Posts tagged ‘gospel’

Locked Door Mystery

I’m a sucker for detective stories. Whether Monk, Magnum P.I. or Sherlock Holmes, I’m there. I like mystery. I like figuring it out. A special kind of detective story is known as the

Marketing, Mice and the Light of Truth

In my professional life, I work in marketing and public relations. The job is to share your message in a positive way with your audience and do it so well they accept it and, hopefully, act on it. Marketing goes after building customers for a product, service or idea. Isn’t this the same thing we do as Christians? Aren’t we supposed to make Jesus seem appealing to the world around us? Isn’t it our job to tell the story of Jesus in such a way that unbelievers see the positive side and want to become loyal customers?

“After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him. Therefore Jesus told them, “The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.” (John 7:1-7 NIV)

I think Jesus answers our questions in the snapshot above, and the answer is surprising. The first thing that jumps out from this passage is that Jesus’ brothers want to consult him on how to market himself as a celebrity. They tell him to go where the people are, show yourself to the world, let them see what’s special about you, dazzle them with your miracles, give the fans what they want. (Paraphrasing, of course) It sounds like good advice for anyone seeking followers. And from their perspective, they may know better. Verse one says people wanted to kill him. It also says “after this.” After what, you might ask? That’s referring back to John 6. At the end of that chapter many people turned away from Jesus and stopped following him. Does any of this sound right? Aren’t we supposed to get more and more people to follow Jesus? I think the answer from scripture is “yes,” but not always in the way we think.

Jesus, when confronted with the advice of his brothers, answers, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil.”

Why can’t the world hate his brothers? First things first, they are in the world. The scripture says that they, at this time, are unbelievers. Praise God that we see in later parts of the Bible that some, if not all of his brothers become followers. But at this time, they are giving him the advice of the world.

I think this is a serious temptation for all of us who are believers. We want to make Jesus attractive to the world. We follow Jesus, and we want everyone else to follow him. We can be tempted to want to be Jesus’ publicist. We want to apologize for the uncomfortable places he puts people and point out his best features to the world. But what does Jesus want?

In Luke 19:10, Jesus states that his purpose is to “seek and save what is lost.” But part of that plan is testifying that what the world does is evil.
Like me, before Jesus sought me and save me from my self, I was in the audience for the gospel, and that audience was “lost!” We aren’t looking for a tune-up we don’t need to hear the right spin to get us to join a church and get on God’s team. We need saving, not a life coach.

Let’s listen to more of what Jesus tells us on this topic reported in John 3, “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

Listen to the authority in Jesus’ words “this is the verdict,” you and I hate the light. We don’t want it shining on the hearts we make for ourselves when we follow our own desires. We don’t want our deeds exposed. I was sitting in my kitchen one night and could hear a mouse doing his best to make a nest under my kitchen sink. It was disgusting hearing him shredding things under there and wriggling in the darkness that is the world under my sink. When I started to walk toward the cabnet door to throw it open and shed some light on his work, he got really quiet. Because when the door opens and the light is shining, there are only two directions: into the light or scurrying back to his dark little hole. Friends, we’re that mouse.

So what do we do with this? If you are in God today, we know this to be true, “whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” God has gotten the credit for saving you. He has shined his light of truth spoken in love into your lives, the sin in your life has been confronted, you have and continue to repent of your sins and by faith in Jesus have been baptized, trusting in the blood of Jesus to cover over your sin and now you follow him. Following means for us that we must shine that light into the darkness all around us. God’s word must be shared with love and conviction with those in your path that are in darkness. If people are simply acquainted or comfortable with an image of Jesus that isn’t filled with the light of truth, it hasn’t saved them because that’s not the true Jesus who lives. Further more, that doesn’t give God the glory he deserves. We must proclaim truth. This isn’t letting your little light shine. It’s Jesus shining through you his blinding white-hot light that transforms or sends them scurrying. We can’t be afraid of what this might mean we must stand for truth with no compromise. Yes, it convicts me as I write it. But it’s true, so let’s not waste our time fighting it.

If you aren’t a believer by Jesus’ standard: your real self known, your real deeds uncovered, living in the light and forgiven, not seeing him just as your savior but your Lord, pray you will let God shine his light into your life. Open up the Bible with someone who is living in the light. Don’t hide in the dark any longer. We all were with you in that dark place and only by His powerful grace have we found a life in the light. Whether you’re in the light or dark, make a decision to follow Jesus’ example today. Let’s stop marketing and mousing around and let God use us to have an impact that echoes in eternity to his glory.

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