A few years ago, I was having lunch with a couple of mega-church pastors who are really great guys and good pastors. I asked them two questions –
Would your church look any differently if your people really believed, read, studied, memorized, and obeyed everything Jesus commanded every day?
Would your life look any differently if you really believed, read, studied, memorized, and obeyed everything Jesus commanded every day?
The response was immediate and somewhat emotional. One said, “I am ashamed to say, my church would look very differently and so would I.” Another said, “I really want to live that way. How did I get off track?”
Then they asked me how I was planning on fully living everything Jesus commanded. The next thing I knew words flowed out of me describing a radical church of people hopelessly in love Jesus who were sold-out to reaching a large, spiritually needy city with a large downtown university.
Partially as a result of the conversation, I quit my job and moved across America to Las Vegas to start Grace City Church. The vision of this church then, is to raise up a nation of radical, sold-out, totally abandoned, reckless, fearless Christ followers. In other words, to raise up a Jesus Nation!
Members of the Jesus Nation are
- People with Changed Lives
Mark 1:14-15 Jesus went to Galilee, preaching the good news of God: 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news!”
People who have truly met Jesus look radically different than they did before. “Once people come face to face with Jesus, the God of the universe in the flesh, and Jesus reaches down into the depths of their hearts, saves their souls from the clutches of sin, and transforms their lives to follow him, they are going to look different, “very different.” David Platt (17)
- Committed Followers of Jesus, not merely Casual Fans of Jesus
The word fan means: “an enthusiastic admirer; usually as a spectator.”
Jesus did not give up the glories of the Godhead and allow Himself to be tortured and murdered just to gather enthusiastic admirers. He did not die to make you a nice guy. He did what He did to raise up an army of devoted disciples.
As long as Jesus said what they wanted to hear and feed them what they wanted to eat for free, He had a lot of fans. But when He raised the bar, and increased the expectations; when it got difficult, many in the crowd jumped off the band wagon.
The biggest threat to the church today is the fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Jesus. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them.”- Kyle Idleman
- Not Mere Consumer Christians, BUT rather Christians Consumed With God
Sociologist Christian Smith notes that many Americans view God as a combination of divine butler and cosmic therapist. Church is seen as the dispenser of religious goods and services for the enjoyment of those who put a little money in the offering plate.
The real Jesus, the one in the Bible is not your butler, he is not your waiter. He is not your valet. The real Jesus is not your therapist. The real Jesus is your judge, your Lord, and God. The real Jesus demands all-out love.
Matthew 22:35-38 “And one of them, an expert in the law, asked a question to test Him: “Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command.”
The love that Jesus expects is demanding. It requires and results in all-out obedience.
John 14:15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commands.”
John 14:21 “The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me.”
John 14:23 Jesus answered, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word.”
John 14:24 “The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words.”
- Radicals who Don’t merely Talk about Jesus, but Sacrificially Obey Jesus
Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only] the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
C. T. Studd is one of my heroes. He was a wealthy, Cambridge graduate who also happened to be the best cricket player in the world when cricket was one of the most popular games in the world. He was the most popular athlete of the late 1900s. Yet, he gave it all up to obey a missionary call to China. In a talk he gave at a businessman’s luncheon, he told how obeying the commands of Jesus changed his life.
I once had another religion: mincing, lisping, baited breath, proper, hunting the bible for hidden truths, but no obedience, no sacrifice. Then came a change. The real thing came before me… Words became deeds. The commands of Christ became not mere Sunday recitations, but battle cries to be obeyed…
There is only one alternative to obedience and that is disobedience. Adrian Rogers
- The People Who Can Change the World
Some of the first members of the Jesus nation were Paul and Silas. They caused such a stir that in the city of Thessalonica that they were accused of having turned the world upside down.
Acts 17:6 “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here too