1315. Not I But Christ

With all the resources available today, why aren’t we setting our world on fire with the gospel?

Not I But Christ

What Happened?

Those in the Early Church were known for having turned the world upside down with their teaching. Two thousand years later the Church in America has had little to no impact on society. It has become like the church at Laodicea-weak, self-sufficient, and content in its lukewarm mediocrity. With all the resources available today, why aren’t we setting our world on fire with the gospel? Why have we lost the culture war? Jesus said that because He was going to the Father, we would do even greater things than He did. What happened?

Half the Gospel

I am convinced that most Christians have failed to utilize the great power of the gospel because they have embraced only half of it, leaving them always striving but never arriving, frustrated, and believing that their mediocre Christian experience must be as good as it gets. Consider Jesus’ claim that because He was going to the Father, we would do even greater things than He did (John 14:12). How about you? Is your life displaying these greater things? Is God regularly moving in your life the way we see Him moving in the book of Acts? Most likely, all your Christian friends would share your answer. They, too, have settled for a mediocre Christian existence with low expectations.

Disillusioned

It’s no wonder the Church in America has, with a few rare exceptions, had little effect on our culture. It consists largely of disillusioned people wearing themselves out with their religious activity and vowing to try harder when their efforts fail to meet expectations. Having heard an inspiring message, they vow to apply what they just learned, but nothing changes. Months later, they’re the same struggling people they were before. And so it goes. If you think this doesn’t describe you, I’ll bet your answers to the upcoming little quiz indicate otherwise.

This Year

In my Tuesday posts this year I’ll be focusing on the missing half of the gospel-the half with all the power, and why so many of us have misunderstood it, disbelieved it, or ignored it. The good news is that the vibrant, power-packed, abundant life Jesus promised becomes available as soon as we truly share the heart cry of Paul: Not I but Christ.

There’s Hope

If you’re among the strugglers, take heart. This isn’t as good as it gets. I have experienced the same frustrations and have discovered there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s a glorious light, beyond anything I ever imagined. That same light had illuminated the part of the gospel I had not yet grasped, even though I knew it and had even taught it. Looking back, I now understand why I didn’t get it, and why so few Christians, including pastors, ever get it. Prepare for an introspective journey that will lead to a place of freedom you never knew existed.

The Lies

Before beginning, it’s essential that you discover the lies you have bought into – lies we’ve all bought into. Once each lie takes root, the domino effect kicks in: everything that follows is affected. Here’s how it works. Everything we do is to obtain a desired outcome, but every outcome is a result of our decisions. Similarly, every decision we make is based on what we really believe. If we have believed a lie, we’ll make poor decisions and get a lousy outcome. It looks like this:

            BELIEFS→DECISIONS→OUTCOMES

Copy and print this little quiz. (I’ll refer to it in future posts.) Then write T or F to the left of the numbers. You’ll eventually be able to see how you did so stay tuned. Please don’t skip this step or do some research before answering. Don’t be too proud to discover some flaws in your theology. (I discovered quite a few in mine.)

The Quiz

  1. Someday my righteousness will finally measure up to God’s expectations.
  2. We Christians are right to see ourselves as a “work in progress.”
  3. I need Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help me live the Christian life.
  4. The “new creation” of 2 Cor. 5:17 is like a spiritual renovation for me.
  5. My standing before God is constantly improving as I mature.
  6. As Christians, our “old man” died with Christ and is gone forever.
  7. Through Bible Study, prayer, and obedience, we can become more righteous.
  8. True Christians still have sin dwelling within them.
  9. God’s Word declares every person born into this world as “useless.”
  10. All people are born with a fear of God.
  11. God sees people as basically good, but needing a lot of help.
  12. Christian maturity is conforming the flesh to the image of Christ.

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