Christianity’s Outrageous Claims

Posted: November 4, 2009 by Josiah Batten in Christian living, Deeper Life, Revival, The Church
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“If the spiritual view of the world is the correct one, as Christianity boldly asserts that it is, then for every one of us heaven is more important than earth and eternity more important than time. If Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; if He is what the glorious company of the apostles and the noble army of martyrs declared that He is; if the faith which the holy church throughout all the world doth acknowledge is the true faith of God, then no man has any right to dedicate his life to anything that can burn or rust or rot or die. No man has any right to give himself completely to anyone but Christ nor to anything but prayer.” -A.W. Tozer

“”I admit without a blush that this chapter is intentionally provocative and acerbic. I am tired of complacent Christianity. I am declaring “open season” on our smug, spiritual complacency and amnesia. We would rather squat in our rubber-foamed pews and hear a yet more pleasant dissertation on Psalm 23 for the one-thousandth time than hear a man fresh from audience with the eternal God (a man, whose sweat-bedewed brow indicates the volcano in his soul) cry with broken sobs, “Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” (Ps. 94:16).”” -Leonard Ravenhill, Revival God’s Way

The past several weeks have been very challenging for me. There have been many things to consider, and words fail to express the totality of the conviction I’ve been dealing with.

Let me be very upfront: If Jesus is the Son of God; if He is Prophet, Priest, and King; if He is the Son of Man; if He is the Word by which all thing were made; if He really is our Savior, then no goal outside of God Himself is worthy of human effort, and Jesus has the absolute unfettered right to dictate the terms whereby we shall live our lives.

No more obfuscating what we believe about Jesus. I agree with C.S. Lewis, Jesus was either Lord, liar, or lunatic. If He’s a liar or lunatic we are justified in disregarding Him; however, if He’s Lord then our present response to that reality is completely and entirely inadequate.

If Jesus is God how can the transformation in our lives as a result of dedicating ourselves to Him be any less then the transformation from Saul to Paul? Oughtn’t we also go from chief of sinners to greatest missionary? If the same God that called Abram has called us shouldn’t we also drop what we’re doing and live according to eternal purposes seeking to advance a Kingdom not made with human hands?

If Jesus is God do not our worldly accomplishments and temporary achievements seem very insignificant in light of eternity? As much as I like having a 4.0 GPA semester after semester is it not incredibly inconsequential in light of 4+ billion people living not recognizing their Creator and only true Sovereign?

What I’m saying is this: Jesus is Lord, He is the Bridegroom establishing the Church as His bride. But far from being infatuated with the incomprehensible love lavished upon us, we’ve acted like whores. Think about it, what causes marital dissatisfaction? A lack of communication, the drowning out of romantic intimacy by other cares, a lack of time spent together. What causes dissatisfaction in Christ’s relationship with the Church? More or less the same things (albeit applied differently).

I’m very much afraid the overwhelming majority of us Christians today have been duped. Think about it, we pray about what college to go to instead of what country to go to. We pray about what Church to attend rather then what church to start. We think careers are an end rather then a means to a far greater end then retirement. We shape God according to our preconceived mold and construct rather then allowing God to shape the terms whereby our lives will be run.

The most important and outrageous claim of Christianity is that Jesus physically rose from the dead and that this proves beyond any reasonable doubt that He is the Son of God; and from this claim it logically follows that we surrender the whole of our lives to Jesus Christ and that we live exclusively for Him and His purposes. The example of the Apostles and early Christians leaves us with no other rational conclusion.

Upon the acceptance of Christ, consider everything the Apostles gave up: 1. The sacrificial system they had practiced the whole of their lives, 2. Their firm belief that it was blasphemous for any man to claim deity, 3. Their recognition of the Sabbath, 4. The approval of the Jewish religious authorities they had always trusted and followed, 5. Their professions (tax collectors, fishermen, etc…), 6. Their lives.

One of our problems is we think giving up our lives refers exclusively to martyrdom. Let me share a sentiment with you: Every single Christian martyr throughout history was dead long before they were beheaded (or crucified or burned or whatever). Dead to what? The flesh, the world’s way of thinking, sin, temporal values.  When Paul lost his head he went from life with Christ to life with Christ. Nero hardly killed Paul, he coroneted him into God’s hall of fame.

I learned many things during the Facebook Fast. For a whole month Facebook was dead to me, and in a sense the people I can’t contact otherwise were also dead to me. After one month I’ve come back, in some ways reluctantly (in other ways, happy to have my virtual pulpit back). But that same sense of deadness ought to be what I feel towards everything that stands in between God and me. Everything that is temporary ought to be dead to me.

I write not as one who has achieved, but as one who is convicted. My reputation is not dead to me. My personal ambitions are not dead to me. Pointless entertainment is not dead to me. Lust is not dead to me. I could go on, but I think you get the idea. All these things are but rubbish and poo compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord! When will I go beyond mentally realizing that to actually living it?

“There’s a cry in my heart For Your glory to fall For Your presence to fill up my senses,  There’s a yearning again A thirst for discipline A hunger for things that are deeper Could You take me beyond? Could You carry me through? If I open my heart? Could I go there with You? (For I’ve been here before But I know there’s still more Oh, Lord, I need to know You) For what do I have If I don’t have You, Jesus? What in this life Could mean any more? You are my rock You are my glory You are the lifter Of my head Lifter of this head”  -Starfield

His humble servant- Josiah

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Comments
  1. Sarah says:

    Loved it bro. Keep on writing. God has a lot to say through you.

    -Sarah

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