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Follow Me as I Follow Christ

18 Jun
from Google Images

from Google Images

Who’s in charge in the Church? Is it Christ or is it men?[1] In 2011 a man predicted that the world as we know it would end on May 21st. It didn’t happen, of course, but some people got hurt over that presumption. I even heard of a man who sold his home to advertise the end and the need for folks to submit to Jesus. One TV evangelists ran for president years ago and many Christians thought it un-Christian to belong to the opposing party. Is Christ a Democrat or a Republican? Does the power of this world (politics is the power of this world) describe Christ who died for us? The world didn’t know their Creator when he became man, and even his own people wouldn’t receive him. Men seem willing to follow other men, but not their God.

Paul tells us in 1Corinthians 11:1 to follow him as he follows the Lord. What would it look like if present Church leadership took this scripture to heart, as far as church government is concerned? What would it mean if the Christians began treating one another, whether friends, family or neighbors as the leaders of the Church treats those placed in their care? Would we see an example of how Christ treated people in the Gospel narratives? Would we find ourselves condemning our neighbor or serving him (or her)? Would we find ourselves judging our unbelieving family members or treating them with mercy? Would we be seen as loving one another despite our differences in doctrine, or would the world see us as members of a community that simply cannot get along? Does the system in which we live out our service to Christ have anything to do with Jesus of the Gospels?

Paul referred to himself as a servant or a slave to Christ (Romans 1:1). What does that mean? How much power does a slave have? Does he have a title or position of authority that raises him above his fellows? The whole idea of being a servant or slave precludes the presence of fear or intimidation. A slave would never seek to use his power to protect his position as a slave. The thought is simply ridiculous. Neither would he wear clothing in order to gain acceptance as a servant or to impress other servants. Why would a slave seek to be the most popular slave? So when Christ’s servant preaches or teaches about Jesus, would he really be found pleasing men by appealing to their human interests—power of influence (intimidation), appearance, self preservation, (Galatians 1:10)? How could a man or woman be a servant of Christ by doing such a thing, and, if I followed such a man who did these things, how could I be following Christ by following that man?

Throughout this blog-post I’ve been highlighting church leadership, but I don’t mean to complain about the Church per se. I merely wish highlight questionable practices—worldly ideas that simply do not point to Jesus. Jesus is not a Republican (or a Democrat), and he treats the masses with mercy and love. His harshest words were reserved for the leaders of his own religious community—he didn’t even have anything negative to say about the Romans, other than to say we shouldn’t relate to one another as they treat their own. The bottom-line is: there is a lot to say about the Church—the Bride of Christ—that is good; and by the Church I incorporate all denominations. Yet, often one could see this business of the wrong exercise of power—whether through church government or personality worship—the abnormal desire to follow a man simply because he seems to idealize Christian ideas of what perfection should look like.

The problem is that our model is not the man, but Christ whom the man claims to follow. Paul set the eyes of the believer not upon himself but upon Christ (1Corinthians 11:1). Follow me AS I follow Christ. In other words, if one couldn’t see Christ in Paul’s walk, we shouldn’t follow Paul or the evangelist today who seems to have our attention. Our model must be Christ—Jesus of the Gospel narratives and not men who claim to be following him. Our leaders must be servants of Christ, and following them must call out the fruit of the Spirit in our walk—LOVE in its eight flavors: joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). After all, the world should recognize us in our representation of Christ’s Spirit and not the spirit of the world (John 17:16, 23).

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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Posted by on June 18, 2015 in Kingdom of God

 

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