We need a revolution in the church.
“Christianity” needs a fundamental return to Jesus as King, and to all the practical implications of His “Kingdom.” It may be hard to admit, but parts of the church in the western world have become more loyal to the security, wealth, and political power of our secular culture than to the glory of the King and His heavenly culture.
Our loyalty must “revolve” back to its starting place – the supremacy of Jesus Christ. That is what I mean by “revolution.” Partial change, or adjustments to felt needs, are no longer enough. We need a fundamental return to Jesus as King.
To seek first God’s Kingdom is to seek first God’s King.
We must recover the lost art of devotion to Jesus.
Do you remember how Daniel refused to eat the delicacies of the king of Babylon? His kosher refusal of certain foods went deeper than diet. Daniel knew that Nebuchadnezzar was using food to cultivate an appetite for Babylon in his new subjects. The king wanted the young men emotionally dependent on the empire’s wealth and favor.
That would guarantee their allegiance. It would dull their emotional palate for any other kingdom. But…
“Daniel resolved in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank” (Dan 1:8).
Thus the radical expatriate was doing more than withholding unclean food from his belly. He was refusing to open his spirit to what the unclean food represented: a subtle covenant with Babylon. Daniel kept his heart-covenant with Yahweh, refusing internal attachment to the worldly empire.
As a result, Daniel never had to calculate his behavior or speech based on Babylon’s potential reaction. Losing the empire’s blessing was no threat to him. He was free.
But can we make the same claim?
Much of modern Christianity has exchanged conviction for celebrity, success, and the subtle charms of worldly acceptance. Indeed, some have cited the world’s approval of their diluted message as God’s approval of their message. Several of our public figures, public statements, and popular theologies are actually predicated on diminishing the cross’ demands, pleasing the world, and indulging ourselves. Then they announce with religious conviction that preaching the cross is outdated – the dinosaur of angry religion.
But the alternative to “angry religion” is not the spirit of the world cloaked in garments of cheap grace. The alternative to angry religion – and to an appetite for Babylon – is Jesus Himself as King and Lord.
It is time to grow up by honestly returning to God’s King. That means we stop the foolishness of over-reacting to one carnal extreme by embracing another carnal extreme.
Jesus warned us to beware of both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The solution He offered in the radical middle was Himself – the true King whose crucified-and-risen DNA should permeate the entire community of His followers.
Returning to the King means reviving our appetite for the real Jesus.
When we do, our very concept of “church” radically changes. The way we formulate community, leadership, evangelism, and discipleship conforms to the revolutionary wisdom of King Jesus and the apostles rather than the “wisdom of humans” (Matt 16; Eph 4:7-16; 1 Cor 1:18-3:23).
What then are some of the practical implications of this “Return to the King”? I intend to answer that question – in small part – in the coming articles.