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“Lord Save Us from Your Followers!”

September 30, 2009

GO SEE THIS FILM!!!

I recently had the privilege to pre-screen a movie before it went to theaters.  A buddy of mine knows a guy who knows the guy… etc.  I just want to say that this film “Lord Save Us from Your Followers!” is amazing!  I don’t care who you are.  If you’ve been a Christian for years or can’t even stand the word “Christian”, you need to see this film.

Why?  Because chances are you have either proclaimed or been preached a gospel that is NOT the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and probably both.  The Gospel of Jesus is one of love, service, and sacrifice.  It is about the ultimate sacrifice and love shown by our God towards us who do not deserve it.  And, it is about our responsibility to take that same selfless love and sacrifice into a world that has never seen it.  Jesus himself said:

“God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” ~ John 3:17

If Jesus, God himself, did not come to judge the world why do we think that is our job?  I can hear the alarm bells going off in your head right now.  Yes, I know Jesus came to call people to repent of their sin.  Yes, people must be made aware that they have a terminal disease called sin that they are helpless to overcome without Jesus.  By no means am I discounting that role in evangelism.  However, what I think this movie does an excellent job pointing out is that you must first establish a genuine relationship with people before they are willing to hear that message.

I’ll go even further, I believe this is what Jesus did.  Don’t believe me, look at John 4 where Jesus talks with a Samaritan women at the well.  This women as a sinner if there ever was one.  She was guilty and deserving of death.  Yet Jesus broke all social morays and extended to her love that no one else would have done.  This took her by surprise.  Why is a man talking to me a women alone?  What is this Jew doing in Samaria?  Why is a Jew talking to me a Samaritan?  Why is this rabbi making himself unclean by associating with me?  Why is this prophet speaking to one he knows is in sin?

She was so amazed He would care about her that she was willing to listen to the words He said.  Yes, He confronted her sin issue, but only once He had gained her trust and she knew He cared about her.  She saw and immediately recognized that something was different about Jesus because of His love concern.  Now imagine how this story would have played out if Jesus and marched up to the women and began shouting that she was a sinner and and adulterer.   What if He yelled “repent you sinner!”?  I imagine she would have ran away thinking there is another one of those religious zealots that hates me.  If you need more examples look at how Jesus interacted with other sinners.  How about Zacchaeus (Luke 19), the women caught in adultery (John 8), the crippled man (Mark 2), etc?

I’m afraid that’s what we (the church, the body of Christ) do far to often.  We rant about the decline in culture, rise of divorce, and the increase in homosexuality.  We are so loud arguing for super-charged political topics like abortion, prayer in schools, gay marriage, and even saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”.  The Southern Baptist Convention (the largest protestant denomination in the world) even boycotted the Disney company.  So often Christians are known more for what we are against than for who we represent, Jesus Christ.  This is not the gospel of love.

Please, let me be the first to say “I’m guilty”!  I have done this so much.  This film was so convicting for me.  I admit that 3/4 of the way into the film I actually hit the floor, breaking down into sobbing over my sin.  I was so torn by the truth that Jesus wants to love sinners.  He wants to show them how much he loved them.  And His way of doing that is through me, and I have miserably failed.

Instead of speaking out about the evils of homosexuality the mission and cause of Jesus would be better served by me going and showing love to homosexuals. What if instead of protesting gay marriage, I lowered myself, and in humility went and served those people caught in homosexuality?  What it I showed them how much Jesus loves them by sacrificing for them and giving my time, love, and affection to them?  What if I was real about my own sin and open about how Jesus has forgiven me for it?  Then maybe they would see that the love of Jesus is real and they would be willing to confront the sin in their own life.  I know, it’s a novel approach.  I believe this is what Paul meant when He said:

“For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.  I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” ~ 1 Cor 9:19-23 (emphasis added)

I think we have missed a large part of Paul’s meaning with in this  passage.  I most frequently hear this passage used to support seeker sensitive or culturally contextualized methods of sharing the gospel.  This has lead TONS of people to think the best way to share the gospel is by having a culturally relevant, interesting, and attractive worship service.  I don’t think using this passage to support contextualized services is  “wrong”, but I do think the context here is more about how Paul adapts himself in his one-on-one, personal relationships with the people he meets so that he can best serve them individually.  It is this act of service to them that helps demonstrate and show the love proclaimed by the gospel message he preaches.

My prayer is that God will make me a better “servant to all that I might win more of them”.  I am starting to see what it means to be a servant.  It means giving up my comfort, safety, security, time, money, and pride.  It means seeing myself as the “chief of sinners” and engaging the lost on a level ground with love and humility.

This morning I was horrified, ashamed, and greatly angered to learn about the Westboro Baptist church in Topeka, KS.  Today they won a supreme court ruling that they were within their constitutional rights when they protested the funeral of a US soldier who was killed in Afghanistan fighting for his country.  I am so angry about this I can barely type right now!  I’m not angry that they won this case.  I believe in the freedom of speech.  I am horrified that a church who claims to love my Lord would defame His name and honor by spewing this kind of hate.  At this protest they held signs that read “Thank God for dead soldiers”.  The father of that precious soldier today said, “I had one chance to bury my son, and they took the dignity away from it.”  It makes me weep.

Why would someone want our soldiers dead?, because they have chosen to fight for a country that loves gays.  This church has the self proclaimed agenda to tell the world that “God hates fags”.  In fact that’s there web address: “godhatesfags.com” and “Godhatesamercia.com”.  If you want to hear more about this watch this video:

Kind of humorous and really sad at the same time, I know.  Did you notice how much hate they spewed?  I know this is about as extreme as it gets and most of us aren’t guilty of anything that hateful.  However, don’t let yourself off that easy.  To one degree or another we are ALL guilty of pointing the finger and judging the world instead of opening up our arms and loving them.  I used this example to to point out how evil, counter biblical, and ineffective it is to hit people with their sin before first loving them where they are at.

Who are the untouchables in your world?  When was the last time you gave a homeless person a hug, visited a prison, spent a day with someone who is homosexual, or gave up your coat to someone who need it it?  It’s time we started loving like Jesus and serving like Paul.  That’s the gospel in action.

Please go see this movie if you can.  it is in a theater near you now. It needs all the support it can get and I believe you will get a lot out of it.  I know I did.  Here’s a trailer…

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