Does Jesus Resonate?
There are no marginal or peripheral people in Jesus’ church who can turn Jesus on and off like a switch. A church is where every single person has had a miracle where God now lives inside of them. When you begin to build a church that way, then a person doesn’t have to be a serial murderer to be asked to not be a part of the church anymore. A person may not have some tragic, terrible sin, but what if they’re disinterested when you talk about Jesus? Well, how can Jesus be disinterested in Himself? In that case, the problem isn’t that the person isn’t committed enough—it’s about the covenant itself, or the lack thereof. Jesus either lives inside of them or He doesn’t. Even if a person is weak, Jesus either resonates in them or He doesn’t.
There is such a thing as some being weak and some being more spiritual than others. “You that are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness” (Galatians 6:1). Paul said to the Corinthians, “We have the mind of Christ. You’re acting like a bunch of babies because you’re always thinking of Apollos and Cephas. You’re thinking like mere men” (1 Cor. 1, 3).
But Paul knew that when he spoke the Word of God to them, they’d have “indignation, alarm, and an earnest desire to make it right,” because Jesus lived inside of them (2Cor. 7). So he shook the dust off of them and woke up the Spirit of Jesus that they had grieved with their sin. Instead of arguing, the Corinthians immediately responded, “Oh, where was I? I was asleep! Thanks!” In the New Covenant, “No longer shall a man say to his neighbor, ‘Know the Lord, know the Lord,’ because they will all know me from the least to the greatest” (Jeremiah 31; Heb. 8).
Under the Old Covenant in Judaism you had to argue with people. You either won or lost the argument, but it didn’t really matter. There were the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and some were nominal; and there were the orthodox and the periphery or the lukewarm. It didn’t really matter. Everyone could say the same thing, “I’m a son of Abraham because I’ve got his physical blood running in my veins. I’m as much a Jew as you are even if I don’t care about what you care about. We’re both Jews because of the blood of Abraham.”
In the New Covenant it’s no longer about Abraham as a fleshly father. Now, it’s the faith of Abraham that makes us sons of Abraham, Paul said to the Romans (Romans 4). Ahh! Now it’s this covenantal threshold that I pass through and God seals me in His Spirit, the deposit that guarantees the inheritance (2Cor. 1; Eph. 1). The Covenant seals me in the Spirit. He makes His home in me.
It’s not whether I believe the right things or show up at the right place. It’s no longer a man saying to his neighbor, “Know the Lord, know the Lord.” It’s not fuss, fuss, fume, fume, argue and argue some more and then we just agree to disagree and go our own way. Rather, it’s do they wake up when the words of God are spoken? Because He either lives in them or He doesn’t live in them. They might be weak or they might disobey. That wouldn’t bother me because it’s not utopia that we’re after, and we can work those things out. But is there proof that the Spirit that guarantees the inheritance lives inside? “No longer will it be a man saying to his neighbor, ‘Know the Lord, know the Lord’ because they will all know Me.”
When you build a church that way where every single person cares and they want to hear the Word of God, then if someone is wrong about something, they want to know about it. There will be different maturities, many different gifts and levels of knowledge, and many different personalities. But no matter who it is, if they don’t quite “get it” they will want two or three witnesses to come to them. They don’t get mad or retaliate. They want to change.
They don’t want to have sinned so they may say. “I can’t lie to you, I don’t agree with you. I think you’ve misjudged me on that matter and I don’t want to just roll over and play dead. I don’t share your conviction on this matter. Would you please bring two or three witnesses because I want to see it.” It won’t be, “Get away from me. Mind your own business.”
There should be no person in the church that doesn’t care and won’t change because they’re pig-headed. That’s not the church. If a person is like that then they need to be evangelized, not argued with. Because Jesus doesn’t live inside of them if they don’t care about the things of Jesus during a soccer match.
You say that maybe you’ve got to evangelize that person? Well, then you’ve got to actually share that in the conversation and tell them they don’t seem like a Christian because of their habits and behavior. I get the feeling though that I’m not going to bring them to Christ now.
You’ve got to tell them that then. I know it sounds weird, but if they think you’re arguing with them over how to be a more committed Christian, they’re not going to call on the Name of the Lord because they don’t think they really have a problem.
I was sprinkled as a little baby and people told me for the first 20 years of my life that I was a Christian, but I wasn’t. They lied to me. I had to face a crisis because I went to mass six days a week for years and years thinking I was a Christian—all the way through my junior year in college. I went to mass every Sunday morning with a hangover most of the time. But I didn’t have a problem doing that since they had told me I was a Christian.
I didn’t know I wasn’t, until I was in the right place by God’s choosing and somebody told me. I found out I wasn’t a Christian and that changed everything. It’s like you were saying earlier—you’ve got to be willing to take a hard look at starting over again. If you’re too prideful or selfish or lazy to take a hard look at what’s really right and wrong about your life, then there’s really no future.
If we decided to put up a pup tent in the backyard and stay for a few more months and we were part of the believers that you all know, I wouldn’t have any problem asking someone at a soccer game, “Are you sure you’re a Christian? Are you sure?”
“I think you should go home.” (laughter)
I’d say, “I’m not mad at you. I just know that the Bible says that either Jesus lives inside of you or you’re not even a Christian. And if He does live inside, then Jesus can’t be compartmentalized into work life, family life, church life. Jesus didn’t do that then and He doesn’t do that now. So, are you sure you’re a Christian?”
They might get mad, and eventually I might have to bring two or three others to talk to them about getting mad and about the fact that they don’t seem to love the word of God like a newborn babe craving the pure spiritual milk of the word (1Peter 2:2). They don’t crave it. It doesn’t matter to them. Perhaps they’re not a Christian, which means they’re not a part of the church. If we keep building the church wrong, based on people that are marginal or questionable and don’t seem to love God, then we’re really not helping anybody.