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Snake Oil Salesmen Did it Right

Back in the day, and I mean BACK, small towns would sometimes be graced with the presence of the traveling salesman. Sometimes what was sold would be “snake oil” or something pretty good! These guys made their way across the country, working hard.snake-oil-salesmen Today, we could equate this work to a talented inventor working diligently to get his idea out there to make a difference in their realm of influence. And, on a larger scale, a company advertising hard to let the world know about their products so they could grow and make a living for their employees.

It’s funny to me how snake oil salesman was the first thing I thought of for this post. After all, many people have equated this profession to the world of religion. There is a huge distinction that I will make though and it will make complete sense if you stick with me. First, let’s take a look at the Great Commission again (see last post).

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Spirit… (Matt 28:19)

In today’s church culture, it seems that we stick to our church buildings. We might talk to a neighbor, or do some meaningful work in the city, but for the most part we are not sharing the gospel are we? Think about that. If you are a born again Christian, true Catholic or committed to your denomination, meaning that you have stepped off the podium of life and placed Jesus on it, then how many people have you honestly shared the gospel with this past week, month, year(s)? I have to ask this question of myself too.

Let’s think back to the salesman, or the inventor, or the company looking to sell their goods and ideas. How successful would they have been if they just talked about helping people and served some food, but never talked about the real product they were invested in? What would it look like if they rode into town proclaiming they were a salesman but never explained what they were selling? WOW. Let’s read that again in a slightly different way.

What would it look like to proclaim to be a Christian, but never explain to anyone what that meant?

Hi, I’m a Christian! Yep, my calling is to proclaim the gospel to all nations! Here’s $10, I’ll pray for you! Here, have a meal, the potatoes are great tonight! Oh, you have questions? Here’s my church address…and my pastor’s phone number…

Are you uncomfortable yet? I hope so, since this is the church for the most part in the USA today with a few exceptions. Go and make disciples…this takes effort, commitment and time…of all nations…this means leaving your town, your country and getting the word out if you are able…baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…this means taking the next step, coming alongside a new believer and bringing them into the Kingdom.

It’s not just the pastor’s job, it’s every Christians’ job. Be like the snake oil salesman, not in the product that they sell, but in the effort in which the work was done. Have you ever considered why God has blessed the USA with so much money? Maybe it was so we would have the means to be able to fulfill the Great Commission, not so we could go out and buy one more thing that we don’t truly need.

Next up: Materialism and why the USA has already lost. Oh, this should be good!

All About “Me”?

Jesus died for “Me”

Of course, Jesus died in order to take away the sins of the world. The lies, theft, misuse of God’s name, all the times God was not put first in our lives.  Believe in the lordship of Jesus and be baptized, as the bible says, this may not be what your pastor has told you…(Matt 28:19-20, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 16:31-33, etc)

Jesus died in order to give God glory

Now, here is the part we seem to have missed or forgotten. Everything, and I mean everything that happened on the cross, at the hands of Jesus, with the Israelites in Egypt, the walls of Jericho tumbling down, and Paul’s many journey’s witnessing to the Gentiles and beyond, everything was done to bring glory to God. God, the one and only. God the Creator. God, the only one who deserves it… (Jeremiah 9:23-24, Ps 96:1-9, I Chron 16:23-29, John 17, I Cor 10:31, etc)

Jesus died so that I could give God the glory20150116_124617

So, when we think of our salvation, or consider the idea of salvation if you are not saved from your sins, we must put these thoughts into context. The reason God wants us to be saved is more than the fact that he loves us, it’s that he also calls us to bring him glory! In all things we are to bring glory to God…(I Cor 10:31)

Give God the glory by Going and Making Disciples of all nations, Baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

At the end of Matthew, Jesus proclaims the Great Commission as written above. Go and make disciples etc, right? Why? To give glory to God. Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Why? To give glory to God! Go and baptize, making disciples of all nations. Why? To give glory to God…Not because God simply loved “me”.

Summary

“Me”, “Me”, “Me” sounds like a line from The Matrix Trilogy when Agent Smith was duplicating himself.  If Jesus simply died for “me”, then when I am saved I am done! Yipee! I figured this salvation thing out!

I think God is disgusted with us.  The goal is to glorify God and our culture misses this fact. Read John Chapter 17 to get a feel for this concept, or do a little searching and you will find the concept of giving God all the glory pervades scripture. Jesus died for me so that I could bring glory to God through my salvation, to all nations. Going to church once a week for an hour doesn’t fulfill this command. Serving food in a homeless shelter once in a while doesn’t fulfill this command to go, go, go either, does it?

Have you ever wondered why Jesus clearly preached that the path to hell is wide but the path to eternal life is narrow and only a few will find it? (Matt 7:13-14).  Have you ever meditated on this scripture and wondered what it means?  Have you bought into a watered down version of Christianity?  Will you one day say “Lord, Lord”, but Jesus will say he never knew you? (Matt 7:22-23)

Next up: All nations doesn’t mean your town, your state or simply your nation. More on that in my next blog post!

Why are we here?

Have you ever sat in a stupor, maybe as a kid, contemplating the question “why am I here?”  Most of us have wondered this at some time or another.

As a Christian, we have a clear answer.  Does the Great Commission mean anything to you?  Do you know the mantra?

“Go…”

Yes, that means having some direction, some plan, …action!  Go!

“and make…”

Studying the original language you see this isn’t a “violent” or “forceful” term.  It means:

1) to be a disciple of one

a) to follow his precepts and instructions

2) to make a disciple

a) to teach, instruct

“disciples of all nations…”

Is it interesting to learn that “disciple” is the same word as “make”.  They go hand in hand.  If you have been taught, if you are a follower, then you have been made into something – a disciple.  The challenge is the “all nations” part.  We can’t do this by force.  We can only do it by teaching and being the example.  History proves forceful application of the Gospel is no application at all.

“baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

Notice how this doesn’t say, “having them say a little prayer, closing their eyes, and raising their hands anonymously…”  Are we followers of the Creator or not?  What in the world do we have to hide from?  Hidden conversion is akin to “this little light of mine, I’m gonna hide it under a basket“.  NO!  And yes, here we are with that baptism thing again that many people don’t think is all that important.

“and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

Here we get the definition of “make disciples” from above.  TEACHING.  We really miss the mark on this don’t we?  I will expand this “Teaching” aspect in the next post tomorrow.

To conclude, we are here to live out the Great Commission as Jesus commanded in Matthew 28.  Not to play Mario Kart Wii in which I am so fond of.

Inside Out

I must say that church sermons can point out the obvious, but often it needs pointed out because we are simply stupid.  No offense to you smart people out there.  :)

Inside or Outside? That’s the question today.  As a body of believers we must be aware & cognizant of just what in the world we are doing.  The Body of Christ is the people.  The Body of Christ is action, such that “when we did it for the least of these [the poor] we were doing it for Jesus”.  The people and the Christian action associated with this Body of Believers has dangerously switched to become the church building and what the staff and building can do for the members.  Does this sound like your church?

We have switched from working for God outside the church to building a church and letting the inside of the church try to do the work of God.  We have become of Body that tries to attract members through a building and church activities.  We sit inside the church and wait for people to come to us.  Do you see the problem?  Yep, this action is anti-biblical, completely.

Which ones don’t belong?

A.) Go and make disciples of all nations….

B.) They went out in pairs proclaiming the Gospel…

C.) Sit and wait for them to come and play in the basketball league…

D.) When you clothed, when you fed, when you healed…

E.) When you sat at home and decided if you would go to church or not…

Funny huh?  Not really.

Outside the church.  That’s where it’s at!  Remember that “little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine?”  Or how about those action verbs above?  Go, proclaim, clothe, feed, heal… these words are commands and are not up for debate.  We are not to be “sit in a bubble of safety” Christians.  If you think that, then why would Jesus so pointedly tell us to, “don’t worry about tomorrow, today has enough problems of its own?” or “don’t worry about anything…”  Why would Jesus say, “Away from me Satan” to Peter of all people!  Peter thought Jesus should play it safe…. [hint, hint].

No, we are to be a Church, a body of Believers that is present, visible and more importantly OUTSIDE the church building.  People will come to a building to check it out then leave.  But…people will worship at a church if they follow active Believers to the building because of the powerful mission they so obviously are a part of always.

Get out, don’t stay in!