The Believing WayPosted: April 7, 2010
The Apostle John ends the second last chapter of his gospel with the words – “These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”
This is the point of the Gospel – faith and life. Believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God gives life. It gives meaning and purpose to our otherwise directionless lives. Our lives, on the face of things seem to only lead from birth to death. All our achievements in between mean nothing when we come face to face with the grave – unless, as we have just proclaimed in our Easter services that there is resurrection, and life beyond the tomb.
After the resurrection appearances of Jesus, the disciples suddenly became quite animated. They had new purpose; it seems that they had suddenly discovered their destiny. When they were instructed to stop preaching in the name of Jesus, they refused, saying, “We must obey God rather than men.”
They had a new compelling drive in them. Jesus, who had befriended them had been crucified, was risen from the dead and had been exalted to the right hand of the Father. He had given repentance and forgiveness of sins. He had changed everything!
It was a new creation, God had begun again!
The disaster of Eden had been replaced with the victory of Calvary. Man’s purpose had been restored, God had forgiven everything that His those created in His image had done. After three years with the Master, the disciples finally realised what this was all about.
A couple of years ago a man came to an Alpha course in our church. He was an Englishman who had grown up in Kenya but had spent most of his life in the Middle East as an engineer. He was new to town and thought that the course would be a good way to get to know people.
He was in his early seventies and was looking for a good way to live out the rest of his life. He fell in love with Jesus that night, and later also with his childhood sweetheart who had lost her husband and who had somehow found him, an ocean and a continent away.
He died suddenly a few years later but these few years of faith were filled with energy and passion. He energised me too. He emailed me every day – in the beginning it was just questions but soon it was a sharing of his own new understanding …
Listen to this, which he wrote to me, just a month before he died, “the church must concentrate its efforts and continue forever to illustrate, explain and emphasize to people …
– that during each day of their lives they will be busy with ordinary things,
– that the love of God and His teachings will enable them to do those ordinary things better, and give them lots and lots of joy by doing them better,
– that there are ways of maintaining and growing their relationship with God that are compatible with their everyday lives,
– that the results of not embracing the teachings of God are destructive.‘
I wish that I’d written that because it almost exactly sums up what I feel in my own heart about the Christian Faith and the purpose of the church. It is a summary of the reason for which I believe God called me into the ministry. I identify with it totally.
There is not one life in the world and another life in Christ, there is only one life: God gives it and He has redeemed it. To say that there are two different lives will lead to legalism or debauchery, depending on which you choose. And if you try to live both lives as separate lives you will explode like the chameleon that tried to walk across a piece of tartan.
When we live our ordinary lives in the love of God and in His teaching, our ordinary lives will be different. They will be fulfilling and purposeful. We will be filled with energy and passion in ordinary things – for God’s sake.