“Listen to how the fourth-century Roman historian Eusebius described the early Christian named Sanctus, when Sanctus stood before his torturers in the year AD 177: “with such determination did he stand up to their onslaughts that he would not tell them his own name, race, and birthplace or whether he was slave or free. To every question re replied, in Latin, ‘I am a Christian.’ This he proclaimed over and over again, instead of name, birth place, nationality and everything else, and not another word did the heathen hear from him.” Jonathan Leeman (pg32) from Church Membership
I am a Christian — is this my strongest and most prevailing identity and allegiance? Is my identification as belonging to Jesus more compelling than my age, gender, martial status, family ties, friendship circles, political persuasion, ethical stances, and more?
I am a Christian — is this the pulsating heartbeat of every decision, action, thought, emotion, desire that swirls around in me?
Over the last term, at Kingsgate Community Church, I spoke about three glorious world altering cultures found in the benediction in 2 Corinthians 13:14:
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
These cultures are:
A community of people who express the extravigant and life transforming nature of grace
A people who are secure in their identity as children loved by God
A people who prize fellowship with the Holy Spirit
However right at the heart of this whole idea is that every church community on planet earth have been called to one all encompassing mission: to make much of Jesus
The following is a great quote from John Piper to help understand what it means to live a life that centres around this idea of making much of Jesus. Just to warn you this is a prickly quote:
“The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—
is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the
friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and
all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties
you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no
human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with
heaven, if Christ were not there? ”
“We simply aim to bring the nations into the white-hot enjoyment of God’s glory” (John Piper)
One day all mission will cease. One day social action will no longer be necessary. One day healing will be redundant. Yet for all of eternity we have been invited to a banquet of making much of Jesus. As a result, right now we’ve got the opportunity to help thousands and thousands of people who live, work and socialise in the borough of Great Yarmouth to find that ultimate (and eternal) joy of making much of Jesus.