Want to know the greatest threat to the Church? It’s not our changing culture, terrorism, or partisan politics.
The greatest threat to the Church is the Church pointing to the wrong things.
That’s right. The greatest threat to the Church is the Church.
When the Church begins to point people in the wrong direction of what Jesus’ purpose was for dying, the Church begins to die. And just for clarity sake, when I say “Church” I mean the global community of Jesus followers.
Here are 4 things Jesus absolutely didn’t die for:
1. Jesus didn’t die for your bank account.
The prosperity Gospel has been alive and well for too long. It creeps into many people’s thinking because of the popularity of its advocates. The prosperity Gospel elevates health and wealth above Jesus because Jesus simply becomes the vehicle in which you get what you really want.
Jesus didn’t die so that you would be ‘blessed’ in the way of wealth. You may have wealth, but don’t ever think that you’re wealthy because you are extra favored by God.
Don’t believe me? Just look at every interaction Jesus has with people about money in the Gospels. Instead of giving you more money, Jesus is more likely to tell you to give more money away.
Following Jesus doesn’t give you a bigger bank account. Sorry to burst your bubble.
2. Jesus didn’t die for your happiness.
I define happiness differently than I define joy. Happiness is often times dependent upon your circumstances. Joy is dependent on something deeper. You may be following Jesus, but unhappy. Maybe everything about your life is difficult, bad things have happened, and you feel helpless.
Jesus never promised an easy, happy life. In fact, he kind of said the opposite.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
The way is hard. You may not always be happy, but you will have a deep sense of joy and gratitude for what Jesus has died for. For what He is doing in your life. For how He is growing you in this difficult season. For how He is meeting you in the midst of the mess.
If you’re happy, great. But don’t ever think that Jesus died so that you would always be happy. That’s not the case. Believing this, I’m sure, has caused many people to give up on Christ and pursue their own desires.
Never forget that Jesus is the guy who, in the midst of a culture that used crosses for executions, told His followers that if they wanted to continue following Him, they must take up their cross daily. How about that for happiness?
3. Jesus didn’t die for your constitutional rights.
Uh oh. Did I read that right? Yes, yes you did.
Jesus didn’t die for your right to exercise religion. Jesus calls us to follow Him whether or not doing so is legal or not.
Jesus didn’t die for your right to bear arms. Want a weapon that Jesus commanded us to use? Try love.
Jesus didn’t die for your right to a speedy trial. He actually said, “And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well” (Matthew 5:40).
Want to pursue happiness? Jesus wants you to pursue Him.
Am I saying that the constitution is irrelevant? No. If you are an American, it’s the law of the land. But never be mistaken in believing that Jesus’ purpose in dying was so that you could be free in the land of the free and home of the brave.
4. Jesus didn’t die for your nominal belief in Him.
Jesus did not die so that you could simply mark “Christian” on a medical form or a survey. He did not die so that you could say, yeah, sure I believe in Jesus. Jesus is not interested in your intellectual acknowledgement of His existence. He died so that you would give Him your whole life, leaving nothing back. He commands everything.
Just look at what He says to a large crowd of people who, I’m sure, had a lot of people who were only following Him for the show.
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
What did Jesus die for?
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