These Sundays of Advent have been focused on the life-stages of Jesus and the points when many people make the decision to go “here and no further.”
We talked on December 1st about Born-again Babes, those who never grow beyond adolescence in the Lord, while on December 8th we discussed Baptismal Backlash, the Biblical warning that those who are fully baptized WILL experience wildernesses of satanic challenge and backlash. Unfortunately, many faith casualties occur as young Christians run into resistance rather than the warm and fuzzy no-cost blessing they were promised or were expecting…
This week we will discuss when the junk really hit the fan in Jesus’ life—when He entered ministry and began to heal the sick, raise the dead, preach truth and freedom to captives, and mend broken hearts. How dare Him do such radical, anti-religious stuff! Unfortunately, and ironically, the same battles are raging today.
Why is it that those who grow up to the place of doing the stuff Jesus did—the stuff He called all of us to do—I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father—face persecution from all sides?
The answer is clear: BECAUSE JESUS DID!!!
Grown-up Christianity will ALWAYS illicit a negative response—from the religious among us, from family members, and even from our closet friends! The temptation is to draw back and cut our losses—but if we do so, we do so at the loss of what is most precious and valuable in our lives—the privilege of sharing the Gospel with the appropriate display of supernatural fire!
But why talk about this stuff at Christmastime? Isn’t it supposed to be a season of light and fluffy? Perhaps for others, but the Lord was very specific and confirming to me what He wanted me to preach on this season to THIS Church Family.
You see, Maturity in the Lord is a great gift—the greatest gift this side of perfection-restored. The greatest Christmas gift we will ever know was wrapped up in swaddling clothes, is wrapped up in unapproachable light, and will come again soon to wrap all of creation in perfection. To become like Him is the very essence of CHRISTmas!
To grow up into Him who is the Head of the Body (see Eph. 4:15) is the call and mandate upon the lives of EVERY Christian—but it comes at high cost, even as it brings far higher blessings!
So, we will continue to challenge each other to take the next steps needed to look-like, talk-like, act-like, love-like, and even smell-like (2 Cor 2:15) Jesus! To do any less is to cheapen Christmas into a silly excuse to spend money, and Christianity into just another human-based religion—and the World is forcing enough of those lies and that nonsense upon us as it is!