Seconding Linda Bunting’s Address to the Body of Christ
(Linda’s ADDRESS TO THE BODY OF CHRIST, which I just posted to the blog and elsewhere, really stirred me. As you will see below, it was a good stirring. She beat me to the punch and said very succinctly the same things I wanted to say also, but had yet to find the words. Apparently she must be upwind from me, because she got them first! But it did evoke this response from me this morning, as another who hears “The Shout of of King among us.” (Of course, I’ve added a line or two.)
Every word you say brings a resounding YES out of me! It is just what I would say, and have struggled to say. Just last night I was thinking about writing something similar to what you have written. I had a thought to address the issue by having a fictitious person ask me, “What do you think about gay marriage or homosexuality, or about the war with terrorists, or about the Muslims, or the Hispanics streaming over our borders, or _______? (fill in the blank).”
It occurred to me that I would ask in this case “what would Jesus do?” Normally I hate that question but in this case, the answer seems to fit.
“Jesus would die for gays. He would be beaten for Muslims. He would be beheaded for prostitutes. He would give His Life that a drug dealer would live. He would die for Barack Obama. He would die for Donald Trump. If it was the past He would die for Joseph Stalin, or Adolf Hitler. In fact, He already did!
And now He has called us into the SAME life, of laying down our lives that others, including and especially our enemies, may live. We do not get to pick and choose who we would die for. It is always, ‘Not my will, but Thy will, Father.’ And it is ALWAYS the Father’s will that the Son lays down His life that others may live, and that includes us, for we are sons also.”
Thank you for writing my heart!
A few more thoughts.
In the Body of Christ, each of us have different gifts and different callings. That is Christ in many different forms and many different outlooks. Each is an individual “form” of Christ (Gal 4:19), and collectively the whole Body is Christ. That is, the “body” of Christ, in both instances, the personal and the corporate.
Recognizing that, I have to pursue my gift and speak my words to speak.
I am disturbed that so many in the Body of Christ who publicly claim and promote Christ, in the public arena of the whole world, hurl scathing diatribes against Jesus’ friends – “the sinners.” I do not know where that comes from or why they feel a need to continually bombard the world with constant warnings of God’s anger and coming retribution. I am not really sure if these people are in the Body of Christ. But that is not my call.
Nevertheless, I wonder where the “Good News” is in denouncing filthy sinners. The only people Jesus ever denounced were the hypocrites who had convinced themselves they were not hypocrites. Everyone is or has been a hypocrite, but hardly any see it in themselves; they only see it in others. The “sinners” Jesus encountered and spoke kindly to, were the ones who knew they were sinners. Jesus came to bring them the Good News that they were forgiven and He would take them into Himself if they would have it.
But the sins of the Pharisees and Sadducees remained, because they said, “We see.” Therefore they made themselves responsible, even though their hypocrisies remained. They did not need the righteousness of Jesus because they had their own well-earned righteousness, and would not even let their garment touch a sinful person.
THOSE are the people Jesus shouted at in the Temple, and called hypocrites! He wasn’t even shouting at them because he didn’t like what they were doing and wanted to punish their bad behavior. No, He was shouting at them as a father would shout at his children if they were destroying themselves, and would not give up their destructive situations which deep down they knew were wrong. Modern society would frown on a father who shouted so, but Jesus’ shouts were by the Holy Spirit from the heart of The Father. How often He would have gathered them as a mother hen gathers her chicks, but they WOULD NOT!
He came not to call the righteous to repentance, but the unrighteous. He was received by the unrighteous, but rejected by those who saw themselves as righteous. Likewise only those who are sick need a physician. They did not see themselves as sick, so they didn’t go to the doctor!
But to the harlots, “Woman, your sins are forgiven you.” To the adulterers and adulteressers, He says, “I do not condemn you. Go your way and sin no more.” To a Roman Centurion who good Jews in that time would not give the time of day or visit them in their homes, He said, “Go your way. Your son lives.”
I could go on.
Jesus came in the Spirit of Paul’s paragraph about reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
In another instance, Jesus said a very hard thing, and it’s hard to take and probably most won’t take it. But this is what He said:
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. 6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
On the one hand, I am for promoting Jesus Christ coming from anyone.
On the other hand, these people who are denouncing others, calling them abominations, calling down destruction on towns and cities for this and that offense, are offending many little ones, and causing them to go back, or to cower in fear.
These people are causing people to hate the name of Christ and Jesus. I know many wonderful people, who do not necessarily consider themselves “Christian,” who have been hoodwinked into thinking that these judgers and destruction-callers represent the real Jesus gospel. That sounds a lot like a mean Jesus. There is no good news in what they say. It is hard for me to convince some of these people that this isn’t the real Jesus, just like all Muslims, in fact probably 99% of Muslims, are not terrorists.
God’s potential sons out there are confused, because they see two kinds of Christians, if they are lucky, or just the one more vocal kind if not. There are the ones who come bringing tidings of Good News, that the kingdom of God is at Hand – not Jesus coming in the sky – but the kingdom of Christ they can find right now, and really can ONLY find, within them. And they start with a clean slate, because God makes all things new in them. It’s wonderful, glorious news for someone who is thirsty and knows they live in a dry and thirsty land. It is wonderful, glorious news, when the unloved are loved by God. It make them want to “leap and shout and praise God.”
Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him would be saved.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matt 11:28-30).
He did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them that he might give them new life.
Luke Chapter 9:51-56
“And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.”
This gospel, the “Good News for Modern Man” gospel is still on the table, so to speak. We have not finished distributing it around to all the places it needs to go.
The other “gospel” these potential sons confront, and these people are more vocal and more vitriolic than the first group, so it’s easy to see why they disturb so many with their medicine show Christianity, are these judgers and accusers. As I said above, their “message” is not good news, and is off-putting in my opinion, and driving people away from Jesus. These accusers give the world the impression that Jesus is mad at pretty much everbody, and can’t wait until He gets down here and destroys everything. These people seem very badly to want to see people in hell, and they seem very willing to assist them to get there, delighting that these “evildoers” are consigned to hell. I hope the fate of Haman does not await these people.
That said, He is still laying down His life for them and would welcome them anytime back into the henhouse under the shelter of His wings!
I’ll stop with this story of Francis of Assisi, which may be fiction, but part of it is definitely fact.
Francis went to the Pope and asked permission to go to the “Holy Land,” for the express purpose of converting Muslims to Christ, and the great Muslim general Saladin if he could get to him. Not with an army or with the point of a sword, but just one lone monk armed with only the love of God. He found Saladin’s camp in the desert and was received by Saladin. Those were tense days and it could have gone another way, in that they could have killed Francis long before he got to Saladin.
Saladin gladly heard Francis’ message and they parted friends. As they parted, Saladin told that even though he could not become a Christian, he had received Francis gladly and with hospitality and allowed him to preach Christ to him, because he was the only Christian he had ever seen or met, that was not trying to kill him. He knew Francis had come to love him. That is the Spirit of Christ!
Now that story is pretty much considered as likely or factual. This next one has the aura of legend about it, but it could be true also. While he was staying in Saladin’s camp, he had his own tent complete with a fireplace and a hearth. There were those within Saladin’s camp who were trying to tarnish Francis’ reputation so he could not have any influence with Saladin. So they hired a prostitute to go in and seduce Francis. The woman came in and took off her clothes in front of Francis and offered herself to him. Francis replied, “Certainly, why don’t you lie down here on this hearth with me?” With that he took off his monk’s robe and was naked, too, then went and lay down on the burning hot hearth. “Come join me here, my dear,” Francis said to her.
With that she fell to her knees and broke out in tears, because she knew she was in the presence of a holy man. She confessed her sins to Francis and he persuaded her of the forgiveness of God and she became a Christian.
Whether that story had any fact with it or not, I like it, because that is Christ, too.
Now I know another reason why Paul said, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.” (1 Cor 2:2,3)