Sunday, February 12, 2006

The World Ripped Open (part 2)

The world has been ripped open and the walls and the barriers that were once established are now non-existent. This is the thought that I threw out in my previous post. I made the point that now the Heavens and the earth and whatever separates the two from each other has permanently damaged. But what does that mean? It means that heaven is now trying to pour out onto earth-it is seeping out and trying to fill the earth up!

This is kind of a different thought because most people think of heaven as a future reality. There is the here and now-and then there is the future physical universe and that’s heaven. Rob Bell, a pastor in Grand Rapids describes Heaven and Earth in a different way: Heaven is a place where things happen, as God would have them, Earth is a place where they don’t.

Jesus taught in stories, many times he told stories like this; “The Kingdom of God (or Heaven) is like...(enter Parable). The Kingdom in these parables was a Kingdom where things were done quite differently than in the world around Jesus’ listeners. In these stories it was like the Kingdom Jesus was talking about was almost completely backwards from what they knew.

The weird thing about Jesus’ teachings is that they were talking about being selfless. To be a religious person was to deny ones self and follow Christ. Jesus wanted people to give up a pursuit of being #1 and to make others a higher priority.

Jesus seemed to be talking about Earth (the place where things don’t always happen the way God wants) becoming more like Heaven (the place where things do happen as God wants). He was talking about the total change the world, not just a religion. He didn’t want his disciples to just change how Judaism impacted their lives, but he wanted to change how they lived.

What has happened in the last few decades is that people have started to treat Christianity as only about getting people saved. We have become Gnostic* to some level and have only concerned ourselves with the spiritual, and this is wrong! We have forgotten what Jesus taught us to do! We have neglected the message of the Bible!

James 1:26-27 seems to cap the conversation of Jesus’ ministry. James was addressing the community of believers and was discussing some abuses in the church. Apparently there were Believers who were trying to gain the attention of the rich and popular. James wants nothing to do with this type of action, and says in these verses, “real religion is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

I guess this has been the point of these last two posts. I honestly believe that as Christians if we only focus on our Salvation, we are not being good Christians. We are being called to look after the orphans and the widows, the poor and sickly, those who cannot take care of themselves. God wants us to be not about ourselves and us getting to heaven, as much as he wants us to be helping other people and making sure that they are going to go to heaven. Or Better yet-help them see heaven here on earth.

*Gnostic belief is that the spirit is good and the physical is evil. So we only need to worry about dealing with the spirit. What is done by the physical is beside the point. Gnosticism has been condemned as a heresy and is not good at all.