So, it has been a couple weeks now since we recorded our first “Mentionables” podcast. It was a fun experience, and it has also been encouraging.=&0=& Sadly, apologetics is something that few in the church are passionate about, or spend much time thinking about. I’m sure most of you reading this are aware of it, and share my frustration. Many times I have been of part of a church, desperately wanting to have a class, program or speaker broach the subject, but it rarely goes beyond the hypothetical. Apologetics is such tremendously valuable tool for the church, but it goes unutilized. It’s like a writer refusing to use a computer, because they have traditionally used a typewriter for so long. There is so much you can do when you are open to trying new things, and it could be of tremendous benefit. =&1=& I know, I know. A conference speaker who gets nervous speaking on a podcast? Yeah. Here’s the reason why I get a little nervous. I’m a joker. I LOVE to joke around. The problem is, before I was saved, my joking wasn’t exactly appropriate, and there were times where I put my foot in my mouth. It happens for less now that I am saved, but there are times where the words come out of my mouth before my verbal filter engages. Then bad things happen. =&2=&After the show aired, we had an astute listener talk about the issue of the sign above Jesus on the cross as a sign of His divinity and coming kingdom. I think that is an interesting point. However, given the fact that Jesus was crucified, I think it is probably a foregone conclusion that it was meant as satire. Clearly, it was true, and eventually the repentant thief recognized that, but there was no way that the Roman soldiers believed that when they first hoisted Him up on the cross (though it appears that some did believe it after the fact. Matthew 27:54) =&3=&
I am proud to say that I am now a Mentionable! I was contacted by the Mentionables a while back and I am happy to say that I have come on board. I look forward to being a blessing to them and you as well as being blessed by all that the Mentionables and you, the audience, have to offer!
Jesus’ time of ministry on earth lasted a very short three years. It might be strange to think about (at least it is for me) to think that the vast majority of history, The Son (“The Son” wouldn’t be called “Jesus” until the incarnation) has not been on earth, but rather in heaven. So, where is Jesus now? What is He doing? What will it be like when He returns?
Where is Jesus Now?
After Jesus resurrected, He appeared to his disciples and over 500 other people. The first chapter of Acts tells us that Jesus said goodbye to his followers and then rose into the sky and was lost from sight. The bible tells us a few things about Jesus’ whereabouts. It tells us that He is “sitting at the right hand of the father” (Hebrews 1:3). He is in heaven in the “sanctuary of the true tabernacle”. In plain English, this means that he is in the holiest place there is; the sanctuary of heaven.
When I speak about “length and width” in discipleship, I am speaking of how long are we going with someone, and how wide an audience are we disciplining?
We all have limitations. We can only be stretched so far. Think of it like a rubber band: You could stretch it really wide or you could stretch it so that it is really long. Or you can shape it so that it stretches (though not as far) in both directions. When we think about the length and width of our own discipleship we need to take an inventory:
Suffering and it’s fruits
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28
I have been a Christian for years, but there are days when I read this verse, and I just want to scream. Scream out in pain. Anger. Frustration. I believe this verse. But I ask: “Why do things have to be like THIS!?” My own suffering. The suffering of friends and family. Total strangers. At times, it’s like a vice closing around my heart and all I can do is weep and scream.
“What about people who never hear about Jesus?”
This is one of the most common “objections” people have regarding Christianity. It’s not really an objection to Christianity as a whole, it’s actually an objection to God’s judgement of mankind.
We Have All Sinned
No matter who the person is, where they live, what their knowledge is about Jesus, we have all sinned. You, me, your neighbor, and the isolated tribe members in Africa and Asia who have never heard the gospel. All of us, will stand guilty of crimes against God when we die 1 Sin, is why people stand guilty before God, not their knowledge of Jesus.
Colonial American slavery (which is what usually comes to mind when we hear the word “slavery”) was a sinful, violent, cold, evil practice. Men and women from Africa were kidnapped. Then they were forced into labor with no compensation. They could only dream of being treated as good as the family dog. They were beaten, raped and murdered. Many a person who claimed Christ owned slaves during this time, and used verses in the Old Testament to justify it. Let me be crystal clear on something:
An atheist believes that an entire category, or type, of thing(s) does not exist (in this case God/deity) . A theist (someone who DOES believe in a god in one form or another) is someone who DOES believe that category of thing(s) does in fact exist. This is a huge separation. It would be like someone saying “We are both A-Universists (Someone who does not believe in the existence of the universe). I just happen to believe in one less universe than you.” It’s an entire category that one person accepts and one denies. The attempt is to create an illusion of closeness in position, when the fact of the matter is that the theist and atheists are on completely opposite sides of this issue.