This past Saturday I went to Together 2016, an event that gathered hundreds of thousands of Christians on the national mall. I almost didn’t go because I thought it would be the perfect opportunity for a mass murder… and I didn’t wanna die while hearing Casting Crowns. It would have been a wasted suffering. But I was more expectant of good than I was expectant of genocide, so I went.
As a launching pad for what I actually want to talk about, let me summarize my reflections of the event…
My Considerations and Reflections
- The church gathered in unity. Beyond the moments that simply were a reflection of Christian radio (groan); together, we professed our need for Jesus and lifted His name on high, which was great evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work. The most amazing experiential component of the event was that we were together. Now let’s be honest, together can be dangerous without the right focus. Christian culture often is led astray. If we gather and don’t focus on Jesus, then we would miss the mark. This caution and possibility fueled the reason for me to be anxious, cautious and desirous that the speakers and worship leaders radically focus us on Jesus. Overall, I think that people walked away with a sense of unified hunger for Jesus.
- The church doesn’t need a political agenda. We really don’t. And at times the event crossed the line of only expressing political angst in a non-redemptive way. We do need the revelation of Jesus to come to bear on our political realm, and we do need to have a Christian worldview that actively engages the political sphere. But we are not political first. And our hope is not in political restoration. And the main things that Christ followers focus on is not gun control (either side) or racial tension, or even abortion. The main thing that Christians focus on is Jesus. And as we focus on Jesus, His reign comes to bear on this earth in those spheres through us. Our most powerful impact on culture comes after being powerfully impacted by the revelation of Jesus. First focus matters. The church is being oppressed and has become depressed. But Jesus is alive, and when we focus on Him, we can bring death to life. So the thrust of Christian gathering should not be to activate people on social causes. Not mainly anyways.
- When the church gathers what we need is the revelation of Jesus. This comes by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible and the Holy Spirit reveals the Jesus of the Bible to us in real time. Jesus is coming back for worshippers in Spirit and in truth. The true church will be found fulfilling the great commandment. Now, how the great commandment spreads is by the obedient carrying out of the great commission. What we need at our core is to be filled with the Holy Spirit and consumed with the revelation of Jesus. That’s what Heaven will be like, that’s what Acts was like, that is what the church is called into, right now. In this present time, we desperately need the revelation of Jesus.
- Focusing on Jesus is the point and it unifies the church.
When the church sees Jesus,
- The Bride becomes unified.
- Perseverance is fueled.
- Revival spreads like wild fire.
- Sanctification happens.
- We begin to lay down her life like Jesus.
- Reconciliation is sought after.
- Far off people are grafted in.
WE NEED the revelation of Jesus.
Social issues begin to change when the revelation of Him who holds all things together consumes the Bride. Ultimately, what Jesus is changing is His Bride.
- Focusing on Jesus prepares the Bride for our consummation with Jesus.
Jesus is coming back. That’s the biggest news. Famines are gonna happen. Wars are going to increase. Persecution is going to increase. Suffering, disease, family separation, abandonment, apostasy will happen. Are you surprised brothers? Are you surprised that common grace is being slowly removed from our context? It only means that special grace is coming in a more concentrated form. God is not delivering us from hardship; He’s delivering us from sin. The world is only held together by the power of His word. When rebellion in the world increases, the context in which we come to Jesus as broken sinners becomes more apparent. We need Him. Oh, how we need Him.
Our hope is not in having the right president, or the lack of having the wrong one. The world will increasingly be the world. The world will produce lovers of self instead of lovers of God. Stop trying to change the world, and start focusing on the one who can change you. When individuals are changed by Jesus, then the world will begin to change.
The hope of the church is not found in strength to change our culture. The hope of the church is Jesus.
He’s preparing a Bride for himself.
- Don’t be functionally Jewish.
The Jews expected a warrior king to be their messiah, to lead them politically. But what they got was Jesus, the one who set spiritual captives free. We are in danger of missing Jesus, and spiritual freedom again if our hope is in having a political figure that will enforce our way of life on this earth.
We need the Holy Spirit. How do we battle the lies of the enemy, the currents of culture, or apathy in the church? We overcome by seeing Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. In order to be oriented for eternal salvation, we must be oriented on the one who purchased our eternal salvation with His righteous blood. To be positioned for perseverance through the trials and temptations of this day, we must be set on the joy set before us – Jesus. The Holy Spirit leads us to that place.
Church, for those called to preserve in Jesus, this is the season to persevere together.
We fix our eyes on Jesus
Who for the JOY set before HIM
Endured the cross.
For the #joysetbeforeme