Summary: Purpose, our calling, commitment
Radical Together: Introduction
On Sept. 4, 2011 we started a series called Radical and we spent nine weeks examining what it means to “radically” follow Jesus Christ. Many of us read the book, “Radical.” David Platt wrote this book and its theme was “for Christians to wake up, trade in false values rooted in the American dream and embrace the notion that each of us is blessed by God for a global purpose.” This was a call to not only hear these words: “If anyone would come after me they must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow me,” but to really begin to put them into practice.
Christianity remains a theory until you test it. Jesus claims that “whoever finds his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” The only way you or I will know if His claims are true is to put them to the test.
It’s my belief that many who are involved with the average church in America are very comfortable living in theory instead of reality. Corporately and individually we are comfortable with a faith that is “a form of godliness.” The problem is we seem to have settled in as “mannequins” instead of being the living, breathing bride of Christ.
This form of godliness keeps Jesus as a theory and the world accepts this definition of Christianity without much fuss. But then someone puts the “radical” claims of Jesus to a test and it turns the complacent world upside down. You see, we are not to look like the body of Christ, we are His body, the living breathing Holy Spirit energized BRIDE.
There are five components I think will turn your life upside down and bring your faith to radical life. I just gave them to you on Oct. 30 of last year and I’ll share them with you again. I challenge you for one year commit to
1. Pray for the entire world.
2. Read through the entire Bible.
3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose.
4. Commit 2% of your time to going, “living in another context.”
5. And finally, join a multiplying community.
There’s a handout in your bulletin to help and there’s a “read through the Bible in a year” plan on the back. (It’s the one I use and really like).
But here’s the point of this introduction: God has to begin His work of grace and His calling to each of us individually. I cannot be convicted of your sin, nor convince you to follow the Savior. That is a one-on-one calling between you and Jesus, as it was for the disciples and the rich young ruler.
But for those who have really answered that call God has created a community of radical followers called the church. We pray, but we don’t pray alone. We read God’s word, but we are mentored by Godly leaders who show us how to live it out. We sacrifice our money, but we come to “know” the specific purpose and people we are sacrificing for. We spend our time in a context different than our ordinary lives, but we do this with others and are bound together with sweat and unity of real purpose. It’s all about being a multiplying community of faith.
If we are going to live in radical obedience to Christ we must do it together. It’s how we encourage and are encouraged “to give liberally, go urgently and live dangerously.”
1 Peter 2:9 says “You are a chosen people, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
Here’s a great quote from David Platt in the book “Radical Together:”
*See attachment 1*
Here is a radical concept each of us needs to understand if we are to really live out our calling:
1. We are not called to go to church, we are called to be the church.
This might be the most important attitude adjusting thought any church can have and here’s why: churches become very un-radical in their obedience to Jesus’ call by becoming inward focused. And, man! that is so easy to have happen. It’s kind of like the old life saving story.
*See attachement 2*
“Oh, Rick, that’s just a story.” Coming together is so, so important. It’s how we collectively praise a God who has called us out of darkness into His extraordinary light. Being together is something we shouldn’t neglect. The assembling of the saints is vital for encouragement, edification and worship. On Sundays, absolutely we meet around His table to remember and proclaim His death, burial and resurrection. Student ministries, children’s church, Sunday schools and small groups are awesome in their bonding potential. But what happens when the dinner becomes more important than the host? Apathy, complacency, ritual, and people drown. Right here in Fern Creek and around the world. (As I’ve shared before, a football team that lives in the huddle and never runs the play isn’t a football team).