Sunday, November 22, 2009

Good Teaching Last Night

On equating the people's response to Jesus feeding the 5000+ to the Prosperity Gospel. John 6:14 - "After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, 'Surely this is the Prophet (see Deuteronomy 18:15) who is to come into the world'. Fast forward to the end of the chapter and many of his disciples are leaving Him (not the 12) seemingly in part because the miracles have subsided temporarily and His teaching is either too hard or making them uncomfortable.

At the core of every version of the prosperity gospel is this: "It leaves people unchanged in their old appetites and then provides Jesus to meet them". Are your existing appetites the same now as they were before you came to Jesus and He is just useful now? Better business, better marriage, better house, better kids, better everything I wanted before? Then you don't know Him. He didn't come to serve your unregenerate appetites. He came to give you NEW appetites. That is the meaning of being born again. Prosperity Gospel thinking is the kind of acclimation Jesus walks away from. Jesus did not come to give bread...He came to BE bread. He does not want to give you sources of life...He wants to BE your source of life.

This fits in really well with the book we are discussing in care group - "The Myth of a Christian Religion" by Gregory Boyd. Each chapter covers some issue with which the Christian "church" has stumbled over in its search for a source of life - judgment, individualism, idolatry, religion, nationalism, etc. These can all seem good and right to our own version of Jesus but have little or nothing to do with the true Kingdom of God. Likewise, the people of Jesus' day were right in calling him Prophet and King but they just didn't know exactly what kind of prophet He truly was and what kingdom He truly ruled over. Here are some passages from the last few chapters of that book that I have found to be thought provoking:

"Judgment is the foundational sin in the Bible because it prevents us from obeying the foundational command in the Bible, which is to love others the way God loves us."

"In fact, real love, as defined by Jesus, is about expressing the unsurpassable worth of another by being willing to sacrifice everything for them."

"While the holiness of Jesus ascribed unsurpassable worth to people, the "holiness" of the Pharisees detracted worth from people as they ascribed worth to themselves."

"If Life can only be received from God for free, then all the other ways religious people try to find God's Life are worthless."

"Welcome to McChurch, where you get served up a Gospel tailor-made to suit your personal tastes and needs and that never confronts you or causes you any discomfort."

Lord...may I see you and know you for who you truly are and may that be enough for me.