Monday, February 04, 2008

Revolution and reformation

I guess the link between evangelism and discipleship, or, better put, what to do with new Christians after they're saved has been a problem since Acts. Too often i've been involved when the approach has either been 'well, you were saved by grace but now you need to do this stuff', or people have ended up thinking 'i'm not saved by anything i do, so it doesn't matter if i live in the same way now that i used to'. Both with some obvious glorious truth applied in a horrible way.

And this is a serious business. Luke tells us:

When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are safe. But when someone stronger attacks and overpowers him, he takes away the armor in which the man trusted and divides up the spoils.

"He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters

"When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first."

The devil here is depicted as a strong man, someone who can look after himself and doesn't have too many worries about secutiry. His house is his domain, and he rules it without opposition. And yet, when a stronger man comes, the first man is disarmed. Suddennly his arnmour is useless to him, and he has no defence. he was been overthrown. Revolution has come to his house. This is the work that Christ has accomplished on the cross. He has disarmed the strong man, by his death and ressurection, he has overthrown the devils rule in the hearts of many, and rules there. Revolution has come.

But revolution on it's own is not enough. It's not just enough to have the devil overthrown. Our previous passion for the evil one must be replaced with an ardour for our new King, for our savior, the One who has overthrown. Look at the next paragraph. The evil spirits leave the house and can not find rest. So he returns. And what does he find? Not a fortress of love for the new ruler of the house, not a well defended refuge built at the foot of calvary, but instead a house 'swpt clean and out in order'. A house no longer under the devastating rule of the devil, but not aflame with anything else. Just well swept and put in order. Like a show home.

So what happnes? The enemy returns to the house, and the state of it is worse than before. Seven times worse. There was no defence, no home was made for the new King, no preparation made for the hardships to come. On the outside the house looked ok, but it was empty and void. A sitting target.

Our love must be replaced, we must fall for and commit to Jesus wholeheartedly, and more importantly than that, we must make sure that the people that respond to the Gospel in mission week season experience not only revolution, as one king is overthrown for the real King, but also reformation, as the affection and dedication for one king is replaced by affection and dedication for the real King. This is an impossible taks, which is why 2 Corinthians 3:17-4:6 is one of my favourite and most encouraging passages of scripture. We can't make the light shine, God does. Whats our part? preaching the Gospel. Not just to the unsaved but, since the Gospel is God's appointed means of salvation and sanctification, we teach new converts too. And people who have been Christians all their lives. And ourselves. Then, when this light shines brighter than any other Christians will understand why 'don't sleep around' is not a proscription but a prescription. Not something to steal life away, but to impart life and joy. Then we will see not just converts but disciples, people ready to give their all for thier new, revolutionising, reforming, saving, mission enabling King.

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