any circumstances, expect to find it surviving. The Catacombs.” —Malcolm Muggeridge, Firing Line #433, with W.F. Buckley, Jr., Sept. 6, 1980, PBS
Jesus’ followers can be driven underground, but what are catacombs if not bomb-shelters, illuminated not by oil or electricity, but by the songs of the saints.
Shine wherever you are.
(Since the Author of Hebrews told Jesus’ followers to “provoke one another to love and good deeds”, here are some provocations I collected over the years that I hope to launch every day or two. Blessings and provocations upon you. —j)
Aristides watched Christians. He lived in the early 2nd century AD, and he saw believers who believed and who did—and it showed.
“They abstain from all impurity in the hope of the recompense that is to come in another world. As for their servants or handmaids or children, they persuade them to become Christians by the love they have for them; and when they become so, they call them without distinction, brothers. They do not worship strange gods; and they walk in all humility and kindness, and falsehood is not found among them; and they love one another. When they see the stranger they bring him to their homes and rejoice over him as over a true brother; for they do not call those who are after the flesh, but those who are in the Spirit and in God.
“And there is among them a man that is poor and needy and if they have not an abundance of necessities, they fast two or three days, that they may supply the needy with the necessary food.
“They observe scrupulously the commandment of their Messiah; they live honestly and soberly as the Lord their God commanded them. Every morning and all hours on account of the goodness of God toward them, they render praise and laud Him over their food and their drink; they render Him thanks…
“Such is the law of the Christians and such is their conduct.”
—From The Apology of Aristides, Syriac text and translation. Cited in Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 1 (Chicago Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc), page 346
This is what Christians looked like and did. It’s good to look back and remember, but some memories need resuscitation into a working reality. Lets hope the modern church hasn’t fallen too far from the tree…
Hello Facebook Christians,
People are reading your posts. So as you write, paste, tag and share—remember.
Remember that followers of Jesus are not fearful people. Followers of Jesus are not angry people. Followers of Jesus are the least offendable people in the world because they are not of the world.
Jesus said His followers were refreshing to others.
Christ is who we stand for.
Righteousness is the good we do for others.
Holy is what God made us.
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
This world is not our home.
Keep the faith.