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C-SPAN Radio

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But what I want to say to you is you don't really understand what I'm talking about. And so Jesus comes in and says, you what me to be your mascot. You want me to be the one who carries out the agenda that you already have. But I want to remind you that God went outside the borders of his people. To a widow who was a gentile a widow who was economically destitute. A widow who was invisible to the people around her. And that's where God worked. I want to remind you that there were all sorts of lepers in Israel that God bypass in order to heal someone. It was not just outside of the people of God. He was someone who was part of the enemy people have got the Syrians. And not only was he a Syrian. He was a Syrian soldier is what God is doing is something very different than what you're accustomed to very different than what you're asking. For. God is reorienting your culture around his purposes, not the other way around. This is the council for Christian colleges and universities presidents conference live on C span radio. Now, this is this. Is crucially important for American evangelical Christianity because notice what Jesus doing here when he speaks about these big global reconciled purposes have got purposes that bring in the nation's that bring in those who are on the outside. Jesus is getting a picture of exactly what he is planning to do in the book of acts when he brings together Jew and gentile. He brazed together previously divided people as a sign and a picture of the coming kingdom of God. When Jesus stands up and speaks about God's purposes with these outsiders in a room where none of them is present. He is demonstrating a sign here of the kingdom. The temptation that evangelical Christianity always has. Is to be as authoritative, and as prophetic as the people with money in the room will allow us to be. And so if a message is going to disrupt a certain room because it's speaking to a Christian view of sexuality where that's controversial. We don't talk about or if in a particular room speaking about the image of God. In refugee groups is going to be unpopular. We don't talk about or win. We stand up and say God's reconciling purposes. Mean the destruction of every kind of ethnic superiority and hostility when that is brought to concrete terms and becomes controversial. We don't want to talk about. And so the easy thing for us to do is to take what the apostle Paul says in. I Corinthians five it is not those on the outside that I judge it is those on the inside and reverse it. And so we're able then to rail against the culture as long as the culture is whatever is happening on the outside, and to speak, very minimally to whatever is happening on the inside among us and do not think that the world does not notice this the guardian newspaper the United Kingdom just last year. Talking about American Christianity says the problem is that. American Christianity is so market-driven that this means that they speak the loudest about whatever sins are the least tempting to their members. And speak quietly or even sanctify the sense that most tempt their members. This is exactly what Jesus is warning against and Jesus not only speaks a new kind of culture Jesus with his word forms. This new kind of culture to point the rest of the world to what the kingdom of God will look like you, and I have a challenge trying to decide whether or not we are only going to speak to the present. Or whether we are also going to speak now to the people who may not even be Christians yet. But who are those in the future who need to hear from us in order to know, we really believe what we're talking about. We really believed that Jesus of Nazareth has been raised from the dead. And that Jesus of Nazareth has a word of good news for us. He reorients a culture. The noticed finally. He speaks here of mission. This text is not in the way that I in my flesh would want it to end. I like a good narrative, and what I want is at the end when the townspeople take Jesus to the proud of the hill to throw him over is for Jesus to levitated in the air explode into light shoot laser beams from his fingers and say, how do you like me now? It doesn't do this. Instead says Jesus walks through their midst and goes away. That sounds like cowardice. It sounds like someone who is walking away from a fight the Jesus, of course, he's not walking away from anything Jesus walking towards something. Jesus is walking toward the cross. Jesus understands that the bigger issue is not winning this argument right now in terms of who's right and who's wrong. The bigger issue is carrying his cross all the way to Jerusalem and bearing the sins of the world that is the mission to which he has called us. And so in all of our speaking and all of our acting in all of our doing. The cross has to be right at the central point of all of it. And by the cross, I mean, not just a different understanding of what power is. But also a different understanding of what people are. Which means that sometimes even the people who are the most hostile to us. Are the very people who are right on the edge of the coming. Our brothers and sisters in Christ. Sometimes we assume hostility means that these are the people to be evaporated or destroyed when really the people who are the furthest away from us are not the people who hate Christianity. But the people who are bored by Christianity. The people who find Christianity non-threatening fine. Christianity a tool to use for some other purpose. These are the people who do not understand what Jesus is say. Sometimes the people who are the most angry and hostile toward us are doing. So simply because they are starting to understand what the scandal of the gospel actually is. And if we have a gospel understanding of New Testament Christianity. That means that we are going to understand that God rarely. Rarely use this people who are expected to be the ones to carry the baton to the next thing. Several years ago. I was despairing about the state of evangelical Christianity at the time. I was young college student seminary student and was talking to the great theologian Carl F H Enron who'd come to give lectures on my campus. And I said, do you just think with all of these things going on that there's any hope for Annandale for Christianity? And Dr Henry said your problem is you assume that evangelicals Christianity is genetic. That is evolutionary that you can somehow just watch the trends move. He's so that's not the way that God works. Nobody would have seen in Augusta. The next great the illusion of the Christian church. God works that way. No one would've expected encountering an atheist professor at Oxford that this would become the great apologist of the twentieth century and CS Lewis, southern Baptist convention ethics and religious liberty commission. President Russell more. No one would have expected talking to a hardened, hyper politicized hatchet, man that Chuck Colson would become the one after new birth to evangelize thousands of people and to lead to a renewed understanding within the church of what it means to love prisoners. No one would have seen any of those things coming because that's the way that God's grace works. It may be that the next Billy Graham is passed out drunk and a fraternity house right now. It may be that the next Augustine is right now operating a Planned Parenthood clinic. It may be that the next great evangelists, the one who will carry the gospel to our future, grandchildren. Our great grandchildren is someone who is protesting a Christian church right now with atheist or even satanist slogans. The way the gospel works is to take people who were in hostility, whatever they were hiding behind. Whether that's eighty or a self righteous form of cultural Christianity to bring them into Christ to renovate the conscience and to renovate the spirit, and then to not only allow those people into the tribe, but to equip those people often to lead this is a air of C span radio programming from Wednesday. The people that we are so worried about and the people that we are often so fearful of. May indeed be the Sol's of Tarsus that we will one day. Not only welcome. But need that ought to reorient? Then the way that we see the culture around us, and it ought to reorient us toward the message that we have the devil doesn't care. About good policy positions. Devil doesn't mind family values. The devil doesn't mind people being right? What the devil? Fears is the blood of Jesus Christ poured out for centers able to reconcile them to God. And to one another. When we understand that. And we reorient our mission around the cross, then we will no longer fear the collapse of cultural nominal Christianity. We will understand that the very thing that we have to bring to the world is not our sameness to the world, but are distinctiveness to the world. And we do that with a cross on our backs, which means whatever is happening to the culture around us. Our message is onward Christian strangers. Thank you..