4 Questions When Jesus Confronts Us

One of the ironies of our current culture is that most people today find Jesus rather boring. Most people don’t mind Jesus, but they don’t really love him or hate him either. This proves that which proves they haven’t actually met him.

No one in the Bible was ever bored with Jesus. The real Jesus was polarizing; people either loved him or hated him. The more attractive he grew to some, the more loathsome he grew to others. Certain people thronged to him, while others plotted his death.

That’s why I love it when I bump up against a tough saying of Jesus, like you find in Luke 12:51: “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.” Here is Jesus confronting each and every one of us, saying, “I didn’t come to be a religious addition to your life. I came to turn your entire world upside-down.”

Four questions in light of that:

1. Have I “owned” Jesus in all my relationships?

Are we really letting Jesus take the lead in our families? Parents, are you teaching your kids to obey Jesus more than you? The Christian world is filled with parents who don’t want their kids to obey God and go on the mission field. And if they must defy you to obey God, then that’s what Jesus is asking. But do we really want our kids to obey God in spite of us?

Are we letting Jesus redirect our work? I know business leaders in the community who have lost jobs because they refused to sacrifice their integrity. I know others who were ostracized or fired for sharing their faith. As our society continues to debate about public religious liberty, this may be more and more costly for us. Are we going to own Jesus at our workplaces?

Will you own Jesus in your friendships? Will you continue to confess Christ in the midst of withering criticism from those you hold most dear? When they lie about you, and cut you out of their circles? Or will you treasure certain relationships more than your devotion to Christ?

2. Am I obeying him with what’s in front of me right now?

It’s pretty easy to talk about “total sacrifice” in the abstract. Would I die for Jesus? Of course! But are we obeying him right now? It’s always easier to be obedient in a dramatic hypothetical than in the nitty-gritty of life. Before we say we’re willing to have our throats slit for Jesus, we need to examine our current habits. Are we serving others, giving to the mission, or spending time in biblical community?

Here’s a huge one: are we submitting to the biblical pattern of sexual ethics? Most young Christians have no qualms with sleeping together before marriage.[1] What business do we have saying we would die for Jesus when we aren’t willing to obey him with our lives today? Dying isn’t the hard part; living is.

3. Do I have any conditions for following Jesus?

What areas do I insist that God provide for me if I’m going to follow him? I have been tempted this way plenty in the past, and I know people who have walked away from Jesus because of some pain or disappointment in their life. They thought that they deserved a better marriage, or a better job, or they were broken up about somebody’s death.

All that revealed was that Jesus wasn’t “all” to them. He was a means to an end. When the means stopped working, they looked for a better one. Jesus doesn’t want us following him because he’s the fast track to a better life; he wants us to follow him without reservation and without condition.

4. Where I am causing division, am I doing it like him?

Sadly, a lot of Christians take Jesus’ words about division and they apply them in all the wrong ways. They’re divisive, but only because they’re acting like jerks.

But Jesus didn’t cause division like that. Jesus spoke the truth, and when that caused division, he drew all of the fire onto himself. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

We tend to defend ourselves in anger, but Jesus bore our insults with compassion. We tend to press the issue, but Jesus patiently responded to different people in different ways. We tend to dismiss people when they disagree with us, but Jesus was able to clearly confront sin and still draw us close to him.

Is there division in your life because of Christ? Or do people around you still think Jesus is boring?

On and About Francis A. Schaeffer

On and About Francis A. Schaeffer

On this day 30 years ago, Francis Schaeffer, founder of L’Abri and thought-lion passed away from cancer. His life’s theme of intersecting culture with faith has become a bastion of not merely ideas, but of words and action. He’s been called the Greatest Modern Theologian and impacted many young believers’ minds and hopes to tell their friends of the glories of the gospel because the gospel literally affects everything. For there is not one silo of thought and action here and another there, but all thought and action are deeply tied together in the root of who God is. So, “It is gorgeous if you understand what we have in the teaching and revelation of God.”

Articles on or about Francis A. Schaeffer

1. “We cannot deal with people like human beings, we cannot deal with them on the high level of true humanity, unless we really know their origin—who they are. God tells man who he is. God tells us that He created man in His image. So man is some- thing wonderful.” Read more.

2. “If truth is one, that is if truth has unity, then Christian education means understanding, and being excited by, the associations between the disciplines and showing how these associations are rooted in the Creator’s existence. I do not know if you know what you are hearing or not. It is a flaming fire. It is gorgeous if you understand what we have in the teaching and revelation of God. If we are going to have really a Christian education, it means understanding truth is not a series of isolated subjects but there are associations, and the associations are rooted in nothing less than the existence of the Creator Himself.” Read more.

3. “What does all this mean to me?  I am not sure, except that it brings me increasingly to my knees – to ask that the Holy spirit may have His way in my life; that I may not think just of justification and then the glories of Heaven (with merely a battle for separation between). {But that I may also think of} all the wonders of the present aspect of my salvation, and that they may be real to me in my life and ministry.” Read more.

4. “I want to say to you, those of you who are Christians or even if you are not a Christian and you are troubled about the direction that our society is going in, that we must not concentrate merely on the bits and pieces. But we must understand that all of these dilemmas come on the basis of moving from the Judeo-Christian world view — that the final reality is an infinite creator God — over into this other reality which is that the final reality is only energy or material in some mixture or form which has existed forever and which has taken its present shape by pure chance.” Read more.

5. “Schaeffer was well-prepared to lead evangelicals to a new and deeper understanding of the titanic clash of differing world views swirling around them.” Read more.

6. “He had a massive impact on the lives of individuals, including me, but his wider significance was as a ‘gatekeeper,’ or a door opener. When almost no Evangelicals were thinking about culture and connecting unconnected dots, Schaeffer not only did it himself but blazed a trail for countless others to follow. Read more.

For more resources on or about Francis A. Schaeffer visit the Francis A. Schaeffer Collection on SEBTS’ website.

Announcing the “Visiting Scholar Program” at Southeastern Seminary

We at BtT are happy to announce the new “Visiting Scholar Program” at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The Visiting Scholar program is designed to provide a warm and hospitable working environment for evangelical scholars who wish to take a sabbatical or embark upon an extended study leave at Southeastern.

Together, Southeastern’s faculty and administration view this program as an opportunity to build friendships with visiting scholars, to enrich and support their academic research and writing, and to learn from them.

The Southeastern Visiting Scholar Program is for professors who teach in a discipline that complements the mission and vision of Southeastern Seminary. 

Visiting professors will be provided a furnished apartment, a research assistant, full access to all library resources, and direct support from library staff.

During their time at Southeastern, scholars also will be invited to participate in Southeastern’s academic community. This involvement may include roundtable discussions, lectures, presentations, or teaching. 

Interested professors may apply for the Southeastern Visiting Scholar Program. To apply, professors should send their CV and a brief description of research goals for their sabbatical leave, along with their sabbatical schedule. Send this info to Dr. Keith Whitfield (kwhitfield@sebts.edu).